Policy and Research Papers

La Réforme du Secteur de la Securité en la République Centrafricaine: Quelques Réflexions sur la Contribution Belge à une Expérience Originale

Du 14 au 17 avril 2008, la République centrafricaine a connu un événement qui a été qualifié d’historique par ses participants, la tenue d’un séminaire national sur la réforme du secteur de la sécurité. Pour la première fois de son histoire, le pays a en effet vibré au rythme d’une discussion et d’une analyse fouillée sur un sujet des plus sensibles dans un contexte de sortie de conflit récent : celui du secteur de sa sécurité, et des réformes qu’il requiert à court, moyen et long termes.

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Political Guidance on Ways to improve NATO’s Involvement in Stabilisation and Reconstruction

At their meeting in June 2010 Defence Ministers tasked the Council in Permanent Session
to prepare political guidance on ways to improve NATO’s involvement in stabilisation and
reconstruction for review by Ministers in October 2010, taking into account related strands
of work. This paper responds to that tasking. It offers political guidance that NATO should
follow when stabilisation and reconstruction requirements are expected to be part of a
future operation. It thus provides the basis for further work to be done by NATO staffs and
militaryauthorities inthefieldof stabilisationandreconstruction,andwillalsoinformNATO’s
ongoing HQ and command structure reforms. The guidance should also be used to inform
and guide the conduct of current operations. It should also contribute to and complement
the work on the response to the tasking by Heads ofState andGovernment to report at their
next Summit on further progress with regard to the implementation of the Comprehensive
Approach Action Plan and NATO’s ability to improve the delivery of stabilisation and reconstruction effects as part of the international community’s efforts and NATO’s intrinsic contribution to a civil-military approach.

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Tintin is no longer in the Congo – A Transformative Analysis of Belgian Defence Policies in Central Africa

This study examines Belgium’s involvement in Central Africa over the last two decades, with a particular focus on the role of the Belgian Defence. The objective is twofold: on the one hand to analyse Belgium’s changing policies towards its former colonies during the last twenty years, and on the other hand to take an in-depth look at the military collaborations on the ground and establish an empirical and practical take on what role they fill, how they function and what aims they achieve through interviews and field observations. The analysis is made through the adoption of a transformative approach which includes evolutionary explanation factors, such as national political-administrative history, culture, and style of governance and static factors like national polity features, visible in constitutional and structural factors.

The author argues that the divided nature of Belgian internal politics, which is noted both in its polity features and its political-administrative history, influences its foreign policy towards Central Africa in an inconsistent manner. This is exemplified in the absence of a long-term strategy for the region. Yet, Belgium shows a strong desire to remain involved in the region, which, in the absence of a comprehensive and coherent strategy, results for the most part in a variety of one-dimensional short-term projects. It is recommended that Belgium, as one of the most trusted partners in the region, exploit its expertise in a more efficient manner and develop long-term three-dimensional projects, involving the three D’s (Defence, Diplomacy and Development), which would both benefit the reform processes under way in the partner countries, and Belgium’s visibility in the latter.


Liberia: Uneven Progress in Security Sector Reform

Little more than five years ago, Liberia was emerging from fourteen years of brutal war and pillage that had left it in ruins. today, it has a democratically elected president, and the security sector is experiencing reforms that are unprecedented not only in the country, but in the world. Under cover of a 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force, it drew both its army and defence ministry to zero, in order to recruit, vet and train the personnel for these institutions from the ground up. Such "root and branch" security sector reform (SSR) was bold. But, given the many abuses perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) both before and during the civil war, the vast majority of Liberians supported it.


Putting people at the heart of security: Reviewing approaches, exploring solutions

Saferworld organised a roundtable in Brussels titled 'Putting people at the heart of security: reviewing approaches, exploring solutions'.

Victoria Walker, ISSAT's Deputy Head and Senior SSR Advisor on Governance attended this meeting which brought together experts from EU institutions and Member States, international organisations, think tanks and civil society to share experiences and lessons about security sector reform and the extent to which such processes have been able to improve human security. The meeting was also an opportunity to explore innovative approaches to enhancing people's security, including community security.

This event was part of a wider process to catalyse an informed discussion at the EU level on how community security can help support the realisation of peacebuilding and statebuilding objectives. As part of this, we encourage you to get in touch if you would like to find out more or share your comments and thoughts.

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Why Belgium needs a Special Operations Command

As Europe confronts a rapidly deteriorating security environment, policy-makers are turning to their elite soldiers to save the day. This Security Policy Brief by Egmont - the Royal Institute for International Relations makes the case for setting up a Special Operations Command within the Belgian Defence establishment. Building on the legacy of the paracommando regiment, special operation forces deliver high readiness, flexibility and discretion. As the proverbial tip of the spear, they lead the way in regenerating the Belgian armed forces.

For full access to the Security Brief about Why Belgium needs a Special Operations Command, kindly follow the link.


Arms Brokering Controls and how they are implemented in the European Union

The fight against illegal arms transfers requires regulation and an effective monitoring of arms brokers. Their business primarily consists of facilitating and arranging transactions in exchange for compensation or material recompense. Indeed some of them manage to circumvent existing controls by exploiting different national regulations or conducting their activities from countries where controls are weak or non-existent.

In 2003 the EU member states took an important initiative by setting a harmonized system of control of arms brokers. With the adoption of a European Common Position they introduced controls on brokering activities taking place on their territories. Yet, six years later, all EU member states still have no legislation on arms brokering, while others need to adapt their national legislation to EU standards. Furthermore this European instrument reflects minimum standards which currently appear insufficient to effectively fight against ill disposed brokers.

This report reviews the extent to which EU member states implement the Common Position on arms brokering and suggests some improvements for a better control on brokering activities and an effective fight against illegal arms transfers. One section of the report also considers a major gap in the national regulations: extraterritorial controls on brokering activities. Finally, the report presents the case study of the Belgian legislation on arms brokering.


The Niger-Mali Border: Subordinating Military Action to a Political Strategy

A new insurgency is developing along the Niger-Mali border. Jihadist groups, including a local Islamic State branch, have established a foothold in the region, exploiting recent instability in neighbouring Mali and insecurity that has plagued border areas for decades.

Efforts to curtail jihadists’ expansion have involved mostly military operations, but their results thus far have been unconvincing. Western powers’ overwhelming focus on counter-terrorism has neglected other factors of instability, and their backing of non-state armed proxies has stoked intercommunal conflict and arguably played into militants’ hands.

The Nigerien government should adopt a more political approach including reconciliation among communities, dialogue, even with militants, and pardons for insurgents who have committed no serious crimes. Western partners should subordinate their military operations to such an approach, which would be more in tune to local needs.

For further reading article on The Niger-Mali Border: Subordinating Military Action to a Political Strategy, please kindly follow the link. 


Belgian Special Forces in the Sahel: A Minimal Footprint with Maximal Output?

In a shifting geopolitical context, the Belgian Defence has intensified its presence in the Sahel region and developed a new strategic military collaboration with Niger through Operation New Nero. This policy brief critically examines the strategy and identifies three challenges for the future of the operation: Niger’s democratic development, the asymmetry between the Western Partner Nation’s capabilities, and diverging agendas within the Belgian Defence. To counter these challenges, it is suggested that the minimalist approach and the social networks which enable horizontal collaboration among partners are maintained, while new civil-military opportunities are explored. On a broader level, it is recommended that Belgium aligns its political and military agendas to achieve longterm strategies geopolitical regions of importance.

Please follow the link provided to access the full paper, Belgian Special Forces in the Sahel: A Minimal Footprint with Maximal Output?


Mapping Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces

DCAF's newest addition to its SSR series has just been published, co-authored by Albrecht Schnabel and Marc Krupanski and titled "Mapping Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces." It is widely assumed, at least from a Western perspective, that the armed forces provide national defence against external threats. In reality, within many consolidated Western democracies the armed forces are assuming an increasingly wide range of internal roles and tasks. These can include domestic security roles and the provision of humanitarian assistance in situations of natural or humanitarian catastrophe, often under the command and control of different civilian agencies. This SSR Paper seeks to make sense of this complex reality. Different internal roles of armed forces are analysed, drawing on the cases of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Through carefully examining evolving internal roles and identifying patterns and lessons from these experiences, this SSR Paper provides an important contribution to understanding the evolving nature of contemporary armed forces.


Making Sense of a Francophone Perspective on Peace Operations: The Case of Belgium as a Minofrancophone State

Using a probabilistic method to shed light on the effective use of the French language in the so-called Francophone states, the article argues that Organisation internationale de la Francophonie(OIF) membership is not a reliable marker of French-language proficiency for countries contributing to peace operations. It further dismisses the assumption that sending peacekeeping personnel from Francophone countries automatically improves the efficiency of peace missions deployed in Francophone areas. The Belgian participation in the UN peace operation in Lebanon is used as a case study to test the empirical validity of the former arguments.

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The Role of Parliament in Police Governance

As the primary agency for law enforcement, the police operates at close proximity to the public and exerts significant influence over the security of individuals and communities through its behaviours and performance. Therefore, ensuring accountability of both the individuals and institutions of the police is a fundamental condition for good governance of the security sector in democratic societies. The parliament, as the highest representative body in a democratic system, plays a significant role in maintaining police accountability.
The objective of the edited volume on “The Role of Parliament in Police Governance: Lessons Learned from Asia and Europe” is to put forward good practices and recommendations for improving police accountability, with an emphasis on the strengthening of the role of parliament in police governance. The comparative analysis includes insights and lessons learned from eight country case studies including Belgium, Germany, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Philippines, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The findings of the cases studies can be taken into account when analysing and considering options for improving the accountability of the police to parliament as well as strengthening independent oversight bodies and parliament-police liaison mechanisms. However, it must be emphasised that these good practices always need to be adapted to the exigencies of the local context.


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United Nations Liaison Office for Peace and Security-Newsletter Issue 5

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