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Making SSG a constant thread of the global conversation about sustainable peace


For the past two years DCAF has undergone a period of profound transition that brought a change of leadership, a new structure and a fresh strategic focus. It’s an evolution that readies DCAF to be ever more efficient and impactful in the way we support security sector governance and reform processes around the world.

In step with this evolving profile, it is now more important than ever for DCAF’s voice to reach external audiences proactively, and one way we will seek to do this is through this blog. Over the coming months you will see posts penned by a mix of contributors, including DCAF experts, thought leaders from partner organizations, and others with a valid point to make about SSG/R and the circles in which DCAF turns.

I’m honoured to be the first blogger to publish here, and to give an update on some significant steps forward we have already taken this year.

On New Year’s Day, DCAF joined the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), expanding and strengthening this unique and important partnership as it began its tenth year. For me, DCAF is a natural addition to the GPP. This influential network now unifies the expertise and experience of five Geneva-based, international peacebuilding organizations, namely the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP); Interpeace; and the Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva (QUNO).

These entities are all leaders in their respective fields, and DCAF’s membership of the GPP attests to the well-established role that good security sector governance plays in building lasting peace and laying the ground for sustainable development. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for the GPP; at DCAF we’re determined to make a rapid, valid and impactful contribution.

One of our first undertakings under the auspices of the GPP was to bring it together with the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, when he visited us in Geneva yesterday morning ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s February session. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the UN’s approach to sustaining peace in order to identify insights for the high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace that the General Assembly will hold in April 2018.

SSR is widely recognized as a pivotal contributor to enduring peace. As noted in UN Security Council Resolution 2151, ‘an effective, professional and accountable security sector without discrimination and with full respect for human rights and the rule of law is the cornerstone of peace and sustainable development and is important for conflict prevention’.

DCAF has therefore been asked to support efforts to drive home the importance of SSR during relevant discussions on sustaining peace during the 72nd session of the General Assembly. So DCAF will support Slovakia and South Africa in their capacity as the co-chairs of the UN Group of Friends of SSR in organizing on 23 April a high-level roundtable on SSR on the side-lines of the High-Level event of the General Assembly on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

These efforts are intended to encourage further recognition, at global level, of the undiminished importance of SSR in international efforts to achieve sustainable peace and development. Our contribution will be to help shape the SSR agenda at the top political echelons by feeding our expertise into relevant discussions of UN Member States.

Thomas Guerber, Director DCAF
Ambassador Thomas Guerber became Director of DCAF in July 2016. He joined the Swiss diplomatic service in 1997, gaining deep experience of multilateral diplomacy and policy development relating to human security, human rights and sustainable development. He has held senior diplomatic roles at Switzerland's Permanent Mission to the UN, in New York, and at the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs' Human Security Division, including as Head of Section for Peace Policy and Human Security.