Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development

Tomas Sevén

Patrol hub leader in Ukraine

Tomas Sevén is on secondment from the FBA to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. He is patrol hub leader at the Sievierodonetsk forward patrol base in the eastern part of the country.

The OSCE SMM was deployed in 2014 following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government. The mission aims to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security. The head office is in Kyiv but the OSCE SMM is deployed throughout Ukraine, and has a large presence through field offices in various locations, both in government-controlled areas and in areas not controlled by the government.

Tomas, how would you describe a regular day at work?

 – I manage 125 employees at my office. Most of them are international monitors from different OSCE participating states. They work in teams who patrol along the contact line where fighting is the most intense. Their task is to report on ceasefire violations and the humanitarian situation, and to facilitate dialogue. I gather the daily reports, which are sent by our monitoring team to the SMM head office in Kyiv. Sometimes I go on patrol as well, and I stay in close contact with patrol hub leaders in other OSCE SMM field offices. My office is in the government-controlled part of eastern Ukraine, and I am in touch daily with the SMM staff working in areas not controlled by the government.

How would you describe the situation?

– We monitor the compliance of the sides with the Minsk agreement and report any violation observed on a daily basis. We also observe heavy weapons in the security zone, where they should not be according to the Minsk agreement. The ongoing fighting also affects the civilian population living and working close to the contact line. Though we are not a humanitarian mission, our observations help to identify places where people are most in need, and to refer this information to the relevant organizations.

What challenges do you face in your role as patrol hub leader?

– It is a huge challenge not to expose my co-workers to security risks. The SMM philosophy is that our monitor’s security is our highest priority. I trust my staff, they are all incredibly qualified. When the OSCE mission in Ukraine was deployed there was a heated debate, but now the local population expresses gratitude to us for being here. I believe that presence of the OSCE SMM monitors reduces violence. We actually make a difference – that is a nice feeling to have!

Photo: Ivan Bandura, Evgeniy Maloletka

Learn more about our impact in the field

Akiko Ahl

Stabilization and coordination officer in Somalia

Read more about Akiko

Björn Tedeman

Election observer

Read more about Björn

Sofia Zitouni

Political adviser in Palestine

Read more about Sofia

Gabriel von Horn

Head of operations in Georgia

Read more about Gabriel

Karolina Riedel

Statistician in election observation missions

Read more about Karolina

Mimmi Milligan

Reintegration adviser in Geneva

Read more about Mimmi


Strengthening Africa’s regional forces for peace

Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa are displaced due to war. FBA is now establishing long-term collaborative relationships with various regional organizations in order to contribute to a peaceful development on the continent. At the forefront is the cooperation with ECOWAS, a community of 15 countries in West Africa, to which FBA offers training for key personnel.

2017-11-10 13:23

Read our publications

Image description

Responsive and Responsible: Politically Smart Rule of Law Reform in Conflict and Fragile States

There is a long-standing recognition that rule of law is an essential element in achieving sustainable peace and development. In recent years it has gained even more prominence in policy discourse and as a core ingredient of broad-based international commitments, with the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular Goal 16 as a clear indicator for where we are headed. Yet, what has been lacking in rule of law reform, or at least it has been only marginally represented, is a political approach to address the underlying causes of problems and obstacles to rule of law.

Richard Sannerholm, Shane Quinn and Andrea Rabus



  • Posted by Sabrina Karim

    Liberia after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    On November 8 2005, Liberians elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be the first female president of an African country. She made history that day and she oversaw fourteen years of peace in a country that had experienced two decades of devastating armed conflict. In 2011, she was re-elected and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her fame and legacy has brought widespread international attention onto Liberia.

    On October 10, 2017, Liberians will go to the polls for the ... Read entire post »

    2017-10-06 15:28
  • Posted by Maja Jakobsson

    Strengthening forces for peace through experience-sharing

    The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated as of late, with the highest number of conflict-related civilian casualties in 2016 since 2009. The efforts for a formal and sustainable peace process are insufficient and face numerous obstacles. Violent battles between government and Taliban forces have resulted in new districts falling under Taliban power. Attacks by other groups, loyal to the Islamic State, are increasing in numbers.

    Despite this, there are still strong forces for peace in Afghanistan. ... Read entire post »

    2017-09-21 16:18
  • Posted by Ludmila Ceban

    Technical problems, political fixes: assessing rule of law in local governance in Ukraine

    I take public sector reform challenges in the post-Soviet space quite personally, with many first-hand Kafkaesque experiences from growing up in the ‘east’. So when the opportunity came about to work for the FBA on improving service delivery from a rights-based perspective in Ukraine, I struggled to think of alternatives to the complicated procedures people often have to go through when dealing with public authorities. It made me wonder whether the system can ever truly change.

    One ... Read entire post »

    2017-09-12 12:48

Gabriela Elroy

Gabriela is expert on women, peace and security

More about our experts

Upcoming courses