The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organised an advanced training on SSR from 19-23 September 2016 in Tunis, Tunisia. The course brought together 23 civilian and uniformed participants from the French and Dutch administration working in the region or at Headquarters, as well as representatives from the European Union and the United Nations. Participants from beneficiary countries including Tunisia, Lebanon, Burundi, Ivory Coast and the Palestinian authorities also attended the course. The training was carried out by facilitators from the International Security Sector Advisory Team of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF/ ISSAT).
The course was inaugurated by H. E. Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, French Ambassador to Tunisia, and H. E. Eric Strating, Dutch Ambassador to Libya. Both speakers underlined the importance and timeliness of such a training in the region. Indeed, this was the first time that France and the Netherlands organised an SSR training in the Middle East and North Africa region. The training was concluded by H. E. Hans Van Vloten Dissevelt Dutch Ambassador to Tunisia, and Mr. Vincent Larrouze, Deputy Director and Head of the Division for Democratic Governance and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.
During the training, and through a series of case studies, group work and simulations, participants discussed issues such as good governance, the penal chain, gender and SSR, defence reform, and mentoring and advising. The French and Dutch approaches to SSR, as well as the SSR activities of the International Organisation of the Francophonie were also highlighted. Case studies presented during the course included Mali, Burundi and Libya as well as the SSR activities of the European Union in Tunisia. The diversity and experience of the participants led to rich discussions and experience sharing.
End-course evaluations indicated that 95% of the participants found the course useful. 95% also acknowledged that the training contributed to a better understanding of SSR. Participants praised the interactive methodology of the course and appreciated the sharing of experience by facilitators, guest speaker and participants. Suggestions for further improvement include greater numbers of concrete case studies and a longer course duration.