Since its creation as a political and economic community, the European Union (EU) has been working relentlessly, inside and outside its borders, to promote stability, peace and security. Over the years, the EU has become an essential actor in international development cooperation, playing a key role in decision-making processes at the interstate level in areas such as humanitarian work, crisis management and aid effectiveness.
After the “High-Level Panel for Financing Humanitarian Activities” was established in 2015 by the United Nations Secretary General, it published an innovative report which, in addition to rethinking the foundations of humanitarian work, highlighted the importance of peacekeeping in order to ensure the sustainable development of all countries. Accordingly, sustainable peace was considered "the third side of the triangle" of the nexus between humanitarian aid (I), development cooperation (II) and peace and security (III). Setting out from that baseline, the 2003 European Security Strategy holds that “there cannot be sustainable development without peace and security, and without development and poverty eradication there will be no sustainable peace”. The 2020 European Security Strategy also highlights that “all government bodies, businesses, social organisations, institutions and citizens must fulfil their own responsibilities in order to make our societies more secure”.
According to this theory, a country’s sustainable economic and social development is only possible when a certain level of security, peace and stability is achieved. This is effectively the premise of the CT Public Spaces project, which seeks to improve security and stability in partner countries by reducing terrorist attacks in urban public spaces, thus preserving human rights in these spaces. CT Public Spaces works in cooperation with the public and private actors involved in the protection of public spaces and in counter-terrorism activities in the partner countries. Its recent launch in 2019 allows FIIAPP and Guardia Civil Española, as its implementing partner, to work on preventing and reducing terrorist attacks and their impact in public spaces in partner countries, supporting the strengthening of peace and security in these countries and thus contributing to their development.
CT Public Spaces is in turn guided by the Action Plan to Support the Protection of Public Spaces, drawn up by the European Commission at the end of 2017. This Plan saw the launching of the EU High Risk Security Network (EU HRSN), an entity also associated with the project, which brings together counter-terrorism police units in EU member states who participate in the fight against a new terrorist threat. These initiatives are aimed at responding to one of the security priorities of the EU, which is the improvement and strengthening of the protection of public spaces with large groups of people and other sensitive targets.
In this context, CT Public Spaces aims its activities at the collaboration with partner countries for the protection of urban public spaces, including open public spaces with a large influx of people (commercial, tourist-focused, etc.), large-scale events (sports, religious events, festivals, etc.) and infrastructure elements such as airports, ports, railway stations etc. This will be achieved, among other activities, through 33 specific training activities at the Guardia Civil’s Polígono de Experiencias para Fuerzas Especiales (PEFE), complemented by another 33 training programmes in partner countries, exercises and seminars, the development of their own doctrine, donations of non-harmful materials and improvement of public-private cooperation with private companies, which will also be invited to training activities.
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