What can you do, as the appointed hub for a specific topic, to be continuously aware of the current developments worldwide? You can execute researches, experiments and travel around the world to meet people who work in the field of your topic. Or you can invite your Community of Interest to come together to your place and to discuss contemporary issues.
For three days the CCOE provided the stage for Civil Military Interaction (CMI) / Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) discussions. 54 Participants from 16 different nations met from 05 to 07 February 2014 in Enschede, Netherlands.
“The intent of this workshop is to discuss and to reach synergies. On the one hand CCOE aims to inform the Community of Interests on current subjects of the CCOE. On the other hand the CCOE seeks to receive inputs and identify new projects on relevant topics for the CCOE needed by our Community of Interest” Colonel Wiebe Baron, the Director of the CCOE, expressed in his introduction speech.
In fact the following evening and two days were characterized by inputs and discussions with arguments form diverse perspectives. Representatives of International Governmental and Nongovernmental Organizations, academia and the military provided in several presentations “food” for thoughts. “I was happy to hear that the CCOE is working on that particular topic (children in armed conflict – red)” said one of the participants.
Participants had the opportunity to take part in discussions to ask and to comment issues from their own point of view. Topics like information sharing, the role of CIMIC in the Comprehensive approach, different resources, the necessity for civil organizations to have a policy towards military before being deployed or the threat of being appointed as target because of cooperation with militaries were debated. In addition the participants were updated on issues like gender, cultural property and lessons learned of the international humanitarian Support efforts after the natural disaster in the Philippines 2013. Examples of civil military cooperation, successful but also failed, were presented and discussed too. Also potential fields of cooperation and upcoming common exercises were identified and advertised. It was emphasized intensively how important common training is and that involved parties have to invest time to get to know each other. Adequate coffee breaks, the “ice breaker” and a common dinner gave time and room for networking and building up relations.
All in all it become apparent that although there are different perspectives civil military cooperation is crucial. The most important and needed aspect is to have the same goal.
Hence it is in responsibility of the CCOE to integrate the topics identified for the future Program of Work of the CCOE. The CCOE will define and implement projects proposed by its Community of Interest in the field of Civil Military cooperation.