Governing Board - Membership of ISSAT

» Overview

DCAF’s International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) supports the 16 bilateral donor countries and seven multilateral organisations that make up its Governing Board. ISSAT reinforces and improves the way in which they individually and collectively support security and justice development by providing assistance with assessments, evaluations, knowledge management and learning, training and capacity building, as well as facilitating greater coordination and shared approaches in order to:

» Enable better decision-making around Security and Justice programming through scoping-studies, assessments, donor mappings, M&E, lessons identification, risk assessments and mitigation strategies;

» Improve coordination through joint donor and multilateral engagements, as well as, whole-of government or institution approaches;

» Enhance strategic approaches through developing theories of change, identifying donor niche areas, in addition to ensuring coherence and better incorporation of SSG/R good practices;

» Build the business case for supporting security & justice through making clear, evidence-based linkages to Governing Board Member policy priorities, and the use of a set of key security and justice indicators;

» Enhance capacities to deploy security & justice advisors through high-quality training and strengthening donor and multilateral systems for deployment;

» Provide a toolbox of approaches and examples of how to support SSG/R through providing examples on what has worked, as well as sharing of robust methodologies and providing a helpdesk capacity.

We do this through:

» Advisory Field Support 

» Professional development and training

» Knowledge Services

» Advocacy and Outreach

» Convening Governing Board members around key issues

» Governing Board Membership

Full membership of the Governing Board is reserved for those countries that actively engage with and provide support to ISSAT. Being a “Governing Board Member” of ISSAT does not imply any legal obligations beyond any stipulated in contractual arrangements.

Any multilateral and any member of DCAF’s Foundation Council involved in supporting security and justice development processes are eligible to join ISSAT’s Governing Board, which provides them with access to shared information, tools and opportunities for joint engagements. Requests to join the ISSAT Governing Board should be made directly to ISSAT.

Membership of the Governing Board is divided into three categories:

  • Core Members: contribute to ISSAT’s pooled funding and inform ISSAT’s priorities.
  • Other Bilateral Members: provide project funding (subject to available capacity) and access direct ISSAT support.
  • Multilateral Members: supported by ISSAT through pooled funding mechanism, on a cost-sharing basis.

The Benefits of Being a Governing Board Member of ISSAT

Since 2008, ISSAT has been a viable partner in assisting its Governing Members by providing assessments, evaluations, knowledge management and learning, training and capacity building, as well as facilitating greater coordination and shared approaches. ISSAT plays a cohesive role in coordinating responses in relation to SSG/R.

ISSAT provides a unique forum where bilateral and multilateral donors meet to discuss and coordinate on SSR. ISSAT’s role of supporting both headquarters and field staff on SSR-specific technical and political challenges has been regarded as increasingly important.

ISSAT has provided support to its members with assessments, evaluations, knowledge management, learning, and capacity-building programmes. We are frequently deployed throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southeast Europe. We also provide support to Headquarters.

» How We Work 

All ISSAT support is driven by our Governing Board and its members’ needs and priorities. 

Requests for support are made directly to ISSAT or through individual Governing Board Member Representatives. Once a request is received, due notice is given to all Members to provide them with an opportunity to join or support a given mission or programme. Where possible, we bring together multiple Governing Board Members for joint projects, to enhance coordination of international support and increase value for money.

Support to Governing Board Members is delivered by a small team of core staff with diverse experience complemented by a roster of key experts, thus allowing us to cover a wide range of thematic and geographical areas. We also draw on expertise from other DCAF departments.

ISSAT does not have a specific list of priority countries, but will consider support to any security and justice programme in a country from the DAC List of ODA eligible countries, as long as the following criteria are taken into account:

  • The activity should be proposed by an ISSAT Member, a multilateral organisation or a country that is undertaking SSR; 
  • The scope of the request lies within the core service areas of ISSAT, as defined in this Strategy; 
  • The activity does not place ISSAT in a politically compromised position that could undermine its impartiality;
  • The activity aims to contribute to a nationally-driven SSR process;
  • Sufficient capacity is available within ISSAT’s core team and from its expert roster; financial resources must be available as well.

Priority support will be given to full Governing Board Members and multilateral organisations. Further priority will be given to Members proposing joint activities, and/or activities that provide ISSAT an opportunity to engage with one or more Members on an on-going basis throughout the entire programme cycle.

» Funding 

ISSAT is funded through two mechanisms: Pooled Funding and Project Funding. Some members use both mechanisms to support ISSAT’s work.

By contributing to Pooled funding, Governing Board Members gain rapid access to ISSAT key services, flexible drawdown capacity, development of good practice and learning, access to a help desk, and help enable support to multilateral Members.

Additional assistance is also provided through project funding.

All funding given to ISSAT is ODA eligible. DCAF is named an Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible organisation under Annex 2 of the ODA Directives.

ISSAT’s Pooled Funding

Pooled funding is divided equally between:

Bilateral drawdown

Up to 33% of the pooled funding can be used by the bilateral Governing Board Members, allocated to any of ISSAT’s service lines, subject to mandate and capacity constraints. Once this 33% of the total pooled funding are spent, Governing Board Members will be asked to top-up pooled funding, should they wish to receive additional support.

Multilateral use

The other 33% of pooled funding is used to fund requests by Multilateral Governing Board Members on a cost-sharing basis. This covers ISSAT advisors’ costs, while the multilateral member cover costs associated to the deployment of ISSAT advisors.

Knowledge, Development, Advocacy & Outreach

The remainder of pooled funding contributes to knowledge development, lesson identification, methodology development, guidance and convening activities. Coordination, and collaboration through joint mandates on mapping studies, assessments and long-term sustainable practices is where ISSAT brings particular insight due to its close-knit Governing Board. ISSAT’s knowledge development is aimed predominantly at the practitioner level, but also at the policy-to-practitioner guidance divide.

ISSAT Top-up Project Funding

The Governing Board has agreed that only in rare circumstances should ISSAT accept project funding, as it increases the administrative burden to manage such funds. In exceptional cases, where bilateral members are unable to provide pooled funding for various reasons, it can be accepted.

Project funding can be provided directly towards a specific project. Under such circumstances, all costs need to be considered, including project staff costs and costs associated with any reporting requirements additional to ISSAT’s standard procedures.

Project Funding also allows for non-members to draw on ISSAT expertise, providing capacity is available. Our primary focus thus always remains with our Governing Board Members.

Governing Board Chair

Ambassador Thomas Göbel is the German Ambassador Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. Since 2021, Ambassador Göbel is the Chair of the Governing Board of ISSAT. He is in office for a two-year term.

Ambassador Göbel has a long career within the German Foreign Office. Most recently, he was Head of Division for Chemical & Biological Weapons Issues, G7-Global Partnership at the German Federal Foreign Office (2019-2021). Prior to that, he was Head of the Press Department at the German Embassy in Paris, France (2016-2019). Amb. Göbel has been Head of Division for Conventional Disarmament - Small and Light Weapons, Landmines, Cluster Munition (2013-2016) and Head of Division for Nuclear and chemical Disarmament Cooperation, G8 Global Partnership Programme (2011-2013) at the German Federal Foreign office. He also served in the political and cultural departments at the German embassies in Russia and Italy. He has also held roles as Deputy Head of Division and Deputy Head of Mission within the German Federal Foreign Office.

Ambassador Göbel holds a degree in German language and literature, theology, and history from the Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany. 

Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations in New York, Michal Mlynár, served as Chair of the Governing Board of ISSAT 2011-2021.

Governing Board Members