Right-Financing Security Sector Reform

Security sector reform (SSR) in weak and fragile state environments encompasses a broad range of efforts to improve the capacity, governance, performance, and sustainability of the security system. Financial dimensions of SSR include the allocation of resources according to well-defined priorities, both across sectors and within the security system, and ensuring that expenditure is transparent, efficient and effective. Issues of financial management were central to the origins of SSR in the 1990s, and they are no less central to security sector reform today. Yet current SSRstrategies and programming all too often pay insufficient attention to public finance issues. As a result, the medium and long-term fiscal implications of short-run policy decisions are not factored into early post-conflict engagement processes. The negative consequences include unsustainable reforms, the squeezing out of other vital sectors, and, conversely, the under-provision of security. 

This paper argues for the “right-financing” approach to be adopted for the security sector – striking an appropriate balance between current security needs and the goal of building a fiscally sustainable security sector based on realistic resource projections.

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