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National structures

The German Government’s crisis-prevention activities are pooled and coordinated by the Interministerial Steering Group for Civilian Crisis Prevention. The Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention ensures that non-governmental stakeholders are involved in the sphere of civilian crisis prevention. And the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) runs training and education programmes on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office for international peace operations and election observer missions. The German Bundestag has had a Subcommittee on Civilian Crisis Prevention and Integrated Conflict Management since 2010, though this was renamed the Subcommittee on Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Management and Integrated Action in 2014.

Subcommittee on Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Management and Integrated Action

The Subcommittee on Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Management and Integrated Action makes a crucial contribution to integrating this subject matter into parliamentary activities. By conducting hearings with experts and maintaining dialogue with national and international stakeholders, it plays an important role in placing the subject in the spotlight. The Subcommittee was constituted in March 2010 and held its first regular session on 19 April 2010. The Interministerial Steering Group for Civilian Crisis Prevention collaborates closely with it.

Interministerial Steering Group for Civilian Crisis Prevention

The Interministerial Steering Group for Civilian Crisis Prevention has been in operation since September 2004. Its chief task is to implement and monitor the Action Plan. Headed by the Deputy Director-General responsible for Civilian Crisis Prevention at the Federal Foreign Office, the Steering Group is made up civilian crisis prevention representatives from all Federal Ministries. It exists first and foremost to provide information and coordinate operations. In so doing, it creates the conditions for improving the German Government’s capacity to act in this policy area. Alongside it, the experts from the various Ministries work in numerous interministerial bodies on the resolution of extreme emergencies. 

Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention

From the outset, the German Government felt it very important that civil society participate closely in the cross-sectoral task of crisis prevention and peace-building. The Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention, which was set up in accordance with the Action Plan, ensures that relevant non-governmental stakeholders are involved in the sphere of civilian crisis prevention. The 19-member Advisory Board is intended to accompany the work of the Steering Group and provide it with specialist advice.

Members are drawn from the worlds of academia, security policy, development policy, human rights and humanitarian issues, the environment, the church, industry and political foundations, or they are policy advisors or figures with particular expertise in crisis prevention. The Advisory Board was established in May 2005.

Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF)

In Germany, the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) in Berlin is the implementing organisation of the Federal Foreign Office for recruiting, training, deploying, preparing, supervising and qualifying German specialists and managers for peace operations. It also conducts academic analysis of international peace operations,  supplies information products and advises the German Bundestag and Government.

Peace missions are one of the international community’s main instruments of conflict prevention and conflict management. Building on the first United Nations peace operations of the late 1940s – the ‘blue helmet’ missions – they have developed into complex multidimensional undertakings. Alongside the United Nations, international peace operations are now also conducted by regional organisations like NATO, the EU, ECOWAS (West Africa) and the OSCE.

There are currently more than 9,975 civilian specialists and managers working in over 61 peace operations worldwide. It is key to the success of these missions that staff be experienced, well-prepared and socially competent experts. The complex mandates of the operations mean that they are required to do challenging jobs involving counselling and management skills. They also need to be extremely flexible, mobile and physically as well as mentally tough.

ZIF is organized as a non-profit company with the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Foreign Office, as its sole shareholder.


Last updated 22.05.2014

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