SSR as a (conflict) prevention tool

07/08/2015 @ 14:06
by Petra van Oijen

In discussions with counterparts in the Netherlands (in particular the Ministry of Defence), I came across the question "what is the link between SSR and conflict prevention strategies?". Does anyone have information on this topic? For example:

1) Recent background documents that describe such a relationship

2) Concrete practical examples that clearly show the prevention aspect of SSR

Thank you!


11/08/2015 @ 17:10
by Victoria Walker

Hi Petra, 

When it comes to seeing JSSR through a preventative lens, there is a lot to be learned from the approaches to citizen security being promoted by the Inter-American Bank. They have prevention as a fundamental cross-cutting principle. 

You can find more information on some of there work at the following links:

Overview of its institutional and preventative approach:,1200.html 

Citizen Security Conceptual Framework and Empirical Evidence: 

Citizen security clinics:,7959.html 

12/08/2015 @ 17:46
by Anicia Lala

Dear Petra,

There is an old article by Owen Green that offers a good insight on the connections between SSR, Conflict Prevention and Regional Perspectives.

A lot has evolved on those themes (although perhaps not in an integrated way), including from a policy development point of view in the last decade.  For example, on regional perspectives the ECOWAS Peace and Security architecture anchors its steps towards the approval of the draft Regional Framework for SSR and Governance under the rationale that SSR contributes to conflict prevention and sustainable development.  The ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (2008) has fourteen components through which to materialise its objectives, and one of them is security governance, which is at the core of SSR business.

In terms of operational prevention or rather crisis management in which SSR tends to be associated with stabilisation measures, there is an input towards conflict resolution.   However with regard to structural prevention (more geared to transforming politics, institutions and behaviours so as to prevent violent conflict or at least avoid re-occurrence of conflict), SSR has a strong contribution to make within a long-term framework of governance reform, improving not only the management and effectiveness of security institutions, but especially in building internal and security external oversight mechanisms. Transformation of institutional and individual behaviour within security institutions, advance hand in hand with the level of effort awarded to developing security governance and oversight mechanisms.  This as we know has been the relegated component of most international programming on SSR, and therefore the dearth of the concrete practical examples you are asking for.

For a recent analysis on the relation between conflict prevention and SSR, tying–in aspects of operational and structural prevention, I would also advise you to look at this more recent piece on Yemen:

A mission we have completed on documenting the work of the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme (ZPSP) shows the centrality of the use of conflict-sensitive approaches and conflict analysis tools in endeavors aiming at the transformation of the security sector. The ZPSP has been creating spaces for constructive engagement between polarised state and non-state security stakeholders through carrying out consultations and dialogue workshops, as well as capacity-building initiatives on SST. They have mainstreamed, throughout the different initiatives, the use of mediation methodologies, tools and practices to build trust between security actors that otherwise have a long history of antagonism.  One of the interviewed mentioned that ZPSP started addressing conflict resolution between the different security stakeholders, but that as time went by and these mixed groups began to know each other better, a conflict prevention lenses emerged.  According to him levels of tension and conflict were being reduced over time, and a common understanding of SST through the lenses of human security was forged, with everyone understanding their different role and level of contribution towards SST.

With regards to your question, this speaks to the inverse relation, i.e., the utility of conflict resolution and conflict prevention tools for building the ground for SST.  It also offers an insight over how SST processes can potentially offer a window into wider societal conflict transformation.

I hope this is helpful,






03/09/2015 @ 18:31
by Petra van

Thank you for your comments! I will have a closer look at the various links.

17/12/2015 @ 12:17
by Thammy Evans

Oh, and here is the associated blog on SSR and Conflict Prevention.