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Switzerland relies on partnerships as an effective means of putting its commitment to peace and security into practice. It therefore works with like-minded countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the business and scientific communities.
The main partners of Swiss security and peace policy include the three Geneva Centres:
- Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)
- Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
- Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)
GCSP, GICHD and DCAF have established themselves all over the world as recognized centres of excellence in their field and make a major contribution to reinforcing Geneva’s status as an international city. The three centres were founded by the Swiss government between 1995 and 2000 and are organized as international foundations. They receive financial support from a number of countries and the Canton of Geneva. The biggest funder is the Swiss government which makes a significant contribution to the finances of the three Geneva Centres through the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
The GCSP promotes the exchange of ideas and knowledge in international security and peace policy, all the way from disarmament via armed extremism to themes involving human security. It provides practice-based training courses for participants from national administrations, armies, international organizations and civil society.
The GCSP’s training courses on current issues relating to security and peace policy also benefit Swiss participants from the army, the diplomatic service and civil peace promotion. To build up knowledge in specific areas, the GSCP conducts policy-related research and supports the exchange of information between security experts. Finally, the GCSP teams up with partner institutions to organize public events promoting a wide-ranging discourse on security and peace policy.
The GICHD focuses on eliminating anti-personnel mines, reducing the dangers for the civilian population and clearing land mines and duds of all kinds. It is the world’s leading knowledge centre in the field of humanitarian demining.
The key tasks of the GICHD include advising and assisting affected countries as well as drawing up international standards for humanitarian demining. It is a reliable partner to the UN in the fight against anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war. In addition to operational support for demining work, it also implements projects aimed at rehabilitating victims and raising the awareness of the population. The specialist knowledge generated by the GICHD and its partners is available free of charge and practice-oriented. The GICHD also hosts the secretariat for the Ottawa Convention (Mine Ban Treaty).
The DCAF assists governments, international organizations and civil society in their efforts to improve the civilian and parliamentary control of the security sector and to increase its effectiveness and accountability by introducing selective reforms.
The security sector encompasses armed forces, police, border guards, intelligence services and other actors (e.g. paramilitary groups or private companies). The efficiency and democratic control of these players are often a key factor in determining a country's development and stability. In particular, the DCAF assists young democracies and countries which are or have been affected by a conflict to reform their security sector and exert control over it through parliament and civil society. The DCAF systematically gathers and records knowledge and produces manuals, studies, plans and strategies for its international partners based on that knowledge. It provides experts and operates a number of projects locally. The DCAF is the only institution in the world that consistently combines analysis and practical work aimed at reforming the security sector.