Case Studies

Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), security system reform (SSR) and small arms control in Liberia


In 2003, following the end of the war in Liberia, a comprehensive process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants was begun. DDR was followed by limited SSR in 2004 and small arms and light weapons (SALW) control in 2005.

Entry point

DDR, small arms control and SSR are related if distinct categories of intervention in post-conflict contexts. In Liberia DDR provided a platform for intervention in the immediate post-confl ict environment, and small arms control and SSR were integrated at a later stage. Baseline assessments and studies undertaken to shape DDR — including a review to determine appropriate levels of security services for meeting national needs and the availability of small arms — proved crucial for the small arms and
SSR programmes that followed.

Lessons learned

DDR, SSR and SALW control should be integrated — The integration of DDR, SSR and SALW control initiatives prior to and during the post-conflict recovery process increases the sustainability of peacebuilding.

Poor performance in one component of DDR can undermine SSR and SALW control — unrealistic expectations in disarmament initiatives led to riots in Monrovia after ex-combatants received mixed messages concerning cash payments for weapons surrender. Moreover, weak entry criteria and a shortage of qualified personnel staffing the screening process contributed to the admission of too many ex-combatants, leading to funding shortfalls.

Regional approaches to DDR, SSR and SALW control are essential to increasing programme performance — During the disarmament phase only 27 000 weapons were collected. This was partly attributed to weapons collection programmes in Cote d’Ivoire. Perceived higher compensation for weapons in that country led to their being trafficked there from Liberia. Regional approaches could increase the effectiveness of disarmament by avoiding false economies and falsely raised expectations.


It is too early to assess the overall impact of DDR and related SSR activities in Liberia. However, DDR contributed to a reduction in violence and increased stability for the 2006 elections and subsequent SSR. By early 2006, recruitment and training of the new armed forces started with plans to create a 2 000-strong army. Future challenges include ensuring parliamentary oversight and civilian control over all security forces; developing a comprehensive and inclusive national security policy; and securing
stable donor support.

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Gender and Security Sector Reform: Examples from the Ground

Selected Resources

Training Resource Package: Guide to Integrating Gender in SSR Training- DCAF

Video: Gender in SSR-Stephen Jackson, Chief of Staff at the UN Office in Burundi

The Examples from the Ground are concrete illustrations of ways in which a gender perspective has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. They range from measures to counter human trafficking in Kosovo, to women’s organisations’ involvement with security institutions in Nepal, to female parliamentarians’ contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda. These examples can help policymakers, trainers and educators better understand and demonstrate the linkages between gender and SSR.

The examples are organised around the following nine themes, for which a short introduction is provided:

• Police Reform and Gender
• Defence Reform and Gender
• Justice Reform and Gender
• Penal Reform and Gender
• Border Management and Gender
• Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• National Security Policy-Making and Gender
• Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• SSR Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender

For downloading individual examples and case studies in Integrating Gender into SSR Training on Kosovo, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Hungary, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Central African Republic, Indonesia, Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, the Russian Federation, Tajikstan, Rwand, Brazil, Israel, Jamaica, Nepal, the United States, and the regions of West Africa and the Pacific, kindly follow the link. 

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Liberia: Qualified successes in recruitment eroded by lack of sustainability


Following Charles Taylor’s exile in 2003, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) at Accra put an end to the large-scale, bloody 14-year civil conflict. The UN launched its largest peacekeeping operation at the time—UNMIL—responsible for providing general security as well as restructuring the civilian elements of the security sector as part of the SSR process mandated in the Accra Accords.

Given its historic ties to the Liberian state, the US took the lead in reforming the defence sector, thus sharing responsibilities with the UN for the SSR process. Given the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time, along with USAID’s particular restrictions (it is prohibited from defence development), the Department of Defence and the Department of State were reluctant to intervene directly and decided to outsource its part of SSR to private military companies. The resulting Defence Sector Reform (DSR) is seen as a qualified success of SSR.

Entry points

The mission encompassed two aspects: a logistical, infrastructure-related objective, along with a more substantial project related to operational (rebuild the Armed Forces of Liberia, AFL) and institutional (create a new Ministry of Defence) levels of SSR, which formed the bulk of the DSR.[1] Its relatively limited goals of transforming the military sub-sector were in complement with UNMIL and other actors for the overarching reform of the Liberian security sector as a whole. The different phases of the mission involved the demobilisation of the old AFL, communicating and sensitizing on the new AFL, managing the recruitment and vetting processes and finally developing the Ministry of Defence.

The whole approach was based on a particular understanding of Liberia’s security, which located the main threats in internal dangers arising from failures of development, such as crime, insurrection, or poverty, rather than in interstate conventional military threats. Adopting the human security paradigm led to envisioning the creation of a limited army of around 2,000 soldiers as the core objective of the project. The character of this envisioned army, notably the integration of civic and literacy classes, its ethnic balance, and the inclusion of women also reflected this human security understanding.


The DSR resulted in the complete demobilisation of the old AFL, consisting of 13,500 members, at a cost of USD 15 Million. Part of the success of the demobilisation lied in treating the members of the army as soldiers rather than criminals, and in “retiring” them with some state recognition. This diminished grounds for grievance, while asserting the state’s presence and prerogatives.

The subsequent creation of the new AFL began with a country-wide communication campaign. The combination of sensitisation on the non-threatening and inclusive nature of the new army, aimed at the general population, and necessary given the recent history of abuse and terror in the country, with a message for recruitment purposes posed some problems and diminished the efficacy of both. The following step of recruitment involved considerable preparation to be able to reach beyond Monrovia itself. The final result was a minimally literate army which, although skewed towards the capital, still included members from all regional and ethnic backgrounds in considerable proportions.

Preventing the enlistment of individuals involved in war crimes and grave abuses of human rights in the new army was ensured via a careful vetting process. To be able to confront the lack of reliable information on individuals, typical in a post-conflict country, the process combined three complementary methods (background checks, records checks, and public vetting). It was conducted by a panel independent of the implementing partner, composed of two Liberians as well as a US Embassy official. All in all, the AFL went from being a security consumer and one of the causes of the civil war to being a security provider. It is now seen as a representative small army that accommodates women, and is capable of successfully integrating in peacekeeping missions (Mali 2013).

Lessons Identified

1. SSR should take into account the conditions that each country faces. Importing ready-made models is not an adequate approach; rather, the security sector should reflect the needs of the country. In Liberia, much was to be rebuilt “from scratch” following the 14-year civil war, and the greater freedom in devising and implementing DSR was appropriately used. Consideration of the specific threats facing the country and of its capacity to pay salaries – an essential planning constraint given the danger posed by unpaid, disgruntled soldiers - thus led to the development of a limited national army. 

2. A crucial aspect in building security forces lies in an adequate admissions process. Appropriately vetting the candidates to the AFL was essential to manage spoilers and check backgrounds thoroughly. Given the sensitivities involved in rebuilding an armed force in a post-conflict country, communication towards the population on the processes in place and inclusiveness in planning and engaging are important and need to be backed by great care on the selection process. Successfully vetting the applicants is essential, lest the entire DSR or SSR program is undermined. More generally, “training and equipping”, relatively straightforward provided the financing follows, is alone not sufficient for successful SSR, and other aspects such as local inclusion are essential.

3. The different objectives pursued in SSR at times contradict each other, and prioritising and sequencing among the different objectives are in such cases essential. For example, turning over the vetting records, valuable information on individuals in a country characterised by a lack of reliable archives or documents, can advance transitional justice. Yet it can also entail reprisal against witnesses, and hinder the completion of the new AFL. In the case of Liberia, security was prioritised as a precondition to development, and only later were the records handed over to the government for justice purposes and to highlight that the new AFL was untainted. Similarly, rates of literacy diverged across ethnic groups. The requirement of literacy was thus lowered for some of them in order to favour ethnic inclusiveness, while a literacy program was included into the training in order to mitigate the challenge.

