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Jean-Bernard Veron
Head of the French Development Agency’s Crisis Prevention and Conflict Resolution Unit

Jean-Bernard Veron
Head of the French Development Agency’s Crisis Prevention and Conflict Resolution Unit

This year, Groupe URD is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your dealings with Groupe URD?

I work for the French Development Agency, where I have had several jobs, and am currently Head of the Crisis Prevention and Conflict Resolution Unit. I work, amongst other things, on the links between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), which means that I am often in contact with Groupe URD.

How would you describe Groupe URD briefly/in a word?

I believe that in the area of LRRD, Groupe URD is currently the only French think tank that is able to come up with the goods.

How do you percieve Groupe URD ? How do you perceive its role, its positioning and its specific characteristics?

Groupe URD has a great deal of experienc in the fields of evaluation and training. It is also, as I have already said, well positioned on LRRD. It was the topic of LRRD which really gave it its breakthrough and allowed it to establish itself (both during security crises and in natural disaster contexts such as after the 2004 Tsunami in Asia or the earthquake in Haiti in 2010).

Do you have an anecdote that you would like to share?

I have carried out several field missions with François Grünewald. I remember a mission in Cambodia, where we wanted to consult our emails in an Internet café. We were both using the same computer, and we ended up blocking it. We got a severe telling off from the owner and we left with our tails between our legs, then went to drink a beer in a nearby café to console ourselves.

How do you see Groupe URD’s future ? What are your wishes for the future?

My first wish is that Groupe URD continues to exist and continues to position itself on the issue in which it has established expertise, LRRD.
Maybe François could try to produce a double of himself so that Groupe URD would not be as dependent on him and he would not have to travel all over the world all the time.

To conclude, I am full of admiration for Groupe URD and I have a lot of affection for François.