Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020
1. The Council adopts today the annexed Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 that outlines the European Union (EU)'s comprehensive approach to addressing key issues throughout the region. As with the EU Horn of Africa Strategic Framework, adopted in November 2011, this Regional Action Plan reasserts the importance which the EU attaches to continuing close co-operation with partners across the region in using all available instruments to support and encourage peace, stability, sustainable growth and prosperity throughout the Horn of Africa. Since 2011, the EU has taken substantial steps - through political dialogue and active engagement, Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and targeted development co-operation assistance to implement the strategic framework. Persistent poverty, social grievance, unaccountable governance, corruption, absence of the rule of law, disputes over borders or water resources, the effects of climate change, proliferation of small arms and weak regional co-operation were already identified in the Strategic Framework of 2011 as key challenges, and until today despite progress in many respects, they remain entirely relevant. Yet since then, three issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement.
2. The Council underlines that in line with the objectives set out in the Strategic Framework, and taking into account the new challenges in the region, the EU should give priority to the following five groups of actions in the period 2015-2020, namely: regional security and stability, migration and forced displacement, counter-radicalisation and violent extremism , youth and employment, and human rights, rule of law and democratic governance. Eradication of poverty is a precondition to addressing these challenges effectively and will remain the central objective of the EU's development co-operation. Moreover, the EU will work with all actors in the region to ensure respect for international humanitarian law, and to promote the role of women in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Addressing these challenges will require interventions in peripheral regions and across borders, and will demand a better synchronised approach to the political, development, economic, migration, gender-based and security aspects of these issues. The implementation of the Regional Action Plan will also reinforce inter and intra-regional co-operation between all relevant partners. The Action Plan will be implemented inter alia through the EU Trust Fund to be presented at the Valletta Summit on Migration on 11-12 November 2015.
3. The EU reiterates its readiness to continue working closely with the countries and regional organisations of the Horn of Africa to support, including through capacity building, their efforts to achieve peace, security and development. The implementation of the Regional Action Plan will be carried out with the full ownership and under the primary responsibility of the countries concerned, and in co-ordination with key international and regional organisations and other partners, such as the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The EU underlines the importance of ensuring close international and regional co-ordination, including through the work of the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, in order to create synergies in the implementation of all relevant initiatives.
4. The Council invites the High Representative and the Commission, in close consultation with Member States, to start implementing the Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan, in co-operation with the countries of the region, and key international partners. The Council will revert to the matter as appropriate, and at least once a year.