Conflict and Fragility


Three trade-offs a German SSR strategy needs to address

01 May 2018 - 10:50
Source: Tobias Nordhausen/flickr
No way out: three trade-offs a German SSR strategy needs to address

The full text of this commentary can be found on peacelab, a project of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI), that runs a blog series to inform the drafting of a new German security sector strategy.

It is time to go beyond the rhetoric of governance and ownership. A good SSR policy lays out how SSR initiatives can achieve a balance between short-term security- and long-term governance improvements; between operational work and political strategy; and between achieving results and working adaptively.

Security Sector Reform (SSR) aims to bring about greater levels of ‘human security’, referring here to the safety that ordinary citizens perceive and experience in their daily lives. It usually focuses on fragile states because it is here that insecurity is greatest and a key barrier to development. ‘State security’ in the classic sense is less relevant because conflict between fragile states is rare. The level of human security in fragile countries tends to be a function of the priorities, accountability and effectiveness of the totality of actors capable of exercising coercive force. Ideally, SSR initiatives support such actors to deliver on citizen priorities, develop functioning forms of accountability and realize performance improvements.