What we do
ZIF: Your Gateway to Peace Operations
From security training and the recruitment of civilian experts for OSCE, EU, or UN missions to policy advice for subcommittees of the Bundestag – the Center for International Peace Operations provides “one-stop” services and expertise on peace operations.
ZIF’s integrated approach, combining training, human resources, and analysis under one roof, is internationally recognized as a leading model.
Thanks to its result-oriented work, ZIF has become a valued partner for international cooperation in various projects. ZIF projects address specific demands for qualification or conceptualization in the field of peace operations. For example, ZIF advises the African Union on the establishment of a civilian expert roster, coordinates a European training initiative aimed at developing common standards, and develops scenarios for the future of peace operations.
ZIF is tasked with strengthening civilian capacities for crisis prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. Its core mandate is thus
- Training and qualification and
- Recruitment and support of civilian personnel for international peace operations and election monitoring missions by, among other things, developing and maintaining an expert roster of qualified German personnel as well as;
- Providing up-to-date information, analyses, policy advice, and conceptual contributions along with event services in the field of peace operations.
To this end, ZIF works closely with the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministries for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), of the Interior (BMI), and of Defense (BMVg), and international organizations, especially the UN, the EU, and the OSCE.
The Center is organized in three divisions corresponding to its tasks: Training, Human Resources, and Analysis. These divisions are closely connected in their daily work.
ZIF is a non-profit company with limited liability funded by the Federal Government. The Federal Republic of Germany is the sole shareholder, represented by the Federal Foreign Office. Its governing bodies include the management, the supervisory board, the international advisory board, and the shareholders’ assembly. ZIF is located at Ludwigkirchplatz in Berlin-Wilmersdorf.
10 Years of Commitment for Peace. Where Do We Stand Today?
Ten years after its establishment, ZIF has become a key element of Germany’s civilian crisis prevention strategy – as envisaged by the action plan on “Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding” adopted by the Federal Government in May 2004.
Over 1,200 experts with a wide range of skills and experience are registered on the ZIF expert roster for deployment to election observation missions and peace operations. About 200 of them are currently working for the UN, the EU, or the OSCE. Since 2002, over 3,100 experts have been deployed in over 140 EU or OSCE election observation missions. ZIF has responded to changing requirements by targeting new professional groups for peace operations and actively recruiting judges, public prosecutors, logistics experts, and engineers, among others.
Since 2002, the 110 core and specialization courses conducted by ZIF have been attended by 2,100 professionals, 44% of whom were women and one third of whom were international participants. Since 2004, ZIF has also assisted the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Ghana as well as the West African regional organization ECOWAS in training election observers. Since 2011, ZIF has coordinated a consortium of 13 training partners for Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management (ENTRi), an EU capacity building project.
ZIF looks back on a broad spectrum of conferences and events such as the Berlin Workshop or After Work Briefings, bringing together practitioners from the field with political decision makers. The range of ZIF publications includes formats for different target groups such as the Peace Operations Update as a weekly international press review, the Glossary as an introduction to the field, or the "Crisis Management Toolbox," which provides an overview of the German contribution to worldwide civilian crisis prevention.
A Short History of ZIF
The Berlin Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) was established in 2002 in close cooperation between the Federal Government of Germany and the Bundestag to strengthen German civilian capacities for international peace operations.
Reasons for ZIF’s foundation were developments in the Balkans in the mid-1990s, particularly the events in Kosovo. Demand for experienced civilian experts rose dramatically during that time and the character of peace operations underwent a fundamental change. If purely military tasks were originally in the foreground, namely monitoring ceasefire lines after inter-state wars, this changed after 1990. In Somalia, Afghanistan, Haiti, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, or DR Congo, the international community increasingly saw itself confronted with intra-state conflicts. As a result, civilian expertise became sought after for peacekeeping and stabilization in conflict regions. The German government reacted to this increased demand by putting the idea of a competence center for civilian expertise in peace operations into practice. Dr. Winrich Kühne, the founding director of ZIF, developed and significantly advanced this concept. The central idea was to unite the selection and placement of personnel, the field-oriented preparation and specialization, and the analysis, advising, and lessons learned under one roof. Other – above all European – states have developed similar institutions on the basis of this integrated model.