Financing Security Sector Reform: A Review of Official Development Assistance Data

Major aid donors and international organizations have become increasingly more involved in efforts to reform the security and justice institutions in developing countries over the past 20 years. Emerging doctrines on security sector/system reform (SSR) have attempted to systematize these efforts. The goal of international support for SSR has been defined as helping countries
meet their security and justice challenges in a manner consistent with democratic governance. There have been difficulties, however, in putting these principles into action.

A lack of data is one of the main challenges for researchers and practitioners attempting to conduct comparisons and extract lessons to advance the debate over the suitability of the current SSR model. The existing data is not sufficient for making conclusions regarding the overall pattern of SSR expenditure — it needs to be supplemented with data that captures external assistance to projects and programs that are not accepted as developmental. The size of external support for SSR activities is an essential element in conducting policy evaluations, and the focus of the paper, which suggests that many agencies discuss the effectiveness of SSR programming without having a system for tracking SSR assistance.

The paper considers the data typically given to indicate that international support for SSR has increased, along with the context of the data collection, which often results in incomplete data. Data tracking of all SSR contributions is required in order to obtain a clearer picture of external support for SSR and evaluate policy effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, thereby improving reform efforts across countries.

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