Promoting Best Practices in Peacekeeping

On December 1, 2015, officials from around the world, including representatives from the United States Department of State, the European Union, and the African Union, gathered in Vicenza, Italy to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU) and to recognize the many contributions COESPU has made to international security. During its first decade, the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has partnered with COESPU through its Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI).

We look forward to continuing this collaboration, particularly as civilian security in conflict becomes an increasing focal point in global peace operations. While the majority of peacekeeping forces are military personnel, this growing focus on civilian security has led to a dramatic increase in the deployment of formed police units. Formed police units help bridge the gap between the functions carried out by military peacekeepers and individual police officers, performing vital tasks in peacekeeping that include crowd control, high risk arrests, and election security. To date COESPU has trained over 5,000 formed police unit leaders and trainers from over 40 countries, strengthening the effectiveness of units in United Nations and regional organizations’ peace operations while building the capacity of partner countries to train their own formed police units.

Attendees, including Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU) graduates, of the 10th anniversary ceremony on the COESPU parade grounds [State Department photo]

The first formed police units were deployed to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and in the United Nations Transition Administration in East Timor in 1999. Since that time, the use of formed police units in United Nations and regional organization missions has grown exponentially. Formed police units are currently deployed to peace operations in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Mali, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Liberia, South Sudan, and Cote d’Ivoire. Since its inception, COESPU has played a vital role in the training and development of formed police units. Today, nearly ten percent of all United Nations peacekeeping forces deployed are COESPU-trained formed police units.

Since 2005, both the United States through GPOI, and Italy through the National Military Police of Italy, the Carabinieri have worked hand-in-hand to increase international peace and security through their partnership at COESPU. This partnership not only ensures formed police units from contributing countries receive the training necessary for successful deployments, but that this training is also incorporated into national police training at home. By supporting COESPU, Italy and the U.S. are promoting sound peacekeeping practices as well as helping to stabilize conflict areas.

The leadership of the United States and Italy see great value in the COESPU-GPOI partnership, which has led to new efforts of support for the Centre from both countries. For its part, Italy recently increased the number of senior leadership serving at the Centre, and GPOI recently renewed its grant to sustain funding support for training activities at the Centre. 

As the breadth and scope of peace operations become more complex, formed police units are increasingly important in promoting peace and stability in post-conflict environments. Formed police units assist in fostering the rule of law and therefore lay the groundwork for stability and recovery in countries ravaged by war. Our joint support of COESPU is helping to promote a more peaceful world.

About the Author: Garret Hall serves in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Office of Plans and Initiatives (PM/PI).

For more information:



Kenneth T.
Indiana, USA
December 15, 2015
Very well stated blog, well thought out and helpful.
Carabinieri Commanding General Tullio Del Sette presents the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs' Michael Smith with a plaque thanking PM for 10 years of partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units
Posted by Garret Hall
December 14, 2015


Latest Stories

January 19, 2017

What We Got Right

With a new administration taking office this week, it is natural to assess the inheritance it will receive from the… more