4. The original successes of training and recruitment were not sustainable over the long-term, especially with the departure of the outsourced privates military company. See Steffen, and Welken, for further insight.

Selected Resources

[1] Pacific Architects & Engineers (PA&E) was the private military company responsible for former objective, and DynCorp for the latter.

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Gender Mainstreaming Case Example of ISSAT’s mid-term evaluation of Swedish Police Project in Liberia

In 2018, the Swedish National Police (SNP) requested ISSAT to conduct a mid-term evaluation for its Police Cooperation project in Liberia. The project was implemented by the SNP between 2016 and 2019. The purpose of the project was to achieve improved quality of crime investigations including on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), basic crime investigation, basic crime scene investigation and cooperation between the Liberian National Police (LNP) and the Prosecution Service in three police station areas.

The components of the project focused on addressing important challenges and needs as formulated by the LNP and prosecutors such as:

  • Training in basic crime investigations, basic crime scene investigations and investigations of SGBV crimes.
  • Guidelines to optimise the quality control of any crime investigation case forwarded to the Prosecution Service.
  • Basic forensic equipment.
  • Improved premises and facilities for one stop centres and comfort rooms for SGBV victims.  
  • Improved cooperation between police and prosecutors.
  • Public awareness raising.

ISSAT’s evaluation was one exercise in a series of engagements with the Swedish National Police. It built on previous lessons learned studies on police reform in Liberia and national policy documents. The evaluation included a 7-day mission to Liberia and visits to local police zones for direct observations at police station level. The mission also included semi-structured interviews with beneficiaries as well as SNP normally based in Stockholm.


Main Takeaways

The evaluation was carried out based on OECD-DAC criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability) which is aligned with ISSAT’s methodological approach for evaluations. Guided by the terms of reference, ISSAT closely liaised with the project’s gender expert to understand and better integrate in the evaluation’s approach the main components of effective police investigations into sexual based crime and victim protection.


LESSON 1: Gender equality approaches need to be an explicit part of the evaluation methodology

Throughout the data gathering phase, ISSAT ensured consistent inquiry into the project’s gender sensitive approaches and strategies. Under each of the evaluation criteria, ISSAT looked at gender relevant issues and dimensions. The results of ISSAT’s evaluation found that SNP systematically promoted gender equality, and allocated resources for combatting sexual and gender-based violence crimes. This reflected Swedish commitment to this gender equality and combatting SGBV, through project strategies that promoted awareness-raising among local counterparts.


LESSON 2: Gender equality subject-matter expertise is essential for articulating project impact

The Swedish National Police included a gender expert as part of the project’s team. The gender expert on SGBV was not based in Liberia but deployed up to four times a year. Having a gender expert as part of the project further strengthened the quality of the project’s deliverables, as well as the communications capability for the project to create traction and ownership of its priorities amongst stakeholders. It increased focus on SGBV reporting, achievements and outcomes for Swedish National Police, as well as enabled greater synergies between the different work streams. 


LESSON 3: Build on what works at the local context

ISSAT’s evaluation demonstrated that the Swedish support project achieved positive results from its capacity building engagements on SGBV because it built on existing training material already used by the Liberian National Police and the UN Mission in Liberia. This method ensured that the project’s contribution was consistent with current skills and techniques used by LNP. The added value of the SNP was therefore to bring in practical implementation techniques addressing victims of SGBV. This made the trainings and practical elements relevant and grounded in a Liberian context rather than in a Swedish model, contributing directly to the success of the project.


LESSON 4: Comfort rooms are an effective protection measure if used appropriately

Another key output of the Swedish support project was the usage of comfort rooms where victims can report SGBV crimes. Comfort rooms require minimal maintenance costs if used in a consistent manner. ISSAT’s evaluation showed that it is important to establish guidelines and objectives for their usage to prevent improper, or unintended usage of the dedicated facilities. Moreover, comfort rooms need to be included in national regulations, operational documents and strategies in order to enable continuous monitoring and review of their usage by SGBV victims.


LESSON 5: Donor coordination on cross-cutting issues is crucial

ISSAT’s evaluation demonstrated that engagement in coordination activities ensures critical information gathering on primary needs when it comes to SGBV crime investigations and forensic evidence gathering. Active and close collaboration between donors and national stakeholders in the form of task forces or coordination groups strengthens the effectiveness and impact of donor efforts and programming. It also provides a platform to explore whether the project is on the right track and opens new channels to troubleshoot if and when the project faces resistance, blockages or challenges.


LESSON 6: Avoid revictimization during evaluation of SGBV programming

To safeguard and protect the victims of SGBV crimes, there is a need for rules and procedures to be put in place in the methodology in order to prevent “revictimization” of victims. Questions and discussions on the person’s prior traumatic experience and re-examination of details and actions that explain the incident and the police’s response could put the SGBV survivor at risk, as well as expose their family or community members to unintended consequences. Evaluation teams conducting impact or effectiveness reviews of a SGBV programs need to design their approach avoiding revictimizing the victims.


Lesson 7: Use awareness-raising campaigns as an outreach tool and not only for visibility

When awareness campaigns are used as a strategy for the project to achieve its objectives, it is important that these are used as outreach channels to raise awareness on SGBV rather than merely be project visibility tools. Such campaigns also enable continuous monitoring on SGBV issues and serve as powerful advocacy tools for national counterparts to their maintain focus on those crimes and combatting them. Projects that integrate empirical evidence of outcomes in their awareness campaigns tend to achieve higher levels of conviction and credibility, particularly on a complex and culturally charged subject area such as SGBV.

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Tool 1 : Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes

Tool 1 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa by DCAF addresses political will and national ownership, fundamental requirements of SSR processes.

Without the strong political commitment of national authorities, SSR will fail, regardless of the material resources and technical expertise invested into it. SSR must be home-grown, designed to meet country-specific needs, and led by national stakeholders who take full responsibility for it. For SSR to produce sustainable results, it is also essential to ensure the active involvement of a critical mass of citizens - men and women - from all strata of society in the definition and implementation of a reform agenda that reflects a shared vision of security. Unless it relies on an inclusively defined and widely shared vision of security, SSR cannot succeed.

Acknowledging the challenges that may arise in the process of operationalising these principles, Tool 1 offers practical guidance on how to reinforce national ownership and leadership while defining an inclusive, national vision of security as a basis for a security sector reform. It provides an overview of potential entry points for SSR in the broader framework of national governance in a West African setting. It also suggests how to institutionalise the national leadership and coordination of an SSR process, including through strategic communication.

The Tool is primarily intended for policy and other strategic decision makers, government officials involved in security sector governance, national SSR advisers and practitioners. It will also provide members of parliament, other oversight institutions, civil society organisations and development partners with an overview of the responsibilities of the executive in SSR and how to uphold national ownership throughout the process.

For more information on the tool Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes, kindly follow the link to the DCAF website.

Follow the links to access the other documents in the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa: 

Tool 2: Security Sector Reform Programming

Tool 4: Effective Management of External Support to Security Sector Reform

Tool 6: Civil Society Involvement in Security Sector Reform and Governance

The publication is also available in français and português.


Tool 2 : Security Sector Reform Programming

The conduct of an SSR process requires translating a political, national vision of security into an operational programme and defining the different concrete actions needed to generate the desired societal change and improve security for all. SSR programming provides tools both to determine the nature of the change sought in the functioning of the security sector and to plan implementation in a structured manner that is measurable over time.

