Comprehensive Protection of Civilians (CPOC),Stadtschlaining, 8-12 May 2023
The European Security and Defence College (ESDC) had the honour of co-organising the Comprehensive Protection of Civilians (CPOC) course, together with the recently renamed Austrian Centre for Peace (ACP). Course Director of the ACP, Susanne Györög, emphasised the importance of this course, which is both ESDC and UN-recognised. The course was held in the castle of Schlaining, located in Stadtschlaining, Austria, from 8 to 12 May 2023. The course aimed to prepare participants to protect civilian populations in contexts of armed conflict or post-conflict situations. The overall objectives were fully achieved, with a diverse training audience spanning three continents and from a range of professional, religious and cultural backgrounds, who engaged actively with the trainers and speakers, whose wide-ranging and hands-on experience in this area was put to good effect. The participants formed diverse groups, which collaborated, often outside working hours, to produce threat risk assessments and action plans on a given, realistic scenario. These exercises were closely tied to the daily lectures and reflected the knowledge gained from these sessions. As Evangelos Englezakis, Training Manager of the ESDC noted, as well as being fully aligned with the EU’s CFSP, this course ultimately promotes and supports the fundamental values and principles of the EU, including peace, fundamental human rights and protection of the most vulnerable, with a view to their sustained application in the more troubled regions of the world. Special congratulations go to Susanne Györög, Course Director of the ACP, for the excellent organisation of the course.