1. This paper is written as a background paper to the 9-10 April 2008 conference on Whole-of-
Government Approaches (WGA) to Security System Reform (SSR).1 The theory of realising a WGA
to SSR is no rocket science. In practice however, it has proven to be a difficult and politically
challenging endeavour, on which a body of experience is building.2 The paper aims to capture that
body, and to identify apparent gaps in the accumulated knowledge and practice thus far. In this way, it
seeks to stimulate discussion on current issues and challenges.
2. The paper focuses on WGA to SSR issues encountered at the level of donor capitals and
headquarters of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), discussing field level issues where they relate
to headquarters level. As far as possible the perspectives of both bilateral donors and IGOs are
reflected, although for the sake of brevity with a slight bias to bilateral donors. The paper builds on the
idea that bilateral donors and IGOs struggle with similar WGA issues, hence the lessons for bilateral
donors will, with some adjustment, also be useful for IGOs.