Björn Holmberg

Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research
Coordinator of Swedepeace Foundation and  Founder Swedepeace Inc.

Björn Holmberg is engaged in several of the processes where Swedepeace is or has been active in the promotion of human security and peaceful conflict resolution. For example, (2009) leading the evaluation of the OAS mission (MAP/OEA) to support the peace process in Colombia, and in a similar capacity he made a gender sensitive Strategic Conflict Analysis of Afghanistan in support of the Swedish Development Cooperation Strategy (2011). He has been engaged with Swedepeace’s partners in a national owned, high level political dialogue on SSR in Zimbabwe (2009-2012). Björn Holmberg has, since 2009, provided guidance and helped create tools on SSR through ISSAT/DCAF in Geneva, klick here to see a video on political engagement. He has supported an aid effectiveness study in Afghanistan (2009) and he supported Sida in developing a strategy to increase the capacity of Swedes civil society organisations to act conflict sensitive (2012-2013). He has also provided expertise in the implementation of the Sudan 2005 peace accords by strengthening SSR processes with SPLA and the Government of Southern Sudan. In 2010, he lead the Swedepeace evaluation of the German peace service in Guatemala. Between 2011 and 2013, he was part of the Rotary Peace Centre’s Faculty in Bangkok, Thailand training international experts on conflict analysis. Since 2013 and until the end of 2017, Björn Holmberg is leading the Swiss Justice and Security Support Team in Honduras (DCAF/ISSAT & Swedepeace) providing assistance on JSSR and conflict sensitivity to civil society, Government, SDC and the international community.

Previous Experience

Before starting Swedepeace, Björn Holmberg,was Country Director for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in Guatemala and Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Guatemala (2006–2008). A central purpose of Swedish development cooperation in Guatemala is to support the implementation of the 1996 Peace Accords. In the fall of 2008, he also served as President of the donor’s Group for Coordination of Development Cooperation (GCC/G-13), which comprises the 14 main bilateral and multilateral donors to Guatemala. From September 2013 until August 2016, still working part time for Swedepeace, he was heading Lifos – Centre for Country of Origin Information and Country Analysis at the Swedish Migration Agency. The Centre consisted of 25 experts making reports on the human rights situation, in order to understand protection needs, in a large number of countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Previously at Sida, he served as Head of the Division for Peace and Security (2005-2006) and Advisor on Peace and Security (2001–2005). The Division produced a new overarching policy on peace and security, developed better routines and tools for conflict analysis and sensitivity, and trained many Swedish Embassy staff members and their partners in applying these tools and approaches to promote peace and security.

Björn Holmberg was Vice Chair of the Network on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation (CPDC) of the OECD-DAC (2005–2006) and has been a member or chair of various CPCD task forces and working groups dealing with matters such as evaluation, security system reform (SSR), and armed violence reduction (AVR) (2001–2008).

Before working at Sida, Holmberg served as Head of the UN Secretariat’s Regional Small Arms Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, stationed at UN-LiREC in Lima, Peru (1999–2001). The Programme addressed regional policy issues, the role of civil society, training customs and police to combat trafficking, and small arms destruction.

He has also been employed as a business intelligence analyst, assessing the political risks facing corporate foreign investments (1998–1999). Björn Holmberg was a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden, and was a Visiting Scholar on the causes of war at the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University, NJ, USA (1992–1998).

He holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserve at the Swedish Infantry’s Officer Academy in 1989. He was also trained as a UN Military Observer in Ninisalo, Finland (1997).

Areas of Expertise

Björn Holmberg has more than 20 years of field and HQ experience on issues related to peace and security from a theoretical and a “hands-on” perspective converting theory to practice and vice versa. He has deep-seated methodological and results oriented approach to planning, execution, and evaluation and has a long and multifaceted experience in management and organizational development. Furthermore, he has long experience from executing capacity building for different target groups and has excellent “know-how” of political dialogue related to conflict management and resolution.

Thematic areas of expertise related to peace and security: conflict analysis, conflict prevention and resolution, early warning, conflict sensitivity (“Do No Harm”), dialogue, reconciliation, justice and security system reform (JSSR or SSR), small arms and lights weapons (SALW), reduction of armed violence (AVR), disarmament, demobilization and re-integration (DDR).

Björn has lived/worked in Honduras, USA, Peru and Guatemala. In addition, he has done field missions to Zimbabwe, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Angola , Sudan, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Thailand, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentine, Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, Martinique (France).