Tool 2 of the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa addresses the successive programming steps that enable the development and rolling out of a context-relevant SSR programme. These steps range from an initial needs assessment to the setting up of coordination mechanisms aimed at ensuring overall coherence of national SSR efforts. The Tool offers practical advice for prioritising and sequencing reform actions, budgeting the programme and mobilising the resources necessary for its implementation, establishing viable and efficient management mechanisms, coordinating national and international actors involved in the implementation of the programme and developing a communication strategy to support transparency and sustain national ownership.

For more information on Tool 2 : Security Sector Reform Programming, kindly follow the link to the DCAF website.

Follow the links to access the other documents in the Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa: 

Tool 1: Political Leadership and National Ownership of Security Sector Reform Processes

Tool 4: Effective Management of External Support to Security Sector Reform

Tool 6: Civil Society Involvement in Security Sector Reform and Governance

This publication is also available in français and português.


Ferramenta 1 : Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Esta ferramenta 1 « Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança », parte da « Caixa de Ferramentas para a Reforma e Governação do Sector de Segurança na África Ocidental », fornece orientações práticas para as autoridades nacionais da África Ocidental sobre como abordar a RSS de uma forma que demonstre liderança e garanta uma apropriação nacional inclusiva. Ressalva a importância da vontade política na formulação de políticas relacionadas com o sector de segurança, a necessidade de envolver actores não-estatais não só na fase inicial, mas também durante todo o processo de reforma, e a necessidade de articular a RSS com outras políticas e reformas à escala nacional. A ferramenta também se debruça sobre o papel desempenhado pela CEDEAO, que apoia os estados-membros na construção de processos de reforma endógenos. Aborda igualmente os desafios práticos que as autoridades nacionais poderão vir a enfrentar na concepção e implementação de processos de RSS, propondo também soluções para enfrentá-los.

A ferramenta pretende ser um recurso para os responsáveis pela tomada de decisões estratégicas, funcionários governamentais, consultores nacionais e outros profissionais de RSS. Também disponibilizará aos membros do parlamento, a outras instituições de supervisão, às organizações da sociedade civil (OSC) e aos parceiros de desenvolvimento uma visão geral das responsabilidades que o poder executivo tem na RSS e sobre como garantir a apropriação nacional ao longo do processo.

Para maiores informações sobre a Ferramenta 1 : Liderança Política e Apropriação Nacional dos Processos da Reforma do Sector de Segurança, siga o link para o website do DCAF.

Por favor, siga o link para ter acesso às outros documentos da Caixa de Ferramentas para a Reforma e Governação do Sector de Segurança na África Ocidental: 

Ferramenta 2 : Programação da Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Ferramenta 4 : Gestão Eficaz do Apoio Externo à Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Ferramenta 6 : Envolvimento da Sociedade Civil na Governação e Reforma do Sector de Segurança

Esta é a versão em Português da publicação. It is also available in English et disponible en français.



Revisiting Security Sector Reform in Liberia

As Liberians prepare for the October 2011 elections, the implications of lingering insecurity and mixed results from security sector reform initiatives weigh heavily on their minds. Have former combatants (particularly rebel groups and militias) been effectively demobilized and rehabilitated? Are Liberia?s new security forces (military and police) adequately prepared to address current and emerging threats?


Leymah Gbowee (Liberia)- Engaging the Biggest Players, Security Sector Reform

At a meeting with the staff of the Institute for Inclusive Security in Cambridge, MA in April 2011, Leymah Gbowee discussed how she used her experiences as a leader of the peace movement in Liberia to enhance her current role as a leader of West African security sector reform movements. This work has lead to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. To learn more about Leymah Gbowee and the Institute's work in Security Sector reform please visit


UN Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

In 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1509, establishing the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The Security Council has extended the peacekeeping mission through September 30, 2011. UNMIL disarms and reintegrates ex-combatants, reforms the security sector as well as improves the status of women. 


10 Year of Peace in Liberia

This video produced by UNMIL highlights key events that occurred during the period 2003 - 2013; ten consecutive years of peace and stability in Liberia.



When UN Peacekeeping Works: The Story of the United Nations Mission in Liberia

When peacekeepers were first deployed to Liberia in 2003, the west African country had just experienced a devastating civil war. Fifteen years later, the last Blue Helmets left the country. This podcast explores how UN Peacekeepers partnered with the people and government of Liberia to help transform the country from one of the bleakest places on the planet, to one of the more hopeful today.

To listen to the full podcast When UN Peacekeeping Works: The Story of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, kindly follow the link. 


Policy and Research Papers

National Security Strategy of Liberia - 2008

The National Security Strategy comprises a historic overview of security challenges, the popular vision of national security for Liberia, the key security issues threatening that vision and now confronting Liberia, proposals for a redesigned and legally accountable security architecture within which all the security agencies and bodies must operate to address these specific threats, and the legislative reforms required to effect the transformation. In particular, the National Security Strategy focuses on improving coordination and oversight of multi-agency security activities, the statutory instruments governing them, their accountability, sustainability, and resourcing plus their operational efficacy. The underlying tenet of the NSSRL ishuman security for development.  A sustainable, coordinated architecture is the ultimate goal to meet the security needs ofLiberiaand Liberians as articulated in the Security Policy Statement adopted by the Government of Liberia. The NSSRL forms the substance of Pillar One of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), because without security, there can be no lasting development.


Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform

Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. At its core, the discourse around ownership revolves around fundamental questions of agency: who decides, who controls, who implements, and who evaluates. The growing emphasis on local ownership, then, emerged as a critique of mainstream development practice and the broader cult of Western expertise which underpins it. As Joseph Stiglitz argued a decade ago, a vision of development in which all the answers and all the agency are seen to lie in the hands of foreigners is inherently problematic and ultimately self-defeating: ‘We have seen again and again that [local] ownership is essential for successful transformation: policies that are imposed from outside may be grudgingly accepted on a superficial basis, but will rarely be implemented as intended’. Since then, the principle of local ownership has been viewed increasingly as a precondition for effective development assistance, even if
the translation of the principle into actual practice remains an ongoing challenge.


No Ownership, No Commitment: A Guide to Local Ownership of Security Sector Reform

The principle of local ownership of SSR will have little import if it is treated simply as a romantic and woolly concept. In practical terms it means that the reform of security
policies, institutions and activities in a given country must be designed, managed and implemented by local actors rather than external actors.
The principle is misconstrued if it is understood to mean that there must be a high level of domestic support for donor activities. What is required is not local support for donor programmes and projects but rather donor support for programmes and projects initiated by local actors. The question for donor governments is not “how can we undertake SSR in partner countries?” but “how can we support local actors who want to undertake SSR in partner countries?”.
The principle does not preclude donors seeking to stimulate and encourage local interest in SSR. Nor does it preclude international actors putting pressure on governments whose security forces violate human rights. Nevertheless, the actual reform of the security sector must be shaped and driven by local actors.

To read the full publication, No Ownership, No Commitment: A Guide to Local Ownership of Security Sector Reform, please follow the link provided. 


Customary Justice and Legal Pluralism in Post-Conflict and Fragile Societies

While there has been a growing interest in customary justice systems among rule of law practitioners, it has remained very much at the margins of justice reform strategies. This session will challenge us to view customary justice and other forms of legal pluralism not as a side issue, but as a fundamental part of the justice landscapes in which we work. It will take a critical stance in reviewing the current range of overall policy approaches to legal pluralism and the preconceptions and assumptions that underlie those approaches. It will seek to identify and critically review how different approaches (rights-based, developmental, expanding access to justice, peace-building, state-building etc.,) tend to “frame the problem” when it comes to engagement with legal pluralism and will reflect specifically on how these approaches affect a range of key post conflict objectives. Finally it will consider the building blocks needed to define strategic objectives for engagement with legal pluralism.


