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Mark Downes

Acting Director, Head of Operations

Mark Downes is currently Acting Director and Head of DCAF's Operations Department. He was previously head of DCAF's International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT).

Before joining DCAF, Mark  worked for the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) where he was responsible for conceptualising and developing the OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform. Prior to that he worked on parliamentary oversight and police reform, the latter as Head of the Strategic Development Unit within the Law Enforcement Department of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro. In this role he led the team that undertook a comprehensive review of the Serbian police service, the results of which were published by the OSCE in the 2004 report "Police Reform in Serbia: towards and modern and accountable police service".

Mark has provided support to security, justice and governance reform processes in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South Eastern Europe and has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the University of the Vest in Romania and at the Belgrade Open School in Serbia. He was a founding editor of the open access journal Stability: International Journal of Security and Development ( and publishes frequently on SSR, security and governance issues. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Limerick in Ireland.