Operational Guidance

Guide to the EU’s international cooperation on cyber capacity building


In the era of digital interdependence, cybersecurity has evolved from a technical and technological issue to a societal need and a multifaceted discipline. The promotion of digital transition and digital society as a key element of the EU’s international cooperation and partnerships has steadily increased the funding for such initiatives. The sustainability of the digital development outcomes and the safe transition to digital societies rely on the cybersecurity and cyber resilience of these processes. Therefore, a concerted effort is necessary to consolidate lessons from the EU’s experience to date – particularly in bridging the development and technical communities – and articulate a systematic methodology that combines the various dimensions of cyber policy with development cooperation principles.


This Operational Guidance for EU’s International Cooperation on Cyber Capacity Building, updated in 2023 from its original 2018 publication, provides a practical framework for designing and implementing the EU’s external actions. With streamlined content and revised tools, the document serves a resource for EU staff in headquarters and delegations, as well as for services of Member States and implementing partners involved in cyber capacity building.

The objectives of the Operational Guidance for EU’s international cooperation on cyber capacity building are to assist in designing appropriate, context-specific project actions for cyber capacity building in partner countries and regions, drawing from development best practices and lessons learnt. The document offers guidance on the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of such actions, and serves as the baseline material for training courses on cyber capacity building organised by the EU.

Second edition of the Operational Guidance

The Operational Guidance is designed to primarily support the EU’s core cyber capacity building objectives in the areas of cyber resilience, cybercrime, cyber diplomacy, and/or any other cyber-specific issue. However, the specific tools and considerations presented in this document play a crucial role in integrating a cyber-specific capacity building component into actions addressing a broader challenge that contain a cyber dimension, or integrating cyber-related policy consideration as a cross-cutting issue into actions in other policy areas.

This study was implemented by EU CyberNet at the commission and under the supervision of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, Unit FPI.1 “Stability and Peace – Global and Transregional Threats and Challenges”, and in cooperation with DG INTPA, DG NEAR, and EEAS.

It is written by Nayia Barmpaliou and Patryk Pawlak, EU CyberNet experts.

Download the Operational Guidance


How to cite?

EU CyberNet, project of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, European Commission, (2023). Operational Guidance. The EU’s International Cooperation on Cyber Capacity Building, Joon OÜ Printing House.