Every year, Switzerland sends some 200 civilian experts to international organisations to promote peace and human rights. These experts work either at the headquarters of international organisations or at peace missions in regions affected by conflict. Since its launch in 2000, the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding (SEP) has been an effective peace and human rights policy instrument for Switzerland.
Efforts to re-establish a well-functioning state governed by the rule of law are a crucial part of reconstruction following an armed conflict, giving people security and restoring the necessary trust in state institutions. Civilian experts provide inputs to help build states governed by the rule of law or mediate in conflicts. They help in the planning and running of elections or take part in election observation missions. They also advise judicial and police authorities in forensics or assist border authorities in migration or customs matters.
On average, some 100 experts are deployed at any given time. The UN, OSCE and EU are the pool's main partners. Experts are taking part in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. Swiss police are on mission for the UN in Mali as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and election observers are working for the OSCE, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU).
Switzerland's engagement for peace. Three portraits
The Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding seconds experts to international organizations. This film accompanies three of them as they go about their work, receive and provide training, and support local staff.
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Duty of Care to Seconded Civilian Personnel clarify the responsibilities between sending states, international partner organisations and the seconded experts. Duty of care measures create a sound basis for staff to fulfil their assignments well prepared, effectively and with the best possible risk management.
The drafting of these guidelines in the field of civilian peacebuilding, which involved a network of national seconding authorities and institutions as well as international organizations, represents a milestone in the development of a common understanding of the duty of care.
In addition to the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE), the institutions co-signing these guidelines include the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding (SEP), the British Stabilisation Unit (SU), the Swedish Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the German Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF), the Finnish Crisis Management Centre (CMC) and the Italian Foreign Ministry.
The network meets regularly for an international roundtable to further develop the dialogue on the duty of care.