ICoCA is organising the first-ever Responsible Security Forum on December 6, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland. This inaugural annual event on private security aims to bring together security practitioners, experts, and researchers to assess the evolving security landscape and explore innovative solutions. The topics to be covered include humanitarian engagement with private military companies, the impact of Wagner on the future of security, transparency, and corruption, among others.

This event is open to everyone, and the programme and accomodation options are shared below.

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Venue: FER Genève, rue de Saint-Jean 98, Geneva, Switzerland






Breakfast panel – Inclusive security practices: lessons and insights from the TV industry (in partnership with The TV Industry Human Rights Forum)

The TV Industry Human Rights Forum has identified security practices as an important area of human rights risk for the TV industry that is currently under-addressed. All genres of TV rely on security and it should be central to preparation and planning for any project. However, too often security is an afterthought, a tick in a box for insurance purposes, or a budget line to be cut. Join us for this breakfast session that will consider the case of TV production, the role of diversity and how inclusive security practices can and should be embedded into everyday business operations.

09:00-09:30 Opening & Keynote Address





Securing the Just Transition: The Pivotal Role of Private Security (in partnership with OECD)

The path to a low-carbon economy will require massive investment in the extractive, commodities and infrastructure sectors, with many minerals sourced in fragile contexts. Private security providers are often caught in the middle between companies and the surrounding communities, in a race for resources that all too often ignites or exacerbates conflict. The private security industry, already a major employer in many countries and growing rapidly, is too often culpable for terrible working conditions and for undermining human rights as abused private security personnel become the abusers. This panel will consider how actors all along the value chain, from investors to the users of private security and the service providers themselves play critical roles in ensuring responsible security that contributes to peace, security and wellbeing, without which, a truly just transition will remain out of reach.

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break





Private Security, Corruption and the Case for Transparency and Regulation (in partnership with Transparency International)

In many countries the regulatory oversight of the private security sector is failing to keep pace with the rapidly growing and diversifying industry, leading to heightened global risks of fraud, corruption and violence. Many PSCs operate in countries with weak governance countries with weak governance often coupled with feeble defence sector institutions and a culture of secrecy around national security issues, all of which provide a fertile environment for corruption to thrive. Negative impacts can be multifaceted from exerting undue influence on military and security policy to trafficking arms or minerals… This panel will look at where the corruption risks lie in the operations of PSCs, and how these could be addressed through increased transparency and better regulation of the sector.

13:00-14:00 Lunch






Uncharted territory: Humanitarian engagement with PSCs

One under-explored facet of the rise of PSCs is their impact on humanitarian action and the delivery of humanitarian aid. This impact is threefold: first, PSCs may directly impact the humanitarian situation of populations in crisis zones: They control checkpoints and populated areas, they contribute to violence or handle people in vulnerable situations such as migrants and refugees. Second, humanitarian organisations are now widely contracting private security actors to secure their staff, assets and operations. This recent evolution may not only blur the perception of humanitarian organisations as neutral actors but also create risks for the people they assist, when poorly vetted or trained security contractors abuse their power. Finally in some contexts, humanitarian actors need to negotiate with PSCs for acceptance and access.

Engaging with PSCs is new territory for many aid workers: this panel will start to unpack this new area of humanitarian aid and negotiation.

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break






The Wagner Effect: What Next For Responsible Security? (in partnership with UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office)

Over the past few months the Wagner Group has grabbed all of the headlines, with operations in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa. The activities of the Wagner Group have generated urgent calls for a greater understanding of the evolving private military contracting (PMC) landscape, and the impact of malign private military contractors (PMCs) and non-responsible security contractors in fragile or unstable environments. This panel will assess the market drivers and funding models of PMCs, such as state capture or natural resource concessions, their modes of actions from armed violence to disinformation and consider what actions should the international community take to rein in malign actors, and generally strengthen oversight and accountability of PMCs before it is too late. It will also discuss how responsible private security companies need to step up if they are not to be tarred with the same brush as the Wagner Group.




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