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Fortifying partnerships in a multipolar world

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 Jan Sadek

The European Union looks forward to hosting the second edition of the Schuman Security and Defence Forum, set to take place in Brussels on 28-29 May 2024. Defence Ministers from all across the globe will attend the forum, including from Uganda, with whom we share a mutual interest in further strengthening our partnership in peace, security, and defence issues.

This forum will serve as a vital platform to showcase how together, the EU and its partners can effectively address and overcome the complex security challenges of our times.

In an increasingly dangerous world where power politics are resurgent, the global order is shifting towards multipolarity and away from multilateralism.  

Uganda, like many nations, faces substantial risks from global jihadism and terrorism, smuggling, criminal activities, foreign information manipulation interference, and, as a landlocked country, attacks against the supply of vital commodities.

These threats do not respect national borders; they are part of a single, interconnected security theatre. In such a landscape, no country or organization can tackle these challenges alone. This is where the strength of partnerships becomes crucial. By collaborating, the European Union (EU) and its partners are enhancing our collective ability to safeguard international peace and security.

Facing global jihadism, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has been pivotal in regional peace efforts, notably as the main troop-contributing country to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), now transitioned to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The EU’s involvement, through the African Peace Facility, managed by the AU, had provided substantial support, exceeding 2.5 billion euros, for African troops in Somalia since the inception of the mission in 2007.

Furthermore, in the regional efforts against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the EU, always in partnership with the African Union, has been crucial, enhancing the operational capabilities of affected countries and supporting humanitarian aid delivery in areas freed from the LRA’s atrocities. Today, in operations like Shujaa against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in collaboration with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many brave men and women deployed by Uganda know what they owe to the cooperation between Uganda and the European Member States, in particular France.

Meanwhile, in Uganda, the EU Delegation has supported the Government’s efforts in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Counter-Terrorism efforts, in partnership, notably, with the relevant United Nations agencies and local and international organisations.

The EU is committed to deepening its cooperation with the region, recognizing the importance of engaging more, listening to, and learning from its partners.

Uganda’s contributions to regional peace and security are highly esteemed, particularly the valour of personnel from the UPDF, Ugandan Police, and Diplomatic services.

Their bravery and dedication in difficult theatres across the continent, often supported by the EU through the AU-EU partnership on peace and security, have been critical in combating terrorism and restoring hope to affected communities.

Jan Sadek, EU Ambassador