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For Day Conference, 21 November 2001, at International Alert

"Contributing Civilian Personnel to Peace Operations:

Is there a need for a UK Civilian Peace Service?"



Tim Wallis and Mareike Junge, Peaceworkers UK

Draft version 12/11/01


This is a draft document produced as background material for the day conference on 21st November at International Alert. It will be revised for publication and wider distribution, and any comments or corrections to the text should be sent to Peaceworkers UK, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DD, email:

We would like to thank the following for helping with the research and commenting on earlier drafts: Susan Seymour, Rosemary Bechler, Scilla Elworthy, Simon Rynn, Kate Barron, Sian Lowe, Becky Hemmings, Henry Wai, Steve Whiting, Teddy Milne, Peter Cross, Christine Schweitzer, Andrew Rigby. Responsibility for any errors remains, of course, with the principle authors.

Finally, we would like to thank the following funders who enabled this research to be carried out over the past 11 months: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation, Allen Lane Foundation, W F Southall Trust, Peaceworkers USA.


Tim Wallis and Mareike Junge, Peaceworkers UK

Executive Summary

Meeting the challenge of violent conflict

The need to find better ways to deal with conflicts before they cause enormous harm and destruction is well recognised. Governments around the world are developing policies and strategies for the prevention of violent conflict, but in the end it takes people on the ground to implement these policies. This means having a pool of people with skills and experience across a whole range of areas relevant to the handling of conflicts at an early stage. Such a pool could draw on the many people already experienced in handling conflicts here in the UK, and especially in Northern Ireland.

Handling conflict: a theoretical framework

Many of the tools and techniques for handling conflict are for use by people directly involved in a particular conflict, but there are useful roles which outside parties can play in support of the local effort. These range from 'peacekeeping' tasks - protecting local people so that they can carry out their own work - to 'peacemaking' tasks - acting as outside intermediaries when communication between local parties is impossible - through to 'peacebuilding' roles of training and supporting local groups who are trying to deal with their own situation. Many of these tasks are highly specialised while others require very little in the way of specialist skills or experience. In between is a whole range of different levels at which useful contributions can be made in this field.

Current international requirements for civilian personnel

Recent developments within the EU, the OSCE and the UN have highlighted the increasing use of civilian personnel for a range of tasks in this field. The EU's current focus is on providing specialists in 'civilian administration', 'civil protection' and 'rule of law', while the OSCE has emphasised areas such as 'democratisation', 'human rights', 'media development' and 'elections'. The UN needs civilian personnel additionally in the areas of 'de-mining', and 'demobilisation'. NGOs are employing people for 'monitoring', 'observing', 'accompaniment', 'mediation', 'facilitation', 'training' and 'capacity-building' tasks. Many of these roles relate more to post-crisis than to pre-crisis situations. If the emphasis is to be on crisis prevention, many more people may be needed to fill additional roles.

Existing capacity: UK recruitment, training and deployment

The UK government currently seconds civilian personnel to EU, OSCE and UN missions through the Foreign Office. NGOs handle their own recruitment but also supply some contract staff to the above bodies. Apart from in a few specialist areas, most vacancies are easily filled. Yet many consider existing 'needs' to be a drop in the ocean compared to what it would take to effectively prevent many of these conflicts in the first place. For meeting this wider need, there is a largely untapped resource of skills and experience throughout the UK, and especially in Northern Ireland. There are a number of academic courses and training opportunities to introduce people to this area of work, but few which provide people with the skills to face the practical realities and challenges that they will experience in these situations.

Enhancing capacity: the \'civilian peace service\' model

The aim of a 'civilian peace service' is to enhance capacities for handling conflict, through more coordinated approaches to the recruitment, training and deployment of civilian personnel. The German Civil Peace Service currently trains and deploys around 70 'peace professionals' a year and has a budget of around £6 million, funded entirely by the German government. Other Civil Peace Services operate differently, but with similar aims, in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Sweden. In Norway, Denmark and Ireland the governments have highly effective civilian 'rosters' for emergency deployments to crisis situations, and several countries have training programmes specifically for preparing civilian personnel for peace missions with the UN or OSCE.

Towards a UK Civilian Peace Service

Examination of the different civilian peace service models in Europe provides a useful starting point for exploring how we could enhance capacities for handling conflict here in the UK. Most UK NGOs working in this field agree that more coordination and cooperation could help to increase the effectiveness of civilian deployments in conflict situations. There is a concern, however, that increasing civilian capacities should not be at the expense of standards and quality control in the field. A comprehensive framework of vocational qualifications could help to open up this field to new people and enable them to contribute at many different levels while at the same time ensuring that minimum standards are maintained. Additional training capacity in the UK could further enable quality standards to improve, while more funding for NGO work in this field could enable much more to be done, especially in pre-crisis situations, where the emphasis is on prevention.

Outstanding Issues and Options

  1. Is there a need to develop a UK Civilian Peace Service along the lines of some of the other European countries?

  2. What should such a service look like? Should it be NGO-based, government-based or some sort of combination of the two?

  3. How should we proceed with this idea? Should an NGO working group or 'consortium' be established to drive the concept forward and offer an NGO-driven concept to the UK government?

  4. Is there a need for such a consortium to try to define this field, develop occupational standards and/or work on other related issues?

  5. Should some aspects of this idea be developed independently of whether or not a UK CPS is pursued - for instance, the creation of a central database of training and employment opportunities in this field?


1The Deadly Statistics of Conflict 8

2The ABCs of Conflict 12

3EU Targets for Civilian Crisis Management 27

4Recruitment of Civilian Personnel by the UK Government 38

5The \'Civilian Peace Service\' Concept 46

6Enhancing UK Capacity for Handling Conflict 59



Following is a list of contents contained in Appendices 2 and 3. The full appendices are available as a separate document on request and can be downloaded from the web at: 72

Guardian Angels 74

RedR 74

Introduction: Meeting the Challenge of Violent Conflict

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