The costs of creating and containing conflicts are enormous. According to the Global Peace Index, in 2016 alone the economic impact of violence was $14.3 trillion (12.6% of global GDP). Furthermore, the burden has fallen most heavily on the ten least peaceful countries, where the report found that, on average, violence has cost up to 37% of GDP (compared to 3% in the ten most peaceful countries).
To help mitigate these costs and support stabilisation, since 1994 Denmark’s MFA has sent approximately 160 civilian experts each year on PSR missions to hotspots and fragile states around the world.
However, finding the right expert for the job is no easy task. Since 2008 the MFA has contracted NIRAS with administrative management of the project. While the MFA has the political and operational responsibility of PSR, NIRAS serves to identify and contract a group of qualified experts who can be deployed on short notice to assist in a wide range of international peacekeeping and stabilisation efforts.
Supporting peace and security in Ukraine
For example, several PSR experts supported the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine which monitored and reported on the security situation and any breaches of international humanitarian law. The most prominent task cited by one expert was to establish lines of communication that would enhance dialogue and counter tensions among civil society, public authorities and ethnic and religious minorities.
Counter-piracy training in the Horn of Africa
The MFA has also sent experts to the Horn of Africa to contribute to the countries’ control over their maritime territory. The experts provided mission trainings to the coast guard, navy, civilian coastal police, prosecutors, judges and other actors to strengthen the maritime criminal justice system at every stage, from the investigation of serious maritime crimes (e.g. piracy, human trafficking, drug and weapons smuggling) to the investigation, detention and prosecution of suspects.
Almost 500 experts make up the PSR roster and attend missions coordinated by the EU, OSCE, and UN. When deployed, experts are considered representatives of the Danish Government, promoting peace, democracy and structural stability.