Fairlie Chappuis

Policy and Research Papers

New Perspectives on Security Sector Reform: The Role of Local Agency and Domestic Politics

This special issue identifies new directions in research on the consequences of international involvement in security sector reform (SSR). Both empirically and theoretically, the focus lies on the so far neglected role of local agency and domestic power constellations. The introductory article maps out different ways to analyse the external-domestic interaction dynamics that structure the often contentious and asymmetric encounters between international and local interests and demands in SSR processes. It makes the case for moving beyond a state-centric approach to the study of security governance in areas of limited statehood and for engaging more closely with the layered, mixed or hybrid security orders that can result from external engagement in domestic reform contexts.

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Security Sector Reform in Times of Democratic Reversal

Due to the close linkage between security sector reform (SSR) and democratization, the latter's volatility has direct implications for SSR strategy. The article identifies possible scenarios for SSR, based on the observation that, in the context of democratic reversals, firstly, some degree of SSR can still be achieved, and secondly, causes for stalled SSR can be determined if we look at a system's distinctive structures. Arguing that a resumption of SSR after democratic reversal has to overcome particular obstacles the authors offer context-specific recommendations on framing SSR, as well as "second-chance" scenarios once a return to the democratization process has been achieved.

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Reconciling Security Sector Reform and the Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping Contexts

United Nations peacekeeping operations are frequently mandated both to protect civilians and to support security sector reform. These mandates implicitly assume that the protection of civilians and security sector reform are complementary and mutually reinforcing. But neither academics nor policymakers have examined how exactly they are related, and past experiences of peacekeeping operations show that there can be friction when the two are pursued simultaneously. A better understanding of both the convergences and the tensions between the two agendas will help peacekeeping operations reduce this friction and improve the security of populations under threat.

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This Issue Brief is the product of a collaboration between the Stimson Center and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

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Gouvernance du secteur de la Sécurité

21.04.2016_experiences ouest africaines

De nombreux efforts ont été déployés afin d’améliorer la gestion défaillante du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest. Mais il ne suffit pas d’instaurer une réforme du secteur de la sécurité (RSS) pour changer de manière radicale, voire transformationnelle, la structure fondamentale du pouvoir et de la gouvernance dans la région. À partir de plusieurs exemples de RSS dans six des pays ouest-africains, l’ouvrage Gouvernance du secteur de la Sécurité : Leçons des expériences ouest-africaines examine non seulement les progrès accomplis par des acteurs nationaux et leurs partenaires internationaux en vue de renforcer la dynamique de la gouvernance du secteur de la sécurité, mais aussi les revers. Rédigée par des spécialistes nationaux, auteurs ayant puisé dans leur expérience personnelle de ces contextes de réforme, l’étude livre des enseignements novateurs et pragmatiques visant à faciliter la mise en oeuvre d’une gouvernance démocratique du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest et au-delà.

Veuillez cliquer sur le lien pour accéder à l'étude Gouvernance du secteur de la Sécurité : Leçons des expériences ouest-africaines.

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The European Union and security sector reform: South Sudan and the challenge of ownership

Security sector reform (SSR) is a cornerstone of the EU's crisis management activities. Africa, along with the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, has received special emphasis in this regard from the EU. Thus, immediately after the independence of South Sudan, the EU deployed an aviation security mission, EUAVSEC South Sudan, within the framework of its Common Security and Defence Policy. The aim of the mission was to contribute to strengthening aviation security, border control and law enforcement under local ownership, in order to raise the standards at Juba Airport to internationally accepted levels. This paper analyses Common Security and Defence Policy engagement in the context of security sector reform in Africa and critically reflects on the implementation of the EU's comprehensive approach in South Sudan. Further, it examines to what extent local ownership could be achieved with regard to EUAVSEC South Sudan.

To access the full article, The European Union and security sector reform: South Sudan and the challenge of ownership, please follow the link provided.

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Local ownership, inclusivity and civil-military synergy in EU external action: The case of EU support to security sector reforms in Mali

The evolution of the European Union (EU) as a security and peacebuilding actor raises questions as to its identity as a largely civilian power alongside the development of its military capabilities. Specifically, a key challenge lies in how its civilian and military capabilities relate to each other as they develop, with increasing expectations from the EU to act effectively across its peacebuilding and conflict prevention interventions. The EU aims to do more to link top-down and bottom-up approaches, but there is currently a lack of focus on the latter. In exploring the challenges and opportunities for the EU to enhance its potential for civil-military synergies in crisis management, the paper takes a holistic whole-of-society perspective, asking questions about the level of inclusivity and local ownership in its approaches. The paper takes a closer look at the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) and European Union Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) as a specific case. Based on the findings, this paper argues the EU could be more effective, especially at the operational level, by taking a more bottom-up approach in the areas of designing, planning, monitoring and evaluating interventions. The EU will need to find ways to better embed its interventions in local realities, for instance by working with local civil society in the EU’s security sector reform efforts, and offering platforms for more civilian oversight and feedback mechanisms. Only then, with a stronger focus on the inclusivity and local ownership aspects of civil and military action of the EU, will it be able to better address the ‘intangible aspects’ of security sector reform.

For full access to the article Local ownership, inclusivity and civil-military synergy in EU external action, kindly follow the link. 

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Laboratoire d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique

L'African Security Sector Network (ASSN) et le Centre de Genève pour le contrôle démocratique des forces armées (DCAF), avec l'aide financière de l'Open Society Foundation (OSF), ont organisé  un séminaire à Dakar (Sénégal) du 26 au 27 avril 2016. Le séminaire était intitulé "Laboratoire d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique".

Moving-from-concept-to-practice-SSR-in-West-Africa
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... Si elle (la RSS) est traitée comme un processus technique soutrait de la sécurité, des réalités socio-économiques et culturelles et politiques nationales, elle ne réussira pas.

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Le laboratoire d'apprentissage était un évènement de deux jours qui rassemblait principalement des experts africains (chercheurs, universitaires, responsables politiques et professionnels) avec une expérience pratique dans le secteur de la sécurité, la réforme du secteur de la sécurité (RSS) et la gouvernance du secteur de la sécurité (SSG) en Afrique. Le laboratoire avait débuté par une session d'introduction qui avait bénéficié de la présence de son Excellence le Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations unies et chef du Bureau des Nations unies pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest (UNOWAS).

Le laboratoire a été divisé en six sessions, dont découle les documents suivants:

Pour soutenir ces réflexions, le document d'information (en anglais) fournit une compréhension de base des concepts SSG / R, les politiques et la pratique.

Au vu des opportunités et défis à la RSS identifiés lors du laboratoire, une session de conclusion a résumé les options et recommandations. Des points d'entrée potentiels pour l'engagement africain et international dans la promotion d'une approche RSS et gouvernance basée sur la reddition de comptes, l'État de droit et les droits de l'homme.

Vous pouvez accéder aux documents via le lien suivant:

Laboratoire d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique.

Ces documents sont également disponibles en English.

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Aligning Protection of Civilians and SSR

Experience from UN peacekeeping

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Security Sector Governance and Reform in Africa | Background Paper

Concept note Learning Lab ASSN OSF DCAF
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Outdated legal frameworks, under-capacitated parliaments, and submissive judicial authorities fail to provide the oversight, transparency or accountability that is required to protect human rights and uphold the rule of law. 

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What is difficult about SSR in Africa? On one level, the framing conditions are undoubtedly challenging. Change of the kind that SSR aims for is measured in decades – even generations – rather than the months or years that measure national political cycles or donor programmes. Moreover, in most contexts the resources to support transformational change have also been scarce, whether human, material, technical or financial. On a more fundamental level, SSR is highly political and context-specific. If it is treated as a technical process abstracted from national political, security, socio-economic and cultural realities, it will not succeed.

There are also undoubted weaknesses and gaps in current SSR approaches. Different understandings of what SSR involves and who it concerns have led to flawed interventions that bred mistrust and suspicion, including between national and international understandings of reform.

The fact remains that freer and fairer democratic societies require more accountable and more effective security provision. In spite of the factors that limit progress in SSR, experience has shown that important progress can be made when internal and external support for reform align at opportune moments for change. New legal architecture for state security provision, fairer and more inclusive security recruitment, broader-based access to justice, more efficient management and oversight, and increased public scrutiny of security affairs are examples of reform that mark valuable progress in security governance. Moreover, progress can materialise in unexpected and intangible forms; thus, some of the most catalytic changes in people’s experiences of security have flowed from apparently subjective shifts in attitudes towards things like more inclusive security policy-making, greater sensitivity to human rights in security provision, or a strengthened resolve among overseers to make the most of their legal authority.

The ‘Learning Lab on Security Sector Governance and Reform in Africa’ drew on the experience of academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners in this field in order to explore these challenges and identify ways to move forward in spite of them. To support these reflections, this Background Paper provides a baseline understanding of SSG/R concepts, policies and practice. It then considers key challenges for SSR in Africa before assessing programming gaps and potential entry points for engagement. This Background Paper is complemented by six Think Pieces, which intended to help shape discussion during the different sessions of the Learning Lab.

Access all material related to the ‘Learning Lab on Security Sector Governance and Reform in Africa’ to find out more.

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Encourager un débat ouvert: le rôle fondamental de la société civile et des médias dans la bonne gouvernance de la sécurité

Ce document de réflexion, élaboré par Fairlie Chappuis (DCAF) pour le Laboratoire d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité en Afrique, vise à encourager un débat ouvert sur le rôle fondamental de la société civile et des médias dans la bonne gouvernance de la sécurité ainsi que les défis auxquels ils font face. La société civile, sous-entendu tous les groupes qui s’impliquent de manière volontaire dans une action collective dans l’intérêt public, a un rôle essentiel à jouer afin de faire en sorte que le secteur de la sécurité fasse preuve de responsabilité et de transparence et qu’il réponde aux préoccupations de la population. Ce document met en lumière plusieurs facteurs communs aux divers contextes africains qui entravent la capacité de la société civile et des médias à jouer leur rôle de levier. S’ensuit divers points d’entrée pour des actions qui peuvent aider à aligner les valeurs portées par la société civile et les médias aux principes de la gouvernance démocratique de la sécurité, du respect des droits de l’homme et de l’état de droit.

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