Case studies provide excellent insight into the practical challenges of SSR initiatives and provide an opportunity to learn from those that have been successful, and not so successful. They help us to see the patterns of good practice, when to apply different approaches and what pitfalls to avoid. Please add your own case studies to help us build a rich repository of examples from real experience.
Public outreach and dialogue on a grassroots level have been high priorities throughout the development of the Kosovo Internal Security Sector Review (ISSR). The campaign included widely publicized press conferences and debates, and the dissemination of publications to raise awareness of security issues as well as of the actual ISSR process and the role the population could play. Public input was then collected through public opinion surveys, comment boxes and questionnaires.
A key component here was the innovative approach of a “Have Your Say” bus, which travelled throughout Kosovo in urban and rural zones gathering information on threats. This carefully planned and targeted approach resulted in confidence building among the general population and facilitated the sharing of fears and expectations with the project team. Contrary to what was expected, the main threats identified by the population related to employment and the economy, rather than ethnic tensions or external dangers. This finding was integrated into the Review, which today is still considered one of the key reference documents for security issues in Kosovo.
In Sierra Leone, a decision was made to link efforts to develop national security policy to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The national security sector review, which was designed to serve as the basis for national security policy, was therefore merged with a central strategic pillar of the PRSP on “promotion of good governance, security and peacebuilding”. The rationale for formally linking the two processes was based on national recognition that security is essential for economic development, and on the need to support connections between broader social and economic policies. It was also intended to align government priorities in a way that would streamline resources. This innovative approach faced several challenges; for example, concerns were voiced by some members of government about a “securitization” of the development agenda, particularly with regard to the high costs envisioned for the security package within the PRSP. Despite the challenges, Sierra Leone’s PRSP became the first national document to explicitly acknowledge linkages between security and economic development. In practice, it is also said to
have enhanced the coherence and coordination of SSR support on the part of international donors, by providing a clear framework with which they were able to align themselves.
Source: (Garrasi, Kuttner and Wam, 2009).
In Timor-Leste, the government’s intention was first to develop a national security policy, which would subsequently guide the development of national security legislation. However, following the 2006 security crisis, swift development of the legislation became a priority, so that the roles and responsibilities of the police and defence forces could be more clearly delineated. Legislation and policy thus advanced in parallel: the national security law would be led by the Office of the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Defence, while national security policy would continue to be developed under the auspices of the Office
of the President and the Secretary of State for Security. In order to ensure links between the two processes, each of the institutions would comment in parallel on the draft law and draft policy. In practice this approach proved challenging; there were limited national resources to lead both processes, and equally limited international resources to support the national effort. Finally, further delays in the policy-making process resulted in the national security law being adopted prior to the national security policy. As a result there was difficulty aligning policy with law, despite the fact that the law did not undergo the same broad consultative process as national security policy. After considerable national effort, law and policy were finally aligned, with a focus on supporting an integrated security sector.
In Liberia, it was decided that the Governance Commission (GC) would lead in the development of national security strategy. The GC, which had been created by the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement to promote good governance in the Liberian public sector, resolved to ensure a consultative approach to the development of the strategy. However, this approach was resisted by numerous representatives of government ministries, who feared that including civilians in discussions on national security would
amount to compromising that security.
The leadership provided by the GC was vital in overcoming this challenge. In particular, an effective approach was the South-South dialogue the GC supported, which brought together experts from other countries in the region to share their experiences with similar processes.
This approach proved extremely useful in alleviating fears of undertaking broad national public consultations. The consultation
process then took place across the country and involved traditional chiefs, women, civil society, local authorities, youth and local officials from the United Nations Mission in Liberia. The consultation identified local perceptions of national security threats, which included poverty, unemployment, crime, ethnic tensions and regional insecurity. These concerns were in turn reflected in the national security strategy and resulted in recognition of the need for a wider range of government ministries to support national security provision.
In the Central African Republic, the committee in charge of organizing the “National SSR Seminar” – the Comité Préparatoire
– was supported by UNDP. The Comité
was in charge of research and document preparation, including gathering lessons from the threat assessment and supporting the information and awareness-raising campaign via consultation meetings in Bangui and five provinces. The Comité
was also responsible for practical and logistical arrangements for the seminar. As the Comité
undertook this intensive work, two main challenges emerged. First, staff members were only partially detached from their ministries or civil society organizations. This resulted in a prioritization of their other duties rather than the short-term mission they had been asked to complete within the Comité
Second, a number of the members were very senior – often former ministers – and were therefore reluctant to undertake the large number of (even basic) tasks required by the Comité ’s mandate. UNDP and other international experts assisted the Government in overcoming these challenges: in highlighting the importance of the work of the Comité to high-level political actors, they garnered support for secondments of staff to the Comité .
UNDP also provided training and seconded secretarial staff to the Comité to increase the body’s administrative capacity. The provision of advice and sensitization on the need to carefully consider the membership of such committees paid off when the Secrétariat Technique Permanent (that replaced the Comité Préparatoire following the National SSR Seminar) was assigned full-time staff for its mandate, thus enabling it to fully support implementation of the security sector reform activities agreed at the Seminar.