In the Central African Republic, the committee in charge of organizing the “National SSR Seminar” – the Comité Préparatoire – was supported by UNDP. The Comité was in charge of research and document preparation, including gathering lessons from the threat assessment and supporting the information and awareness-raising campaign via consultation meetings in Bangui and five provinces. The Comité was also responsible for practical and logistical arrangements for the seminar. As the Comité undertook this intensive work, two main challenges emerged. First, staff members were only partially detached from their ministries or civil society organizations. This resulted in a prioritization of their other duties rather than the short-term mission they had been asked to complete within the Comité.
Second, a number of the members were very senior – often former ministers – and were therefore reluctant to undertake the large number of (even basic) tasks required by the Comité’s mandate. UNDP and other international experts assisted the Government in overcoming these challenges: in highlighting the importance of the work of the Comité to high-level political actors, they garnered support for secondments of staff to the Comité.
UNDP also provided training and seconded secretarial staff to the Comité to increase the body’s administrative capacity. The provision of advice and sensitization on the need to carefully consider the membership of such committees paid off when the Secrétariat Technique Permanent (that replaced the Comité Préparatoire following the National SSR Seminar) was assigned full-time staff for its mandate, thus enabling it to fully support implementation of the security sector reform activities agreed at the Seminar.