Every year, Switzerland sends some 200 civilian and police experts to international organisations to work on peacebuilding and human rights. Their missions closely reflect the geographic and thematic priorities of the FDFA Human Security Division. The Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding trains these experts in Switzerland and builds the capacities of experts in crisis areas.
The Swiss specialists in the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding, part of the FDFA Human Security Division, put their expertise at the service of the international community.
Establishing the rule of law in a country, assisting in the holding of elections, providing technical expertise and advising national judicial and police authorities are some of the areas in which the experts can provide assistance.
The Swiss Expert Pool organises the training of experts in Switzerland and builds the capacities of experts in crisis areas. The UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the EU are its main partner organisations. Experts are seconded to the headquarters of these organisations or deployed in the field.
Every year, some 200 civilian and police experts representing various areas of expertise are deployed for varying lengths of time in over 30 countries. On average, around 100 people are on deployment at any given time. There are an equal number of men and women. The choice of assignments is guided by Switzerland's geographic and thematic priorities in human security. These include:
- mediation and facilitation of peace agreements
- strengthening state structures and the rule of law
- advising judicial, police, customs and border authorities
- international humanitarian law and human rights
- dealing with the past
The deployment of experts provides Switzerland with an effective instrument for peacebuilding and promoting human rights. It allows Switzerland to provide input at the international policy level and in crisis areas and to help improve human security long-term. The experts work at the headquarters of international organisations or advise local authorities and institutions in the context of international peace operations.
After the end of the Cold War and in the aftermath of the Balkan wars, it was civilian expertise above all that was needed to rebuild war-ravaged countries. Switzerland created the Swiss Expert Pool (SEP) in 2000 in response to the growing international demand for experts in civilian peacebuilding and the promotion of human rights. Demand has continued to grow ever since.
Training of experts
The Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding organises initial and advanced training courses with external partners. New experts attend a two-week initial training course to learn about peacebuilding and human rights work. In addition there are courses on specific subjects (mediation, dealing with the past, human rights) and skills (advisory work, leadership).
Through the support it provides to the School of Peacekeeping in Bamako (EMP) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, Switzerland is also involved in providing basic and advanced training to local experts in crisis areas.