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New Voluntary Guidelines on the Duty of Care to Seconded Civilian Personnel

Discussions around the issue of duty of care to seconded civilian personnel began at the Stabilisation Leaders Forum organised by the UK’s Stabilisation Unit in 2013. Based on these discussions, the German Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and the German Federal Foreign Office started an initiative to deepen the exchange between seconding states and international organisations by hosting the first Duty of Care Roundtable in Berlin in 2014. This became an annual event, organised jointly with different seconding institutions such as the Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

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The second Duty of Care Roundtable convened in Berlin and was attended by representatives from seconding organisations and from multilateral organisations receiving seconded civilian personnel. During this Roundtable it became clear that a common understanding of the concept of duty of care, and its related rights and obligations, would be helpful. In addition, there was a view that sharing good practice would facilitate and improve relationships between the seconding and receiving organisations, as well as with the secondees themselves, and that this in turn would encourage the achievement of operational aims and objectives.

For this reason, the 2015 Duty of Care Roundtable agreed to commission a paper that would articulate its shared understanding of duty of care, using a common language, and would develop practical guidelines for use by both seconding and receiving organisations.