Building Police Institutions in Fragile States - Case Studies from Africa

The police are one of the most critical institutions of the state. This is particularly true in nations emerging from conflict, which are characterized by insecurity and high levels of crime. Without security, governments cannot begin rebuilding their economies and improving the lives of their citizens. As a result, they will continue to struggle for legitimacy, and a return to conflict will remain an ever-present risk. For citizens, a police officer is the symbolic representation of state authority. Their view of the state and their acceptance of its authority are partially shaped by their interactions with the police.

Unfortunately, many Africans have entirely negative perceptions of the police. In many countries, the police are ineffective, unprofessional, corrupt, even predatory. Their primary interest is in protecting the government in power rather than serving the public. They are often sources of insecurity rather than providers of security—people to avoid, not to seek out, in the event of trouble. For other African citizens, particularly those living outside urban areas, the police are conspicuous by their absence. Many, perhaps the majority, of Africans rely on non-state security providers such as neighborhood watch groups and chiefdom police to keep them safe.

The aim of this report is to look at what the United States has been doing to help reform or transform the police in three African states: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. It provides recommendations of what could be done better, or differently, based on an assumption that the federal budget for overseas policing will remain small. The findings are based on meetings with policymakers and other experts in Washington, D.C., as well as interviews with program implementers, government officials, police, and civil society representatives in all three countries.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


Decentralising Liberia’s Security Sector: the Role of Non-Governmental Actors in Justice and Security Delivery

This article discussed the reduction of the UNMIL presence in Liberia and the rolling out a network of regional security and justice hubs across the country. The aim is to decentralise security, justice services and personnel to increase citizens’ access to justice and avoid the creation of a security vacuum.


Security in Post-Conflict Contexts: What Counts as Progress and What Drives It?

This working paper explores how to understand progress in security in post-conflict societies, laying the groundwork for Development Progress' forthcoming security case studies on Liberia and Timor Leste.

It identifies that post-conflict transitions are messy and complex, depending on a wide range of interconnected drivers of change that need to be understood if we are to explain progress or regress. It argues for a modest understanding of security to capture limited but important examples of progress in post-conflict situations, whilst acknowlegding that what constitutes progress in conflict-affected areas is likely to be deeply contested.
Also looking at financial resources and sustainability, including as a foundation for longer term development, the paper acts as a primer for the exploration of security to be undertaken by the Development Progress project.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


A Decade of Police Reform in Liberia: Perceptions, Challenges and Ways Ahead

The Centre for Security Governance has just published its latestSSR 2.0. Brief , “A Decade of Police Reform in Liberia: Perceptions, Challenges and Ways Ahead“, written by Franzisca Zanker.

Despite a decade of police reform, the effectiveness of the Liberia National Police is still limited. Corruption, perceptions of insecurity, lack of resources and overlapping institutions are major challenges that still need to be dealt with. This brief analyzes the main challenges of post-conflict police reform in Liberia and provides useful policy recommendations to improve this process. As this brief argues, a more problem-oriented, reflexive and flexible police reform process is required, including better communication and transparency.


Mapping Study on Gender and Security Sector Reform Actors and Activities in Liberia

DCAF conducted a mapping study on Gender and Security Sector Reform Actors and Activities in Liberia from November 2010 to March 2011. The mapping study was undertaken by an independent consultant, Mr Cecil Griffiths from the Liberian National Law Enforcement Association (LINLEA). This research was made possible thanks to the cooperation of most gender and SSR actors in Liberia including the Ministry of Gender and Development (MoGD), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Civil Society Organization Working Group on Security Sector Reform.

This project aimed to complement existing information on gender and SSR issues in Liberia and to reinforce information-sharing and coordination between actors.

On 31 March 2011, LINLEA and DCAF organised a workshop in Monrovia to complete and validate the findings of the study. In addition to validating the findings of the study, the participants made key recommendations related to gender and training, policy development, programmes and activities. The report was launched in Monrovia on 23 September 2011.


Strategic Planning in Fragile and Conflict Contexts

The primary audience for this research paper is the strategic planner in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), understood broadly as any actor involved in either the formulation of national priorities to mitigate or recover from conflict, or the design of international strategies to support such priorities. The paper explores the tensions and tradeoffs incurred throughout the planning process on a range of engagement principles, including national ownership, prioritization, and sequencing. It aims to serve two purposes: i) provide a broad concept of key elements of planning and ii) identify key recommendations for engagement as well as policy and capacity gaps in the international community’s support of strategic planning processes

The first section of the paper offers general considerations related to i) the tradeoffs and tensions inherent to strategic planning processes in FCAS, and ii) the challenges and opportunities that planners face, as a means to set the context and rationale for the guidance and recommendations presented throughout the paper. The second and third sections discuss the prerequisites for and the actual steps of the strategic planning process, with a focus on current practice and its range of tradeoffs and tensions, including challenges in formulating results for greater accountability and issues related, inter alia, to ownership, prioritization, and funding. The conclusion presents a summary of findings, along with key policy recommendations drawn from the analysis and the case studies, as well as suggested areas where further research could strengthen the international community’s capacities to support strategic planning processes.


Money Matters: Addressing the Financial Sustainability of Security Sector Reform

Although the financial sustainability of United Nations (UN) support to institutional capacity building in post-conflict contexts may be the least analysed topic on the peacebuilding agenda, understanding the costs of rebuilding and maintaining the security sector should be one of the most important priorities for security sector reform (SSR) practitioners today. Through innovative partnerships between the UN and the World Bank, a new and important practice area in public financial management of the security sector is beginning to take shape. This paper traces the new demands placed on peacekeeping operations to “get more bang for every peacekeeping buck”, and explores how to match SSR priorities and recurring costs in the security sector with available resources over the long term. In presenting the lessons learned from the security sector public expenditure review conducted by the UN and the World Bank in Liberia in 2012, the first such review jointly undertaken by the two organizations, the paper seeks to illustrate how the discussion on right-sizing of the security sector can go hand in hand with a discussion on right-financing in order to help prioritize key reforms pragmatically in light of the available fiscal space. Specifically, the paper provides SSR practitioners with insights into the challenges often encountered when assisting national authorities to address the political economy of SSR, and how to navigate those dilemmas.

To access the full report Money Matters: Addressing the Financial Sustainability of Security Sector Reform, kindly click on the link.

This paper is part of DCAF's SSR Papers series. Click on the link for more DCAF publications on security sector reform.


DDR and SSR in War-to-Peace Transition

While disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) have become integral statebuilding tools in post-conflict states, the existing empirical literature examining their relationship has focused on supply-side considerations related to the programming of both processes. In practice, though, DDR and SSR are implemented in the wider context of war-to-peace transitions where the state is attempting to establish a monopoly over the use of force and legitimize itself in the eyes of domestic and international communities. This paper therefore assumes that to identify opportunities and constraints for establishing closer practical linkages between DDR and SSR it is important to take the local politics into consideration. It examines two past externally driven peacebuilding interventions in West Africa, namely Liberia and Sierra Leone, featuring cases in which the central state had essentially fragmented or collapsed. Through this comparative analysis, the paper aims to provide a stepping-stone for future studies examining demand-side considerations of DDR and SSR in post-conflict contexts.

To access the full report  DDR and SSR in War-to-Peace Transition, kindly click on the link.

This paper is part of DCAF's SSR Papers series. Click on the link for more DCAF publications on security sector reform.


Preventing Election Violence in Liberia

Liberia will hold presidential and legislative elections on October 10. The run-up to the vote has been primarily peaceful, and the country has engaged in ongoing efforts to prevent election violence. This Peace Brief, based on USIP research, assesses the risk of election violence and the scope of violence prevention efforts, and provides recommendations for ongoing prevention. 

For full access to Preventing Election Violence in Liberia, kindly follow the link. 


Liberia now needs more attention, not less

Despite peaceful elections and the withdrawal of peacekeepers, Liberia’s long terms future is still precarious. This article highlights the need of a sustained focus and political will by the UN member states as well as innovative ways to work in partnerships to sustain peace in Liberia.

For full access to Liberia now needs more attention, not less, please follow the link. 


Electing Peace in Liberia

The day after Christmas Liberians went to the polling stations to elect George Weah, a former international soccer player, as the new President of Liberia. Weah beat the former vice president and chief opponent, Joseph Boakai, in a run-off election. 

This article aims at recognizing Liberians and their primary role in keeping the peace, in particular the National Election Commission (NEC). This feat being even more notable as the possibility of election-related violence was substantial given the overwhelming development challenges in Liberia and its history of armed conflict.

For full access to the article, Electing Peace in Liberia , please follow the link. 


Governance and Health in Post-Conflict Countries: The Ebola Outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa from 2014 to 2015 underscored the fragility of public health services in countries emerging from protracted conflict, as well as the link between governance and health. In both Sierra Leone and Liberia, war had seriously undermined the health sector. Ebola arrived as the large-scale postwar international presence was downsizing and the responsibility for healthcare was shifting to the governments. Both governments had developed comprehensive health policies and plans, including devolution of health service delivery, but these were not fully implemented in practice. As a result, they were unprepared to address the Ebola crisis. This report explores the response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia, respectively. 

For full access to the article on, Governance and Health in Post-Conflict Countries: The Ebola Outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone, please follow the link


No Time for a Peacekeeper Exit in Liberia

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) began its mandate in one of the most fragile countries on the planet on October 1, 2003. A decade of intermittent civil war had caused Liberia’s gross domestic product to plummet by two-thirds, killed up to 500,000 people, and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population. With UNMIL as its primary guarantor of security, Liberia’s economy recovered, and elections in 2005, 2011, and 2014 were held peacefully. The national population has doubled, meaning Liberia has an entire generation of youth who have little recollection of the country’s troubled past. This article tries to investigate on reasons why UN would put this progress at risk.

For full access to the article on,No Time for a Peacekeeper Exit in Liberia, please follow the link. 


Military or Hybrid Solutions for Border Patrolling in Liberia?

Border surveillance in Liberia, far from the capital Monrovia, is vitally important in regions where armed groups may be exploiting or smuggling natural resources or drugs.The Armed Force of Liberia (AFL) is one of a number of developing state armies that have been systematically reconstructed in the past few years. 

For full access, Military or Hybrid Solutions for Border Patrolling in Liberia?, please follow the link.


Liberia: Parliamentary Oversight and Lessons Learned from Internationalized Security Sector Reform

Following the signing of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending the Liberian civil war, there have been revitalized efforts for security sector reform, led principally by the United States and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of (i) the extent and effect of international support for parliamentary oversight of the security sector relative to other reform priorities, and (ii) to assess the potential impact of the reform process on preventing conflict recurrence in Liberia.


Sustaining peace in practice: Liberia and Sierra Leone

This policy brief explores how the UN can ensure successful transitions and what sustaining peace means in practice. Liberia and Sierra Leone are undergoing important transitions. The countries provide important case studies on how the United Nations (UN) can ensure successful transitions, not only from peacekeeping to peacebuilding but also from conflict to building a sustainable peace. With the current UN focus on conflict prevention for sustaining peace, this policy brief provides practical recommendations on what this means in practice. The analysis is derived from field research carried out from 15–24 November 2017 in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

For full access to Sustaining peace in practice: Liberia and Sierra Leone, please kindly follow this link. 


Prospects for Accessing Justice for Sexual Violence in Liberia’s Hybrid System

This paper explores the prospects of complementary rather than competitive dispute resolution and justice systems in Liberia. It specifically considers women’s access to justice in relation to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which remains prevalent in the post-conflict period, and in the context of a highly hybridised justice system. While the formal system has made great progress in reforming laws and institutions but is vastly under-resourced. Informal and traditional systems are widely considered more accessible and affordable. They are, however, also susceptible to corruption and co-option, and the state’s oversight and curtailing of specific conflict resolution and punishment practices is considered to have rendered these systems less effective. Significantly, some cultural and traditional practices are themselves considered to facilitate and promote SGBV. These factors make complementary systems an imperative while working to address the deficiencies of both systems.

For full access to the paper, Prospects for Accessing Justice for Sexual Violence in Liberia’s Hybrid System, please follow the link. 


Partnering for Sustainable Peace in Liberia

This paper first analyzes Liberia’s national frameworks relevant to peace building and then examines the engagements of multiple peace building actors in Liberia, with a particular focus on the roles of African regional, sub regional and bilateral organisations. It also unpacks principles as to why they may hold an advantage in certain peace building activities. Finally, the paper explores how the Peace Building Commission can develop context-specific solutions to Liberia’s peace building priority areas, making use of partnerships.

For full access to the paper, Partnering for Sustainable Peace in Liberia, please kindly follow the link. 


Final Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia

After 15 years, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia has come to an end. This is the final report of the Secretary-General details the major developments in Liberia for the period 2017-2018, including the current political, security, humanitarian and human rights situation, the national security and justice capacity of the country and the closure of UNMIL. 

For full access to the Final Progress Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia, please follow the link. 


Linkages between Justice-Sensitive Security Sector Reform and Displacement: Examples of Police and Justice Reform from Liberia and Kosovo

This ICTJ paper explores the linkages between SSR and displacement. It looks at examples drawn primarily from two post-conflict areas undergoing SSR—Liberia and Kosovo—to understand previous experiences with these linkages. It focuses on: first, ways in which SSR initiatives either incorporated or failed to incorporate justice-sensitive approaches to durable solutions with regards to displacement; and second, whether and how these linkages enhanced or impeded the implementation of durable solutions and SSR initiatives. The focus is on rule of law reform, especially with regard to police and justice systems, set in the wider context of SSR strategies and initiatives. Police and justice reform are directly connected to durable solutions because: first, effective rule of law is essential for a secure environment, and therefore a necessary precondition for the return, resettlement/repatriation, and local integration of displaced populations; and second, they are the most visible public security institutions for local populations, and are therefore critical for demonstrating integrity and building legitimacy with displaced populations. 

Follow this link to view the publication on the ICTJ website.


Priorities for Security and Justice during Liberia’s Transition

This article argues that the incoming administration of Liberian President-elect George Weah will need to address numerous pressing challenges related to the country’s security and stability. This is all the more critical as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is drawing down and plans to depart the country in March 2018, after 15 years in country.

For full access to the article, Priorities for Security and Justice During Liberia’s Transition, please kindly follow the link. 


Enhancing Security and Justice in Liberia: The Regional Hub Model

Justice and security are core components of healthy and functional societies. The security sector comprises, government structures with authority to execute force, detain and arrest to protect the state, its citizens and those civil bodies responsible for security sector management and oversight. A state’s failure to guarantee security and justice presents major obstacles to the achievement of political, social and economic development. Like many other countries ravaged by war, Liberia has experienced challenges with developing and maintaining effective security and justice systems. In order to promote the provision of coordinated and decentralised security and justice services which all Liberians can access, the government is rolling out regional justice and security hubs across the country. This Policy & Practice Brief  explores how the Liberian government responds to national security and justice challenges through the creation of these hubs. It interrogates the merits and challenges of this approach.

For full access to the report, Enhancing Security and Justice in Liberia: The Regional Hub Model, please follow the link. 


4 ways to support reconciliation: Lessons from Rwanda and Liberia

International Alert identified two strands to support people in finding peaceful solutions to conflict. One strand involves working with communities to improve relations between people and the state. This often means bringing together communities with local and national authorities to discuss improving the accessibility and quality of public services. The other strand is about supporting reconciliation within and between communities.

Reconciliation projects in Rwanda and Liberia that came to an end in recent years provide an opportunity to identify good practice in this area. Based on achieved results, four elements of good practice in reconciliation programming can be pointed out.

In order to read, 4 ways to support reconciliation: Lessons from Rwanda and Liberia, please follow the link.


Sustaining Peace in Security Transitions: The Liberian Opportunity

On the 30th of March 2018, UNMIL completed its mandate in Liberia setting the county on a new path towards a Security transition phase. The Security Council hailed the mission’s overall progress toward restoring peace, security, and stability in the country. The drawdown, which UNMIL head Farid Zarif called “one of the most significant milestones for the country and the international community since the end of the civil war in 2003,” will have important repercussions for the future of Liberia and the UN’s broader efforts to sustain peace.

In order to read, Sustaining Peace in Security Transitions: The Liberian Opportunity, please follow the link.


Priorities for Security and Justice during Liberia’s Transition

The incoming administration of Liberian President-elect George Weah will need to address numerous pressing challenges related to the country’s security and stability. This is all the more critical as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is drew down and departed the country in March 2018, after 15 years in country.

In order to read, Priorities for Security and Justice during Liberia's Transition, please follow the link.


Maintien et pérennisation de la paix: Quelles conditions et stratégies de sortie des opérations de maintien de la paix?

Les Casques bleus, acteurs essentiels des opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations unies, récompensés d’ailleurs par un prix Nobel de la paix en 1988, sont à la croisée des chemins. Le contexte des conflits a changé. Le rôle des Casques bleus et plus largement des opérations de maintien de la paix (OMP) évolue donc également.

À l’occasion du 70e anniversaire de cette « entreprise des Nations unies » (entamée donc depuis 1948), l’ensemble des parties prenantes ont adopté une Déclaration d’engagements communs concernant les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations unies intitulée : « Action pour le maintien de la paix » (A4P). Son principal objectif, d’après le Secrétaire général Antonio Guterres, est de « combler le fossé entre les aspirations et la réalité », en donnant aux opérations de maintien de la paix des objectifs plus réalistes, en rendant les missions plus fortes et plus sûres et en mobilisant un meilleur soutien politique en faveur de solutions politiques d’une part, et de forces bien équipées et bien entrainées d’autre part ».

Pour accéder au rapport, Maintien et pérennisation de la paix: Quelles conditions et stratégies de sortie des opérations de maintien de la paix?, veuillez suivre le lien.


Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases

Gender justice sees equal power relations, privilege, dignity, and freedom for people of different genders as a necessary component for any “just” society and a prerequisite for development. Gender justice includes gender equality, meaning substantive freedom for all genders to have genuine choices about their lives. Mirroring a global pattern in peace and security practice and policy-making, transitional justice (TJ) practice has tended to reduce gender justice concerns to violence against women (VAW). This policy brief advocates for policy-makers to adopt a broader and more meaningful understanding of gender justice, and to incorporate it into their TJ policymaking. To demonstrate the need for a broader understanding of gender justice within TJ processes, this policy brief draws upon a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) on the drivers and impacts of TJ in Africa. The study examined gender trends emerging from 13 African countries that had State-led TJ processes between 1990 and 2011, and their impacts up until 2016. Based on the academic literature and available data for the 13 cases, four key factors were used as basic indicators of gender justice: women’s political rights and representation; women’s economic equity; women’s participation in civil society; and State measures against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

For full access to Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases, kindly follow the link. 


Understanding Vigilantism - Informal Security Providers and Security Sector Reform in Liberia

This report argues that any attempt to reform state security institutions as a means of improving overall security must start with a thorough investigation of the current security context. However, during this process of security mapping, informal actors cannot be neglected. Often this very sector not only exists, but also effectively functions and continuously adapts to contextual realities. One must therefore consider the informal networks of security provision and the recognition of non-state  security actors that ordinary citizens, in addition to formal security providers, must navigate on an everyday basis. In doing so it also becomes easier to identify the hidden links between these formal and informal networks that at various levels interact,
complement, or even compete with each other. The focus of this report is to explore and describe informal security organizations (mainly community watch and vigilante groups) in modern-day Liberia, a country that at the moment is undergoing  security sector reform with major assistance from the international community.

Download the publication in PDF format from the Folke Bernadotte Academy website: Understanding Vigilantism - Informal Security Providers and Security Sector Reform in Liberia.


The Transition to a Just Order – Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict: A Practitioners’ Guide

This handbook and its sister publication, the policy report The Transition to a Just Order: Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict, A Practitioner’s Guide, are based on the findings of a two year long study conducted jointly by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the principle of local ownership, the key dilemmas involved in pursuing local ownership and the challenges and issues that arise when local ownership is being put into practice.

It takes a closer look at strategies and mechanisms for transition in four cases studies: Afghanistan, the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo), Timor-Leste and West Africa (Liberia and Sierra Leone).
The cases have been selected to illustrate the varying degrees of international involvement in post-conflict justice and security sector reform. Kosovo and Timor-Leste represent scenarios where the international community has taken the lead in taking responsibility for law and order, while West Africa and especially Afghanistan are illustrative of postconflict environments where primacy has rested with local authorities. The study is based on field visits by the authors to all the case study countries with
the exception of Timor-Leste and numerous interviews with local stakeholders, practitioners, policy makers and established academics working on justice and security sector issues. The study has also benefited greatly from discussions which took place in a workshop held in Stockholm in May 2006 as well as a rigorous peer review process. The handbook uses the findings in the case studies and examples from these peacebuilding processes to highlight some of the key challenges.

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The Security Sector and Poverty Reduction Strategies

Provision of security is both a core function of the state and a necessary condition for the delivery of other essential services and investments for poverty reduction. Improving the effectiveness and accountability of security provision is therefore becoming an increasingly important element of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) in countries emerging from conflict.

This note aims to clarify the challenges for integrating security sector priorities into PRSs by drawing on existing and emerging knowledge and practice in conflict-affected countries. Introduced in the late 1990s, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are standard tools for developing countries to articulate medium-term macroeconomic and social policies for growth and poverty reduction. Countries take the lead in setting a development plan, while the World Bank and other donors align their assistance programs with those national strategies.
This note focuses specifically on the World Bank’s role in supporting governments during the preparation of PRSs and discusses entry points for engagement in the security sector drawing from experience in a mix of conflictaffected countries. It is intended to serve as a resource for World Bank country teams and their national counterparts when designing PRS processes in countries where improved security has emerged as a national priority.

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National Security Strategies and Policies: A Note on Current Practices

A national security policy (NSP) is a government-wide analysis and description of the strategic level concerns a country faces; it addresses how the government plans to deals with these concerns. A national security strategy (NSS) is a government's overarching plan for ensuring the country's security in the form of guidance for implementing a country's national security policy. In several contexts, an initial national security strategy may play an important role in determining a comprehensive strategy for security sector reform. The NSS can be a tool for building legitimacy of security actors in the eyes of a population. This practice note discusses the challenges to reforming national security structures, as they relate to drafting appropriate national security strategies, and provides examples of ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

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Sustaining Peace in Liberia: New Reforms, New Opportunities?

This paper examines the implementation of the UN’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace framework in Liberia, looking at what has been done and what is still needed. It focuses on the four issue areas highlighted in the secretary-general’s 2018 report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace: operational and policy coherence; leadership at the UN country level; partnerships with local and regional actors; and international support. It looks specifically at how the UN country team is adapting its strategy and operations in the wake of the recent transitions in Liberia.

For full access to the paper Sustaining Peace in Liberia: New Reforms, New Opportunities?, kindly follow the link. 


Reviewing the Justice and Security Hub Modality as Piloted in Liberia

‘The Republic of Bangui’ or ‘the Republic of Monrovia’ are phrases we sometimes hear from practitioners to describe post conflict countries where very few services exist outside the capital city. This is especially the case for security – the critical public good in post conflict countries. In response to the need to bring security services closer to the citizens who often need them most, the Government of Liberia and the United Nations are piloting a new approach financed by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) – the so-called ‘Justice and Security Hubs’. The donor community and the United Nations are watching closely. If this works, there is indication from UN officials that the model could potentially be replicated in other settings such as the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti and the northern states of South Sudan. If the hub concept is capable of being adapted and successful elsewhere, the United Nations will not only have added a new instrument to its peacekeeping toolkit but will also firmly demonstrate how the UN Peacebuilding Fund can in essence be catalytic in fostering long-term and comprehensive approaches to peacebuilding. This practice note outlines the process of developing and constructing the first hub in Liberia, which is due to be partly operational by the end of 2012, and provides a prognosis on its chances for success.


UN Police, Justice and Corrections Programming in Liberia - A Compact Case Study

Case studies on police, justice and corrections programming for nine UN complex operations and special political missions were developed by Stimson’s Future of Peace Operations Program at the request of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations. They are descriptive rather than analytic documents that help to organize, by mission, the issues and activities that the main study, Understanding Impact of Police, Justice and Corrections in UN Peace Operations, treats functionally, across cases, and are summarized in the study’s annexes. 

To view the publication, please follow this link.


The Mission Is Gone, but the UN Is Staying: Liberia’s Peacekeeping Transition

From 2003 to 2018, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was ever-present throughout the country. This paper examines the process of Liberia’s transition from a peacekeeping mission to a UN country team configuration, focusing on the period from July 2016 to July 2018. It identifies the political and operational dynamics that drove the transition, examines the policy processes and context within which the transition was executed, and assesses the ability of the UN’s post-mission configuration to sustain peace in Liberia.

The paper argues that by viewing transitions as long-term, multi-stakeholder activities - member states have the opportunity to ensure that future transitions adopt integrated approaches with adequate political, operational, and financial support.

For full access to the paper The Mission Is Gone, but the UN Is Staying: Liberia’s Peacekeeping Transition, kindly follow the link. 


Insécurité Maritime dans le Golfe de Guinée : Vers une Stratégie Régionale Intégrée ?

L’insécurité maritime se confirme comme l’une des menaces persistantes à la stabilité des États riverains du golfe de Guinée. En dépit d’une prise de conscience croissante et de la volonté politique d’y faire face, l’augmentation rapide des actes de piraterie a pris de court plusieurs pays de la région. L’absence d’un dispositif commun, relativement complet, de surveillance et de lutte contre la piraterie, limite encore la portée des initiatives prises par certains États, et qui ne couvrent pas l’ensemble de la région du golfe de Guinée. Une stratégie à long terme passe par la mutualisation des moyens, et par la coopération entre les trois organisations régionales, la CEEAC, la CEDEAO et la Commission du golfe de Guinée, ainsi que par l’implication d’autres acteurs du secteur maritime concernés par la lutte contre la piraterie dans la région.

Veuillez suivre ce lien sur l'Insécurité Maritime dans le Golfe de Guinée :  Vers une Stratégie Régionale Intégrée afin de lire la publication.


From Timor-Leste to Darfur: New Initiatives for enhancing UN Civilian Policing Capacity

As peacekeepers have deployed at unprecedented levels worldwide, the demand for police to serve in such missions has swelled.The United Nations (UN), for example, has increased the use of police from two percent of its peacekeeping forces in 1995 to more than twelve percent today. The mandates for UN missions have also expanded dramatically, with greater attention devoted to police and rule of law activities. This trend reflects a recognition of the need to establish public security, combat lawlessness, and support the rule of law and governance in post-conflict societies.

Over 40 percent of the police deployed in UN missions today are in Africa, with officers working to support and build more effective and accountable rule of law institutions in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia. African countries are also substantial contributors of police to UN missions, with more than a quarter of those deployed coming from the continent.

This Issue Brief explores the current demand for UN police, looks at recent and ongoing reforms undertaken at the United Nations and in the field, and considers additional ways to address shortcomings in the use of police and rule of law teams in peace operations.

This Issue Brief is one of six produced as part of Stimson’s workshop series, A Better Partnership for African Peace Operations, made possible by a generous grant from the United States Institute of Peace. The series examined progress, challenges, and potential steps forward in expanding national, regional, and international capacity to lead and participate in peace operations in Africa. The six issue briefs produced in conjunction with this project provide background and analytical context for the insights gained through the Better Partnership workshops. Each brief also highlights workshop findings and identifies recommendations for the US, UN, regional organizations, and policymakers.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Liberia

This publication is the result of a Seminar with participants from varied sectors of the Liberian government. Its main findings show that despite good beginnings in the security sector, several challenges in terms of prioritization, resources, training and strategizing remain.  A section on the country's DDR efforts highlight the accomplishments and challenges of the program at the time (2007)Furthermore, this publication formulates a series of open questions with regards to the issues of gender sensitivity in DDR, verification of actual disarmament, reintegration of adult ex-combatants as well as the geographical imbalance of reforms.


State-Civil Society Interface in Liberia’s Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

Post-conflict peacebuilding demands concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure its success; particularly, civil society must complement the capacity of the conflict-weary state. A successful peacebuilding, however, requires a harmonious relationship between the state and civil society. This paper analyses state-civil society relations at different phases of Liberia’s protracted post-conflict peacebuilding process. The paper argues that civil society groups have played and continue to play important role in the peacebuilding process in Liberia and therefore need the support of the Liberian state and the international community to continue their watchdog role. The paper concludes by drawing lessons from the Liberian experience for other post-conflict states.


Report of the Liberia National Dialogue on Security Sector Reform

The National Dialogue, co-hosted by the Liberian Transitional Government and UNMIL, brings together all statutory security agencies of Liberia to help address the critical problem of Security Reform, which is attributed to the main causes of the Liberian conflict. This report summarizes the discussions that took place among these stakeholders



Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform

Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. This book dwells on the concept of local ownership and the challenges it faces in SSR practice in terms of implementation and donor-national stakeholder relations. Finally it  adds a number of case studies that exemplify these issues.  


From civil strife to peace building

From Civil Strife to Peace Buildingexamines peace-building efforts in the fragile West African states of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and C te d'Ivoire, with a focus on the role of the private sector in leading the reconstruction initiatives. Given that aid and debt relief, the traditional remedies for dependency and underdevelopment, have not been effective, the private sector is increasingly viewed as a major player in the revival of regional economies. Private sector support, however, requires government intervention to improve investment climates, curb corruption, strengthen the security sector, and reduce the cost of doing business. The contributors discuss ways in which West African governments can encourage the greater involvement of business in humanitarian support with incentives that demonstrate alignment with business objectives and profit margins, making humanitarian support simple and, more importantly, profitable and sustainable for both local and foreign investors. Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)


Rebuilding the Security Sector in Post-Conflict Societies

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, strategies to reform and reconstruct the security sector have centred on re-establishing the state's monopoly on the use of force. However, little attention is given to the array of non-state actors that often play a major role in how individuals and communities experience security. Rebuilding the Security Sector in Post-Conflict Societies: Perceptions from Urban Liberia and Sierra Leone seek to address this gap by applying a human security approach to security provision across these two contexts. A key point of departure is that in the long run there can be no alternative within post-conflict societies to a locally owned security sector. Operationalising the concept of local ownership means that internationally-supported security sector reform (SSR) activities need to reflect these local realities. As explored within this study, fostering synergies between state and non-state security actors may therefore offer an important avenue to support more sustainable, legitimate SSR efforts. Judy Smith-Höhn is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa. Prior to her present position she was a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs in Hamburg, Germany and later a senior researcher at the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town in South Africa. Her thematic emphases lie in the areas of violent conflict and its prevention, and security sector reform within a regional focus on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She has published nationally and internationally on topics ranging from security sector reform and postconflict peacebuilding to democratic transformation in South Africa. She holds a PhD from the University of Leipzig, Germany, and a Diplom (masters degree) in Political Science from the University of Hamburg, Germany.


Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict States

Recent developments such as Sweden's' Feminist Foreign Policy, the "Hillary Doctrine," and the integration of women into combat roles in the U.S. have propelled gender equality to the forefront of international politics. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, however, has been integrating gender equality into peacekeeping missions for nearly two decades as part of the women, peace and security agenda that has been most clearly articulated in UNSC Resolution 1325. To what extent have peacekeeping operations achieved gender equality in peacekeeping operations and been vehicles for promoting gender equality in post-conflict states? 
While there have been major improvements related to women's participation and protection, there is still much left to be desired. Sabrina Karim and Kyle Beardsley argue that gender power imbalances between the sexes and among genders place restrictions on the participation of women in peacekeeping missions. Specifically, discrimination, a relegation of women to safe spaces, and sexual exploitation, abuse, harassment, and violence (SEAHV) continue to threaten progress on gender equality. Using unique cross-national data on sex-disaggregated participation of peacekeepers and on the allegations of SEAHV, as well as original data from the UN Mission in Liberia, the authors examine the origins and consequences of these challenges. Karim and Beardsley also identify and examine how increasing the representation of women in peacekeeping forces, and even more importantly through enhancing a more holistic value for "equal opportunity," can enable peacekeeping operations to overcome the challenges posed by power imbalances and be more of an example of and vehicle for gender equality globally.


Liberia’s Security Sector Legislation

This publication is the result of an Interactive Needs Assessment on Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector in Liberia, which was held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre from the 28th to the 30th of March 2007. The event was part of the activities of the DCAF Africa Programme, in collaboration with the Conflict Security and Development Group, Kings College, University of London and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN). The objective was to facilitate a process which would enable Liberian legislators identify what they require in order to deliver effective parliamentary oversight of the security sector after protracted conflict. Report of the Interactive Needs Assessment is available at:


Security Sector Reform

This paper explores the definition of SSR as it has emerged in the international community. It examines the makeup of the security sector, identifies emergent principles for implementing SSR in the community of practice and specifies the outcomes that SSR is designed to produce. Supporting case studies of Haiti, Liberia, and Kosovo assess the impact of SSR programs on host nation security sectors. The authors conclude that those conducting SSR programs must understand and continually revisit the policy goals of SSR programs, to develop concepts that support a transitional process that moves forward over time. They also identify a need for rebalancing resources committed to SSR, especially since justice and civil law enforcement typically are undersourced as elements of SSR. Lastly, the authors cite the need for more flexible and better integrated funding processes to support SSR activities within the U.S. Government.


Security Sector Reform in Liberia

The author presents an explanatory overview and analysis of progress made with the process of security sector reform in Liberia -- with particular reference to the armed forces and the police. The author begins with a concise review of what the theory of SSR and its application in the Liberian context and follows with a description of Liberia's post-war security architecture and the urgent need for a comprehensive and sustained process of reform. An overview of the legal and conceptual framework for engaging in SSR in Liberia is provided as further backdrop to substantive sections dealing with the reform (or re-building) of the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Liberia National Police. The author concludes with a critical analysis of the SSR process and recommendations for further action.


Reform And Reconstruction of the Security Sector

Security sector reform (SSR) is widely recognized as key to conflict prevention, peace-building, sustainable development, and democratization. SSR has gained most practical relevance in the context of post-conflict reconstruction of so-called "failed states'" and states emerging from violent internal or inter-state conflict. As this volume shows, almost all states need to reform their security sectors to a greater or lesser extent, according to the specific security, political and socio-economic contexts, as well as in response to the new security challenges resulting from globalization and post-9/11 developments. Alan Bryden is a researcher at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Heiner Hnggi is assistant director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.


Monopoly of Force

"Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) have emerged in recent years as promising though generally poorly understood mechanisms for consolidating stability and reasserting state sovereignty after conflict. Despite the considerable experience acquired by the international community, the critical interrelationship between DDR and SSR and the ability to use these mechanisms with consistent success remain less than optimally developed. The chapters in this book reflect a diversity of field experience and research in DDR and SSR, which suggest that these are complex and interrelated systems, with underlying political attributes. Successful application of DDR and SSR requires the setting aside of preconceived assumptions or formulas, and should be viewed flexibly to restore to the state the monopoly of force."--P. [4] of cover.


Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies

The major peacekeeping and stability operations of the last ten years have mostly taken place in countries that have pervasive customary justice systems, which pose significant challenges and opportunities for efforts to reestablish the rule of law. These systems are the primary, if not sole, means of dispute resolution for the majority of the population, but post-conflict practitioners and policymakers often focus primarily on constructing formal justice institutions in the Western image, as opposed to engaging existing traditional mechanisms. This book offers insight into how the rule of law community might make the leap beyond rhetorical recognition of customary justice toward a practical approach that incorporates the realities of its role in justice strategies."Customary Justice and the Rule of Law in War-Torn Societies" presents seven in-depth case studies that take a broad interdisciplinary approach to the study of the justice system. Moving beyond the narrow lens of legal analysis, the cases Mozambique, Guatemala, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan examine the larger historical, political, and social factors that shape the character and role of customary justice systems and their place in the overall justice sector. Written by resident experts, the case studies provide advice to rule of law practitioners on how to engage with customary law and suggest concrete ways policymakers can bridge the divide between formal and customary systems in both the short and long terms. Instead of focusing exclusively on ideal legal forms of regulation and integration, this study suggests a holistic and flexible palette of reform options that offers realistic improvements in light of social realities and capacity limitations. The volume highlights how customary justice systems contribute to, or detract from, stability in the immediate post-conflict period and offers an analytical framework for assessing customary justice systems that can be applied in any country.


Other Documents

UNDPKO SSR Newsletter No. 13, January-March 2012

The SSR Newsletter, published on a quarterly basis, is aimed at providing an update on recent activities of the SSR Unit and an overview of upcoming initiatives, in addition to sharing relevant information and announcements with the greater SSR community.

Other Document

UNMIL Timeline of Key Events 2003-2018


This infographic illustrates the timeline of events for UNMIL between 2003 and 2018. It was created to feature in ISSAT's report Lessons Identified From United Nations Mission in Liberia Support to Rule of Law which was produced as part our mandate Lessons Identification on the Work of UNMIL's Rule of Law Pillar

To view a larger version of the infographic, please click on the file below. 

Other Document

Women in Peace and Transition Processes - Liberia (2003-2011)

Women’s groups were highly influential in Liberia’s peace process, yielding long-term impacts. The Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) had formal observer status during the peace talks, the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) led a mass action campaign, and activists had informal consultations with the mediation team and conflict parties. Women’s influence was strongest during the negotiation period. It weakened during the implementation phase, despite women’s groups being directly represented in the transitional government and various implementation commissions.

Strong public buy-in, supportive regional and international actors, strong women’s groups, pre-existing personal networks, and regional women’s networks all contributed to women’s influence on the talks. That said, the ad hoc and unstructured nature of women’s transfer and communication strategies meant that the impetus for change was not sustained throughout the implementation process. Limited decision-making power, lack of funding, and heterogeneity among the groups also constrained women’s continued influence.

For full access to the case study document Women in Peace and Transition Processes, please kindly follow the link. 

Other Document