Security Sector Reform: Vital for Peace and Development

Signing of agreements as part of a judicial reform process in the Republic of Georgia. Copyright: Michael WiederholdThere has been a growing rec­og­ni­tion in the inter­na­tio­nal commu­nity in recent years that secu­rity sec­tor reform (SSR) is a key pre­requi­site for peace, respect for and pro­tec­tion of human rights, and sus­tainable de­velop­ment. The aim is to en­force the state's mono­poly of force and bring about demo­cratic control of the secu­rity sector.

Supporting security sector reform in developing and transition countries is not only a task for international foreign and security policy; it is also a field of action for development policy. The aim of this support is to integrate the entire spectrum of security needs in the interests of "human security". In fragile states in particular, human security is under threat in many different ways: in most cases, the state's institutions are no longer capable of protecting the population from violence, and the delivery of basic social and economic services is also no longer guaranteed. The aim is therefore to transform the state's entire security system in a process which involves all stakeholders, and gear the system more strongly towards democratic norms.

International support

The United Nations and NATO have made support for such reforms an established part of their security strategies. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has declared security sector reforms a central task of development cooperation.

The European Union, too, has developed concepts for a coordinated, sustainable and effective European approach to reforming the security sector.

With its Action Plan "Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace-Building", the German government is making its contribution to the implementation of the European Security Strategy. This Strategy explicitly recognises security sector reform as an important step towards democracy and the rule of law, and pledges support for reform efforts in partner countries.

An Interministerial Framework Strategy to Support Reform of the Security Sector in Developing and Transition Countries has also been drawn up. Its purpose is to improve the effectiveness and coordination of activities relating to the security sector.

All these activities are closely coordinated between the BMZ, the Federal Foreign Office, and the Federal Ministries of Defence, the Interior and Justice. The German contributions are also dovetailed with measures being undertaken by the European partners and the international community.

German development cooperation in action

Examples of the BMZ’s involvement in the field of SSR are:

  • support for governments in the development of security strategies

  • provision of advice on constitutional reforms

  • advising on the development of a justice system in line with the rule of law

  • preparation of training and professional development strategies for the police

  • development of training and professional development strategies for the integration of ex-combatants into the workforce

  • supporting the reintegration of child soldiers

BMZ glossary

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