Guiding Principles

Political Neutrality and Impartiality

The Foundation provides advice to and builds legal capacities in its partner countries as a politically neutral and unbiased actor. This is paramount for maintaining trusting partnerships with stakeholders and beneficiaries and ultimately in providing sustainable and long-lasting support. With this in mind, the Foundation ensures an approach inclusive of all peaceful and non-radical actors.


The Foundation is an independent legal entity and its sole stakeholder is the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. Together with local partners, the Foundation decides on the activities undertaken and the way in which they are developed and implemented without any third-party influence.

Local Ownership

Local ownership is fundamental to the Foundation's work. One of the key aims is to establish dialogue amongst local stakeholders and to build trust. This in turn means the exact format of a project, its objectives and activities are determined by local stakeholders and are developed in cooperation with the Foundation. Most importantly it is entirely up to the partners on how they apply and implement the outcomes; the Foundation cannot, and will not, influence this. The role of the Foundation is to give advice, which is being based upon research on comparative public law and international law.

Academic Excellence

The Foundation's work is first and foremost based on applied research. To ensure consistency, the Foundation observes the highest academic standards and closely cooperates with research organisations, such as those from the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and an established network within other academic institutions. Highly qualified in-house experts develop and propose tailored solutions for complex problems in project countries. In addition to the country projects, the Foundation's peer-reviewed publications and research projects reiterate the fact that academic quality is not compromised, and these serve as a reference tool for all projects on a daily basis.