Security Sector Reform (SSR) has become a central component of efforts to overcome the cycle of conflict and the causes of fragility, from Sudan to Sierra Leone and from Serbia to the Solomon Islands. SSR aims to ensure that states are able to provide effective and accountable security and justice services. To be sustainable, security system reform (SSR) must be based on the principles of accountability, transparency, equality, civilian protection, human security, democratic norms and respect for human rights. This suggests that SSR involves long-term investments that must figure prominently in peace operation mandates and in the longer-term peace building and development strategies that continue well after the departure of the initial peace operation. However, as highlighted by the needs assessment conducted by Association for Security Sector Reform Education and Training in 2012, a key challenge faced by the international community is the lack of operational capacity to support Security Sector Reform.
In response to these challenges, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in partnership with the Integrated Mission Training Cell (IMTC) of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), hosted a training in Monrovia, Liberia. The course was facilitated by international experts from the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT). This training was a closed training opened to UNMIL Mission staff.
The five day course used interactive, co-learning methodology aimed at encouraging participants to share knowledge and experience with each other, and to adopt a problem-solving approach through a series of hands-on practical exercises, case studies, simulations and group activities. In addition to general presentations and plenary discussions, the training also made use of guest speakers who shared their personal experience.
The Police Induction Training Project was launched by the Swedish Police in cooperation with UNMIL and DPKO to develop an induction training programme for UNPOL in UNMIL with the view that this programme could serve as a model for other peacekeeping operations. The objectives of the Project were to make UNPOL understand their role in implementing the mission mandate and their responsibility to work in partnership with local counterparts and thereby increase the quality of UNPOL’s work and shorten the time it takes for newly arrived UNPOL officers to commence support to mission operations. The overarching strategic objective of the project was thus to increase the effectiveness of UNPOL’s work in implementing the mission mandate.
A new induction training programme has been implemented in UNMIL since September 2013.
The initial results of the project have been well received by DPKO and they have requested the Swedish Police to explore the possibility of replicating the project in other missions.
Before taking the project further the project needed to be evaluated so lessons can be learned and its usefulness can be assessed. The purpose of the evaluation would be to evaluate if the new training better prepares UNPOL officers for their work in UNMIL and if a similar change in induction training in other missions would be useful.
All the time taking the circumstances and limitations of UN PKOs into consideration.
It is recognized that the ongoing efforts to enhance access to justice and public security in Liberia through capacity building initiatives will not have maximum impact without corresponding efforts to develop institutional capacity. Accordingly, strategic planning processes have been undertaken in Liberia over the last four years, across the justice and security sectors, with a view to identifying key areas for institutional development and how best these weaknesses can be addressed. Whilst progress has been made in the implementation of these strategic plans, accountability and management mechanisms remain underdeveloped and there is consensus that these areas need to be addressed as a matter of urgency so as to improve public trust in the justice and security sectors. Accordingly, this area was developed into a priority project under the Liberia Peacebuilding Programme and Justice and Security Joint Programme and was successful in obtaining PBF funding support. The project provided for reviews of the management and accountability mechanisms of justice and security sector institutions, with an initial focus on the police, prosecution and judiciary. This review was particularly pertinent at this time in Liberia, given development of regional Justice and Security Hubs (also supported by the PBF); effective management and accountability of personnel are essential for the Hubs to achieve their objective of bringing real justice and security services to the communities they serve.
Norway and Sweden have requested ISSAT support to carry out an SSR Assessment in Liberia with a view to providing recommendations on how these two countries can best contribute to the SSR process in Liberia.
The assessment focused on two key aspects:
- Potential areas/sectors for Swedish/Norwegian support.
- Funding mechanism s in place that could potentially be used by Norway and Sweden to support Liberia’s SSR efforts.
To address these two issues, ISSAT considered the following sub-questions:
- What are the challenges and opportunities for SSR in the short term (2012-13), medium term (next 5 years) and long term (10-15 years)?
- To what extent are current donor engagements, including Norway’s and Sweden’s, addressing the above challenges and opportunities?
- How can additional support complement and strengthen ongoing initiatives?
- Are the funding mechanisms in place in Liberia efficient, and do the activities they support sufficiently address the Liberian people’s needs for access to security and justice?
- How can the joint collaboration between Norway and Sweden in SSR bring about synergies and maximize resources/results?