Conflict and Fragility

Security Sector Reform as a Strategic Policy Tool
17 Jun 2021 14:00 - 16:00
Bron: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Traffic police officer regulating the traffic at intersection Jalan Pudu© CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

This event was organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs. Senior Research Fellow Erwin van Veen is the moderator.

The prevalence of armed groups in many fragile and conflict-affected states – including in the Middle East – continues to make Security Sector Reform (SSR) an important policy concept and tool. The essence of SSR is to gradually improve prevailing levels of basic safety and security by professionalizing oversight, governance and performance of security actors. These can be very diverse. Such security actors can be part of the state, somewhat part of the state or not be part of the state; they can operate formally and more informally; they can privilege certain constituencies or actively threaten others. So, in many cases professionalization through SSR requires difficult compromises, accommodation of elite interests and working with unsavory groups - from a human rights perspective. Yet, greater consolidation of the means of violence is an important contributing factor to enable national development.

In this broadcast, Erwin van Veen facilitates a discussion about a number of trade-offs inherent in SSR that have to do with the duration of the engagement, the often dubious role of the state in providing security, how donors frame and select security priorities in relation to other stakeholders, and how a focus on greater capability can go together with a focus on better governance.