Integrating SSR into development frameworks: Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone


Security system reform issues have been integrated into national development frameworks in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Uganda. In Uganda, armed violence and insecurity — particularly in the north and northeast — were identified as primary contributors to structural poverty and inequality. The result was that the Ugandan Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) (2004-08) highlighted existing commitments to regional agreements on security promotion, including small arms control. In Burundi, the government’s 2005 Strategic Framework to Combat Poverty (CSLP) was a deliberate effort to promote post-conflict recovery and was based on a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue of 145 community-based and non-governmental organisations. In Sierra Leone, the recently agreed PRSP (2005-07) shifted planning and programming from direct post-conflict concerns to a more development-oriented agenda designed to promote inclusive civil society participation.

Entry point

In all three cases, the real and perceived threat of escalating armed violence in the so-called postconflict period, and earlier positive experience with small arms control, catalysed a commitment to investing in accountable and responsible security sectors. In Uganda for example, the PEAP was purposefully designed to increase awareness of the costs of armed violence, but awareness also of the positive dividends of military and police reform in relation to the enhanced safety of communities. The Burundi CSLP addresses the need for a permanent ceasefi re with all remaining armed groups, the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, the professionalisation of the security forces, and civilian disarmament. The PRSP in Sierra Leone sought to build on previous successes in relation to DDR and small arms control, and to defi ne the appropriate size, shape and structure of a reformed security sector.

Lessons learned

Ensure a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue — The PRSP, PEAP and CSLP were forged after extensive and inclusive dialogue processes that emphasised the inclusion of SSR priorities in development frameworks. For example, the PEAP focuses specifically on enhancing the justice, law and order sector to improve the security of persons and property, law enforcement, and access to justice. Moreover, it emphasises disarmament and arms control as major contributors to security promotion
and development.

Use an international agency to co-ordinate a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector dialogue —International agencies had the necessary distance from local politics, legitimacy in the eyes of the governments and populations, and resources to foster successful outcomes of the dialogue processes.

Seek to include SSR in development frameworks to enhance commitment — The PRSP, PEAP and CSLP each include concrete commitments and strategies for managing public expenditures to meet poverty reduction and SSR-enhancing goals. This is valued by donors, who provide direct budgetary support.


The introduction of SSR as a priority issue in national development frameworks raised its profile among partner governments and donors. It also provided an opportunity to stimulate a more inclusive public debate on security issues. While progress has been made in some areas, there is still much to be done. Including security issues in development frameworks is an important step, but government and donors then need to ensure that commitments are financed and implemented.


Region(s) or Country(ies)