Cornelis Kees Steenken

Kees Steenken is an independent DDR consultant. Dutch by birth, Canadian by choice but international at heart.

He joined the Canadian Navy in 1975 and graduated from the Royal Military College in 1980 and served in numerous staff, command, exchange, training and operational positions onboard ship and ashore. In 1991 he went as a UN peacekeeper to El Salvador which changed his life’s focus from the Navy to peacekeeping and DDR.

Seconded to the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC) in 1997 he co-created the first formal DDR course which was eventually taught around the world. When he retired from the Navy he continued as Director of DDR Programmes at the PPC, further developing DDR and co-authoring the DDR Handbook – A Field and Classroom Guide and initiated the Integrated DDR Training Group which brought together like minded DDR training Centres to help advance and standardize global DDR Training.

Kees was selected to be the Senior Advisor DDR at the Swedish National Defence College from 2004 to 2008, where his duties included DDR Training and DDR-related advice to Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He helped initiate and worked with the Stockholm Initiative on DDR (SIDDR) which looked at the issues of DDR and peace negotiations, DDR financing and improving reintegration. He was an integral part of the development of the UN Integrated DDR Standards, the first significant multi-agency UN DDR guidance document which will helps standardize terminology, policy and procedures for DDR throughout the UN.

From 2008-12, Kees was the first Coordinator of the UN Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR where he helped to coordinate 17 UN agencies working with the IDDRS and DDR at both the policy and field levels. Together they collected field lessons, develop knowledge management, training and advance DDR policy, training and knowledge from around the world. Together with UNITAR he helped create the first online training program which continues to expand.

As a consultant Kees continues to work in/on most conflict countries with a DDR element. His work has taken him to global hotspots such as Libya, Lake Chad basin, Mali, Philippines, DRC, Burundi, Colombia and Yemen just to mention a few, while working for a host of countries, different UN Agencies as well as members of the IDDRTG and other training institutes.

Fluent in English, Spanish and French, Kees strongly believes in cooperation and coordination between all DDR actors.

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