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Partnerships crucial to safeguarding international peace and security

 European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

In today's increasingly dangerous world, power politics are making a comeback, and the global landscape is shifting towards multi-polarity.

Multilateral cooperation faces significant challenges. This new reality demands a re-evaluation of our approaches to security and defence to ensure that we are prepared for both traditional and emerging threats.

The Schuman Security and Defence Forum, scheduled for 28-29 May 2024 in Brussels, provides an important platform for the EU and its security and defence partners to discuss and strengthen their collaborative efforts in delivering global peace and security.

We are witnessing not only 'old' wars, but also new forms of conflict, characterised by cyber threats, disinformation campaigns, and the weaponisation of trade and migration. These complex security challenges require a coordinated response.

Indeed, the EU and its partners face common security threats such as terrorism, violent extremism, climate change, environmental degradation, migration, and human trafficking. These threats are interconnected, forming part of a single security theatre.

Effectively addressing these challenges is beyond the capacity of any single country or organisation. Partnerships are crucial to safeguarding international peace and security. By working together, the EU and Kenya are already making significant strides towards this goal.

The annual EU-Kenya Security and Defence dialogue exemplifies this collaborative spirit. Through this dialogue, we coordinate our approach to counter violent extremism in the region and to address conflicts and instability in the East African region.

We are supporting Kenya in strengthening its security, defence and counter-terrorism capacities through practical operational support, capacity building and strengthening of key institutions’ capabilities, ensuring that those who commit security, terrorist and terrorist related offences are brought to justice. Kenya’s decision to join the Global Counter-terrorism Forum further creates new opportunities for our cooperation in this area.

Under the Common Security and Defence Policy, the EU operates several missions in East Africa aimed at enhancing security and stability. These missions focus on improving regional maritime security capacity, including counter-piracy efforts and maritime governance. Moreover, through the EU’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence, the EU and Kenya remain committed partners in reducing CBRN risks.

The EU is ready to enhance its cooperation with countries in the region, recognising the value of these partnerships in addressing global security challenges. Engaging more with, listening to, and learning from its partners is a priority for the EU.

The insights and experiences of our partners are invaluable in shaping effective security and defence strategies. Indeed, Kenya, with its extensive expertise in countering violent extremism and its strategic role in regional security, has much to contribute to this forum.

The mutual interest of the EU and Kenya in fostering their partnership in peace, security, and defence is clear. We both understand that stability and security are prerequisites for sustainable development and prosperity.

The Schuman Security and Defence Forum offers an opportunity to deepen this partnership further. By bringing together key stakeholders, the forum aims to enhance collective efforts in tackling global security threats.

-Ms Geiger is the European Union Ambassador to Kenya


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