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The Civil Peace Service: experts in the service of peace

Solemn Buddhist ceremony to honor victims of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia as part of a reconciliation dialogue between young people and survivors.

The Civil Peace Service (CPS) is made up of a number of German peace and development organisations and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

CPS experts provide support worldwide in crisis regions, helping local partner organisations to build a basis for lasting peace. They mediate in conflicts, raise public awareness of the concerns of disadvantaged groups, help ease former combatants back into civilian life, work with traumatised victims of violence, and assist with the reintegration of refugees. They always work with local organisations and initiatives.

The Civil Peace Service is considered to be a successful model of cooperation between governmental and non-governmental agencies engaged in development and peace work. Since the programme was launched in 1999, more than 1,300 peace experts have already served on multi-year assignments in more than 60 countries. At the beginning of 2018, some 300 experts were working in 43 countries. At present, peace experts are active in Africa (including Burundi, Kenya, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Uganda), Asia (for example Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal and Myanmar), the Middle East (Palestinian territories, Jordan and Lebanon), Latin America (for example Colombia and Bolivia) and Eastern and South Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia).

Tasks

Woman in front of poster calling on women to get involved in politics

The purpose of the CPS is to facilitate lasting social change. The tasks of the CPS peace experts are accordingly highly diverse, and the skills needed differ depending on the assignment. Among other things, the experts must have skills in intercultural communication, and they must be able to use civil conflict management instruments. They are also expected to have the right language skills.

The CPS works with local partner organisations that

  • build cooperation and dialogue connections across conflict lines (which may include, for example, efforts to strengthen traditional mediation bodies),
  • create contact points and safe spaces where the parties to the conflict can meet,
  • strengthen information and communication structures that seek to identify the causes and consequences of violent conflict (including support for peace journalism, networking between peace organisations, and conflict monitoring),
  • assist groups that are particularly affected by violence and help to reintegrate them in society (for example through psychosocial support and trauma counselling),
  • provide advice and training on the methodology and concepts of civil conflict management,
  • engage in peace education and reduce prejudice and stereotypes, and
  • strengthen legal certainty on the ground and work for human rights.

The organisations that constitute the Civil Peace Service

Boniface Cissé and Jean de Dieu Dembélé, employees of the Malian ZFD/EIRENE partner organisations ORFED and ASEFOD in a campaign on the border between Mali and Burkina Faso

On behalf of the BMZ, the work of the CPS is carried out by Germany's officially recognised development services, which have jointly formed the Civil Peace Service Group.

The programme is administered by Engagement Global – Service for Development Initiatives. Decisions on the Civil Peace Service's overall programme and on all CPS projects are taken by the BMZ in agreement with the Federal Foreign Office. For more information on the broad range of CPS project activities and job offers, visit www.ziviler-friedensdienst.org/en.


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