Introduction to Security Sector Reform

20/06/2016 - 24/06/2016

Target country

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.

Target organisation type(s)

Mandate outputs / products

Greater awareness of SSR for UNMIL staff on mission. 

Outcome objectives of mandate

At the end of the course, participants are able to:


  • Build a practical understanding around the key characteristics (1-2-3) of SSR based on debate and discussions,  exercises and case studies;
  • Identify key lessons and latest trends from practical SSR experiences;
  • Examine various aspects of SSR including justice, police and defence reform and the interlinkages between these components;


Target Audience:

The participants are a heterogeneous group made up of UNMIL Mission staff. Their experiences cut across. They are mostly from the Legal and Judicial Sections, Security Section, Civil Affairs advisory and Human Rights. While the participants who are international staff may have a fair knowledge of SSR, national staff may not have much knowledge in the subject matter.

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Specific Lessons Identified