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Creating a safer environment for sustainable development
Creating a safer environment for sustainable development
Driving innovation in policy and practice
Driving innovation
in policy and practice
Promoting good governance of the security sector
Promoting good governance
of the security sector
Strengthening global support for better security sector reform
Strengthening global support
for better security sector reform
Promoting gender equality for inclusive security
Promoting gender equality
for inclusive security
Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
DCAF -
Geneva Centre
for Security Sector
Governance

Who we are

DCAF - Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance is dedicated to improving the security of states and people within a framework of democratic governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

DCAF assists partner states, and international actors supporting these states, to improve the governance of their security sector through inclusive and participatory reforms based on international norms and good practices.

DCAF creates original knowledge products, promotes norms and good practices, provides policy advice, and supports capacity building of non-governmental security sector stakeholders.

What we do

Security and justice reforms are often carried out with extensive support from international actors, either through bilateral donor assistance or in the framework of cooperation with multilateral organisations. Helping bilateral and multilateral actors become better international partners in supporting SSR is a core dimension of DCAF’s work.

DCAF's advisory services support donor government and multilateral organisations through:

  • Promoting norms and good practice in the area of good governance of the security sector
  • Supporting policy development and guidance
  • Capacity building of international actors to effectively contribute to nationally led reform processes
  • Facilitation of coordination efforts and coherence amongst international actors in line with aid effectiveness principles
  • Supporting needs assessments, design, monitoring and evaluation of SSG/R programmes in line with international good practice
  • Indirectly managing programmes funds in the area of SSG/R
  • Supporting the implementation of international treaties and multi-stakeholder policy initiatives by providing secretariat and expert backstopping services
     

As one of the world’s leading centres of competence in the area of SSG/R and related matters, DCAF contributes to international discourses on development, peace and security policy, as well as to norms, standards and good practices. 
 

DCAF’s support to policy development and good practices includes:

  • Input to and facilitation of multilateral and national policy processes
  • Undertaking research that fills knowledge gaps and informs policy debates
  • Development of guidance products that bridge research, policy and practice, and that are openly accessible and available in multiple languages
  • Identification of trends and challenges in the area of democratic and security sector governance
     

DCAF recognizes that a democratically run, accountable and efficient security sector is fundamental to people’s livelihoods, to reducing poverty and the risk of conflict, and creating an enabling environment for sustainable development. 
 
DCAF has identified three main avenues of work through which it can contribute to improved human and national security within a framework of democratic governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights: i) directly supporting national partners, ii) assisting international actors and iii) contributing to international policy and knowledge development in the area of good governance of the security sector.
 

Many states seek support from DCAF to design and implement inclusive and participatory reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and accountability of security provision. DCAF’s work with national partners succeeds because its activities are driven by respect for national ownership, in-depth knowledge of local context and comparative experience from different regions.

DCAF supports national partners by:

  • Providing policy and legal advice, as well as comparative experience, to support national actors on how to enhance the governance of the security sector
  • Supporting institutional reforms to strengthen integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for human rights within the security and justice sectors
  • Supporting the development of effective parliamentary oversight of the security sector
  • Supporting the development of inclusive national security policies and strategies
  • Establishing communication systems and practices to engage and build trust between the state and its people
  • Building the capacity of civil society by providing access to independent expertise and information on security sector governance and reform
  • Supporting the private sector’s efforts to operate in line with the principles of security sector governance
     

Where we work

Thematic expertise

Across all the areas below, DCAF brings extensive experience in strategic planning, programme management and understanding of the political context of SSR processes.

Parlimentary oversight

Parliamentary Oversight

Gender and Security

Gender and Security

Police and law Enforcement reform

Police and law Enforcement reform

Border management

Border management

Defence Reform and Defence Integrity Building

Defence Reform and Defence Integrity Building

Independent Oversight Institutions

Independent Oversight Institutions

CivIl Society and Media Oversight of Security Sector 

CivIl Society and Media Oversight of Security Sector

Justice Sector Reform

Justice Sector Reform

Intelligence Governance 

Intelligence Governance

Private Security Governance 

Private Security Governance

DCAF Business and Security Hub

DCAF’s Business and Security Division works with business, governments and communities to improve security, sustainable development and respect for human rights.

DCAF The International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT)

DCAF’s International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) provides practical support to the international community in its efforts to improve security and justice, primarily in conflict-affected and fragile states.

Private Security Governance Observatory

The Private Security Governance Observatory is a network of African civil society organizations (CSOs) that seeks to share knowledge and reinforce their organizational capacity to promote good governance of the private sector.

UKRAINE DEMOCRATIC SECURITY SECTOR GOVERNANCE

DCAF has worked extensively on security governance issues with a wide range of Ukrainian stakeholders since 2001.