Dr. Albrecht Schnabel, Head of Asia-Pacific Unit
Mr. Kevin Socquet-Clerc, Project Officer Southeast Asia
DCAF’s Asia-Pacific Unit (APU) takes a unique sub-regional approach to promoting good security sector governance (SSG) and security sector reform (SSR) in the Asia-Pacific region. APU has a vision of fostering interregional and intraregional dialogues, experience-sharing and cooperation within and between the sub-regions of South, Southeast and East Asia, in order to improve ongoing and launch new national SSR processes. APU has created a network of partner institutions and SSG associates (experts working on security sector-related issues) in all three sub-regions. These partners are brought together at annual sub-regional and Asia-Pacific regional forums to allow participants to share and learn from each other’s experiences in promoting good SSG through SSR activities. APU’s partners in turn assemble a group of security sector representatives and experts in national SSG working group meetings (NWGs). These take place multiple times per year, and are meant to foster a dialogue between stakeholders and review the status of good SSG in their respective countries. In these meetings, needs for improvement are defined, and translated into specific SSR activities. These flow back to APU, which seeks funding so that such SSR activities and projects can be implemented. The first Southeast Asia Security Sector Governance Forum was held from 7 to 9 October 2019 in Manila, the Philippines.
The Asia-Pacific Unit supports the ongoing Peace Process in Myanmar, where it works closely together with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Embassy in Yangon, and other actors (such as the International Committee of the Red Cross). DCAF assists in the peace process using its broad expertise in, amongst others, SSG, SSR, and DDR. Multiple trainings are organized each year to increase knowledge on these concepts and foster discussion on pathways to good security sector governance among participants. Training activities take place both in Myanmar and in Switzerland.
In 2013, DCAF concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of Thailand on the ‘Cooperation in Capacity Building in the Area of Media and Security Sector Governance’. The MoU paved the way for joint projects on familiarising and empowering the media in security sector governance in Thailand, in particular in support of the protracted peace process in the three southern provinces of Thailand.
These included numerous capacity-building workshops for local community radio broadcasters in Southern Thailand, as well with national media, government agencies, parliamentarians and civil society representatives on SSG-related themes in Bangkok.
Since 2008, DCAF and FES have supported the National Defence College of the Philippines (NDCP) on SSR-related capacity building for the defence and broader security sector community in the Philippines. This includes annual workshops for senior military officers, officials from other security institutions, government agencies, parliament, local authorities and civil society organisations.
The workshops, held at NDCP headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, focus on introducing SSG/R concepts and adapting them to the specific context of the Philippines, including peace processes, post-conflict peacebuilding, DDR/normalisation, or, in May 2017, the impact of federalism on the security sector. Some workshops were co-hosted by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
Asia-Pacific SSG Network website: