UNMIL requested ISSAT’s support in taking stock of almost 15 years of deployment in Liberia. This exercise aimed to identify lessons, best practices and areas of innovation from the key outcomes of the support provided by UNMIL’s Rule of Law Pillar – with a focus on :
- service delivery at both central and county level ;
- citizen security and justice ;
- efficiency, integrity and public trust ;
- local ownership and sustainability
The lesson-learning exercise focused on four key areas:
(i) capacity building of state institutions (mentoring, training, and human resources);
(ii) management and regulatory frameworks (law and policy reform, strategic direction, leadership, planning, and various elements of institution building);
(iii) accountability (support to internal, state, and non-state level accountability mechanisms; and
(iv) coordination including support to state-level coordination between institutions in the sector and support to coordination between the state and development partners.
In this regard the exercise considered the strengths and shortcomings of the UNMIL approach, including a review of the evolution of the mandate and its strategic Mission priorities, as well as how the internal organization of UNMIL and the UN (e.g. structures, planning, monitoring, analysis coordination and capacity, and gender mainstreaming aspects) influenced the effectiveness and efficiency of UNMIL support.
The exercise also looked at various stages of the mission:
- immediate post-conflict (re-establishment of state authority)
- drawdown and transition processes.
The target audience for the findings of the report included:
- the United Nations Security Council;
- the UN Secretariat, including DPKO, DPA, PBSO;
- UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes;
- other UN peace operations;
- the Government of Liberia;
- national stakeholders; and
- international partners based in Liberia.
This mandate was conducted in the context of the adoption of its resolution 2333 (2016), authorizing a final extension of the substantive mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to 30 March 2018, and its subsequent liquidation by 30 June 2018.
Principal among UNMIL’s mandate areas has been its extensive engagement in support of rule of law – reform of the justice and security sectors, being the lead international actor supporting these areas since its establishment in 2003, committing significant technical, financial and political resources towards :
- the reform of the national police ;
- the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights.
ISSAT was requested to support UNMIL and UNDP in undertaking an initial needs assessment to understand the institutional and individual needs of the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the Liberian Legislature. The aim of the assessment was to identify institutional capacity and resource gaps that impeded the parliament’s ability to fully exercise its oversight, legislative drafting, representation, and agenda-setting role with regard to the Liberian security sector. In parallel, the assessment examined potential windows of opportunity for synergies between: the broader SSR process in Liberia; elements of the Joint Programme for Rule of Law in Liberia; and, the prospective multi-annual UN Legislature capacity-building programme. This needs assessment was the first step in DCAF's assistance to UNMIL and UNDP in designing and implementing this capacity building programme, drawing on the capacities of ISSAT and DCAF’s Sub-Saharan Africa Division (SSAD) to do so.
Security Sector Reform (SSR) has become a central component of efforts to overcome the cycle of conflict and the causes of fragility, from Sudan to Sierra Leone and from Serbia to the Solomon Islands. SSR aims to ensure that states are able to provide effective and accountable security and justice services. To be sustainable, security system reform (SSR) must be based on the principles of accountability, transparency, equality, civilian protection, human security, democratic norms and respect for human rights. This suggests that SSR involves long-term investments that must figure prominently in peace operation mandates and in the longer-term peace building and development strategies that continue well after the departure of the initial peace operation. However, as highlighted by the needs assessment conducted by Association for Security Sector Reform Education and Training in 2012, a key challenge faced by the international community is the lack of operational capacity to support Security Sector Reform.
In response to these challenges, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in partnership with the Integrated Mission Training Cell (IMTC) of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), hosted a training in Monrovia, Liberia. The course was facilitated by international experts from the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT). This training was a closed training opened to UNMIL Mission staff.
The five day course used interactive, co-learning methodology aimed at encouraging participants to share knowledge and experience with each other, and to adopt a problem-solving approach through a series of hands-on practical exercises, case studies, simulations and group activities. In addition to general presentations and plenary discussions, the training also made use of guest speakers who shared their personal experience.
The Police Induction Training Project was launched by the Swedish Police in cooperation with UNMIL and DPKO to develop an induction training programme for UNPOL in UNMIL with the view that this programme could serve as a model for other peacekeeping operations. The objectives of the Project were to make UNPOL understand their role in implementing the mission mandate and their responsibility to work in partnership with local counterparts and thereby increase the quality of UNPOL’s work and shorten the time it takes for newly arrived UNPOL officers to commence support to mission operations. The overarching strategic objective of the project was thus to increase the effectiveness of UNPOL’s work in implementing the mission mandate.
A new induction training programme has been implemented in UNMIL since September 2013.
The initial results of the project have been well received by DPKO and they have requested the Swedish Police to explore the possibility of replicating the project in other missions.
Before taking the project further the project needed to be evaluated so lessons can be learned and its usefulness can be assessed. The purpose of the evaluation would be to evaluate if the new training better prepares UNPOL officers for their work in UNMIL and if a similar change in induction training in other missions would be useful.
All the time taking the circumstances and limitations of UN PKOs into consideration.
It is recognized that the ongoing efforts to enhance access to justice and public security in Liberia through capacity building initiatives will not have maximum impact without corresponding efforts to develop institutional capacity. Accordingly, strategic planning processes have been undertaken in Liberia over the last four years, across the justice and security sectors, with a view to identifying key areas for institutional development and how best these weaknesses can be addressed. Whilst progress has been made in the implementation of these strategic plans, accountability and management mechanisms remain underdeveloped and there is consensus that these areas need to be addressed as a matter of urgency so as to improve public trust in the justice and security sectors. Accordingly, this area was developed into a priority project under the Liberia Peacebuilding Programme and Justice and Security Joint Programme and was successful in obtaining PBF funding support. The project provided for reviews of the management and accountability mechanisms of justice and security sector institutions, with an initial focus on the police, prosecution and judiciary. This review was particularly pertinent at this time in Liberia, given development of regional Justice and Security Hubs (also supported by the PBF); effective management and accountability of personnel are essential for the Hubs to achieve their objective of bringing real justice and security services to the communities they serve.