Geneva Forum

A Joint Initiative of:
Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
Centre on Conflict, Development and Peace building of the Graduate Institute


Geneva Forum on Facebook

Forwarding progress towards a more secure world

The Geneva Forum is the brainchild of the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), and the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (CCDP). Its overarching objective is to progress towards a more secure world by facilitating dialogue and research dissemination on disarmament, arms control, peace and security.

The Geneva Forum is a unique partnership between a non-governmental organization, an autonomous institute within the United Nations an research organization, each of which is engaged in its own right in research, policy and advocacy on issues related to multilateral security and disarmament. These organizations pool their extensive knowledge, skills and networks for their common work within the framework of the Geneva Forum, working together in the pursuit of four core objectives:

  1. Sensitizing disarmament practitioners to new and emerging security issues and at building agendas around them;
  2. Facilitating implementation of disarmament and arms control agreements;
  3. Contributing to disarmament and arms control negotiations;
  4. Enhancing dialogue and communication between the disarmament, development, human rights, humanitarian, and public health communities.

In carrying out this work, the Geneva Forum interacts with government missions to the United Nations in Geneva, UN bodies, international and regional organizations, NGOs and think tanks. The Geneva Forum also strives to build bridges across the varied communities present and active in Geneva, most notably those engaged in areas relating to disarmament and arms control, human rights and international humanitarian law, and development.


Upcoming events:

Options for the 2nd Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms  18 March 2015, Palais des Nations (Room IX)

The Geneva Forum and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs are pleased to invite you to an informal consultation on Options for the 2nd Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms, which will take place at the Palais des Nations (Room IX) on 18 March 2015, from 13:15-15:00.

The meeting will provide the opportunity for an informal exchange of views on the upcoming MGE, and will include remarks by Ambassador Vlad Lupan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations (New York) and Chair-designate of the 2nd MGE. A copy of the agenda is available here.

Recent events :

Cours Pilote de formation professionnelle: Développer les capacités à une mise en oeuvre efficace du Traité sur le Commerce des Armes  - 8-12 décembre 2014

Le « Réseau sur le TCA » (lancé par le GCSP et le Geneva Forum) a organisé le deuxième cours pilote de formation professionnelle sur la mise en œuvre du Traité sur le Commerce des Armes (TCA) à Genève du 8 au 12 décembre 2014. Cette formation a été rendue possible grâce à un financement de la France et de l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Elle était ouverte aux représentants des Etats francophones ayant signé le TCA. Y ont pris part 17 personnels civils et militaires provenant de 13 pays : 3 d’Europe (Belgique, Luxembourg, Moldavie) et 10 d’Afrique (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Sénégal, Togo). Le cours a permis de passer en revue les principales obligations découlant du Traité, de se préparer à son entrée en vigueur et évaluer les implications de sa mise en œuvre pour les Etats Parties, en particulier s’agissant de l’instauration de listes de contrôle pour les exportations et les importations d’armes classiques ainsi que de la réglementation du transit, du transbordement et du courtage. L’accent a aussi été mis sur la coopération internationale en vue de prévenir et de lutter contre le détournement du commerce licite des armes vers les marchés illicites. Le cours était co-dirigé par Marc Finaud (GCSP) et Silvia Cattaneo (Geneva Forum). Y ont contribué des experts gouvernementaux et non gouvernementaux de Belgique, du Congo, d’Espagne, de France, et de Suisse ainsi que de l’Union européenne et des Nations unies.

The ATT Network (launched by GCSP and the Geneva Forum) organized the second pilot professional training course on the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Geneva from 8 to 12 December 2014. This course was made possible thanks to funding from France and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. It was opened to officials from French-speaking countries which had signed the ATT. It was attended by 17 civilian and military participants from 13 countries: 3 European ones (Belgium, Luxembourg, and Moldova) and  10 African ones (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo). It offered an opportunity to review the obligations contained in the ATT, prepare for its entry into force, and assess the implications of its implementation for States Parties, in particular in establishing control lists for exports and imports or conventional arms as well as regulation of transit, transshipment, and brokering. Some focus was also made on international cooperation in preventing or fighting the diversion of licit arms trade to illicit markets. The course was co-directed by Marc Finaud (GCSP) and Silvia Cattaneo (Geneva Forum). It heard contributions by governmental and non-governmental experts from Belgium, Congo, France, Spain, and Switzerland as well as from the European Union and the United Nations. 


Where next for the Biological Weapons Convention?  - 3 December 2014

As the third intersessional work programme of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) enters its final year, it is time to start reflecting on whether this approach to managing and implementing the Convention has run its course or whether it is still the most effective means of meeting the interests and aspirations of States Parties. At the same time, the scope and boundaries of the BWC are being blurred from at least two directions: the interlinkages with other biological risks (such as naturally-occurring disease and accidental release) and the convergence of chemistry and biology. What is the role of the BWC in a world confronted with Ebola outbreaks, gain-of-function research, a constantly evolving terrorist threat, and continuing rapid advances in synthetic biology and biological production techniques? How can BWC States Parties best approach the challenges they face, including the recurring question of as suring compliance with the treaty? The Eighth Review Conference in 2016 will have to answer these questions; this side-event aims to begin a conceptual exploration of them.<

To register or for more information, please contact Ms Agnèle Kursner at

First Training Course on Implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty   6-10 October 2014

From 6 to 10 October 2014, the ATT Network, a joint initiative of the GCSP and the Geneva Forum, organised a pilot professional training course for government officials from countries that had signed or ratified the Arms Trade Treaty(ATT). This course, held at the GCSP premises, was made possible by funding from the Swiss Confederation and Australian Aid.

Some 23 officials (and one private participant) from 18 countries participated in the course, representing several continents: Africa (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania); Europe (Greece, Latvia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey); Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Jamaica, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago); and the Middle East (United Arab Emirates).

Through presentations and exercises run by governmental and non-governmental experts, the participants focused on the main elements of the ATT: history and goals, scope, transfer controls, prohibited transfers, risk assessment, gender-based violence, import controls, transit, trans-shipment and brokering, international assistance and cooperation, fight against diversion, information exchange, record-keeping, and. reporting.

They heard about the experience of other regimes and organizations such as the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the European Union, and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

With a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, they examined the importance of international humanitarian law and human rights law in assessing transfers of conventional arms. With experts from non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International,Reaching Critical Will,and Conflict Armament Research, they learned about the useful role that civil society can play in contributing to responsible arms transfers and fighting illicit arms trafficking.

A new edition of this course for French-speaking countries will be held at the GCSP from 8 to 12 December 2014.


Options for an ATT Secretariat: A Preliminary Exchange of Views -  27 August 2014

The ATT Network hosted an informal discussion designed to contribute to preparations for the first Conference of the States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty, which will have to take important decisions on the role, size, composition, and financing of the Treaty Secretariat, to be established according to art. 18. 

The discussion was opened by a presentation of a background paper authored by Dr. David Atwood (Independent Consultant), which outlines the role of the future ATT Secretariat, its possible structure, institutional set-up, funding and other governance issues including accountability to the States Parties. The paper specifically examines the extent to which existing Implementation Support Units of disarmament treaties based in Geneva could serve as useful precedents and sources of lessons learned for the future ATT Secretariat. The paper also considers lessons learned from other treaty-based bodies that may be relevant for the future ATT Secretariat, outside the field of disarmament and arms control. You can find more information on this event and a copy of Dr. Atwood's paper here.

The Geneva Forum 2 Chemin Eugène-Rigot, P.O. Box 136, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland,   P: +41 22 908 5932   Email: