Policy and Research Papers
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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Security is not only a central issue for Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development, it has critical implications for the country’s management of its public finances. This paper by Peter Middlebrook, Nicole Ball, William Byrd and Christopher Ward, reviews Afghanistan’s security sector from the perspective of public finance management (PFM) and development. The Afghan security sector must be integrated into all aspects of the country’s PFM system and subject to all budgetary and fiduciary processes.
Security impacts the gamut of development issues faced by Afghanistan, ranging from state building and capacity development to revenue collection, security delivery and encouraging private sector-led growth. Both the Afghanistan government and external partners highlight security as a key enabling factor for the country’s growth and development. There is a critical need for reliable security to allow the Afghan people to conduct their daily lives in relative safety.
The Afghan security sector accounted for 40% of the country’s national budget as well as external assistance during the years under review, and raises major public finance management issues. In view of these issues, the Government of Afghanistan requested that the World Bank (WB) include the security sector in its PFM Review. This paper is one of five volumes comprising the WB Review titled “Afghanistan: Managing Public Finances for Development”.
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