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SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues Part I: Policy, Concept and Approach

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on 9 March 2017

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Transcript of SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues Part I: Policy, Concept and Approach

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Every few years certain practitioners or policymakers declare SSR dead or irrelevant. Such claims are not only exaggerated but rather evidence shows that overall SSR as a concept and discipline is steadily growing year to year or at worst remaining stagnant. While there are changes in the overall donor landscape, on aggregate the international community has steadily increased its investment in SSR. Equally, SSR is incrementally being embedded in wider development and security agendas, the pool of SSR expertise is steadily expanding, the policy and practitioner debates on SSR have retained their frequency and expanded in outreach to wider development and security communities, and research related to SSR has remained constant.
It is often taken for granted or overlooked that the SSR discipline, concept and approach are relatively new. On the evolutionary scale the policies defining SSR would be somewhere between standing upright and learning how to walk. While many of the foundational principles of SSR have been widely agreed, the nuances of the SSR approach are still being developed, adapted and defined within the global policy framework for SSR. SSR practice and policy continues to evolve in line with continuously changing global security threats, lessons identified from tried and tested approaches to SSR, and shifting priorities of the donor community.

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SSR Today
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• 2005: OECD releases the OECD DAC Guidelines and Reference series on Security System Reform and Governance (link). European Union presents its concept for ESDP support to SSR (link)
• 2006: UN SSR Group of Friends established by Slovakia, showing a growing international concensus on the importance of SSR and signaling a growing desire by a large number of UN Member States in strengthening the role of the UN in supporting SSR. European Commission adopts the European Community Concept for support to SSR (link)
• 2007: First dedicated UN Security Council debate on Security Sector Reform under the Slovak Security Council Presidency. UN Security Council issues the Statement by the President of the Security Council on the role of the UN and UN Security Council in supporting SSR (link). The Presidency Statement signals a growing commitment by the UN and UN Security Council to strengthening its capacity in the field of SSR and to increase UN engagement in SSR. The UN DPKO SSR Unit is formed within the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI).
• 2008: OECD DAC releases the Handbook on Security System Reform: Supporting Security and Justice. First UN Secretary General Report on the Role of the UN in Supporting SSR is released (link). The report serves as landmark document outlining the contours of the UN approach to SSR. ECOWAS enacts the Conflict Prevention Framework with a dedicated component on Security Sector Governance which includes a corresponding Action Plan for implementation (link).

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• 2009: African Union establishes its own SSR Unit.
• 2012: UN publishes its first set of Guidance Notes on SSR (link)
• 2013: African Union adopts its first SSR Policy Framework (link). Second UN Secretary General Report on the Role of the UN in Supporting SSR is released (link). Second UN Security Council debate on SSR is held under Nigerian UN Security Council Presidency.
• 2014: First UN Security Council Resolution on SSR is adopted (link). OSCE Member States develop the OSCE SSR Group of Friends.
• 2015: SSR components are included in Sustainable Development Goals, though SSR is not mentioned explicitly.
• 2016: OSCE releases its Security Sector Governance and Reform guidelines (link). European Union adopts its new comprehensive SSR Policy Framework.

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• 1990’s: Central and Eastern European countries undergo large scale reforms across their security sectors in the pre-accession process to joining NATO and later the European Union. In Sub-Saharan Africa the need for reforms in the security and justice sector are increasingly linked to the development and poverty reduction agenda.
• 2000-2005: first dedicated debates and programmes on SSR begin to emerge. The UK leads the way in Security and Justice Sector Reform agenda and shaping the approach with a investment of over £90 million spent on JSSR programming between 2001-2005 in over 20 countries, a dedicated cross Government Security Sector Advisory Team being established, and a dedicated Security Sector Reform Strategy being developed in 2004.

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Shift towards multilateralism

Growing overall investment in SSR

Increase in number of policy debates

Growing number of guidance notes for practitioners
Investment in SSR
Shift towards multilateralism
Expenditure: Uncertain Future
Measuring Spending
Change in Budget Streams
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Expertise and Capacity
SSR Rosters
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SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues - Part I: Policy, Concept, Approach

Recycling of old policy debates

Standalone approach to SSR

SSR is increasingly viewed and approached as a stabilisation activity by leading donors
• Bilateral donor agencies are cutting down on the number of SSR programmes. Moving to fewer but larger scale SSR programmes.
Growth of ''train and equip'' activities/spending has surpassed SSR funding in areas of management and accountability
• Some bilateral agencies are reducing the number of countries where they provide support.
• Various donor agencies are increasingly channeling SSR support through other donor agencies or multilateral programmes - reducing the administrative/financial burden associated with programme management
• Some donor budgets earmarked for SSR diverted to address global health, migration and violent extremism crises
• Information on overall SSR expenditure remains incomplete

• Rise in the importance of multilateral organisations as direct implementers of SSR programmes - multilateral organisations are increasingly filling in the gap left by bilaterals.
• Overall growth in the number of donors
• Overall international community investment in SSR have steadily grown compared to early 2000s

On aggregate, the overall global financial and technical investment in SSR is steadily growing. Much of this growth can be contributed to growing investments by a handful of donors who have signalled a new political commitment to SSR. This includes the United States through the recently launched Security Governance Initiative, Germany, United Nations and the European Union.
On the other hand, some of the large ‘’classical’’ donors in the field of SSR from 2000-2015, which have traditionally included the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia , and Netherlands, have decreased the number of SSR support programmes and the number of countries where they provide SSR related support. To some extent this shift has been compensated by an increase in larger and longer term SSR programmes rather than more modest efforts spread across more countries.

Some donors, such as Canada and Belgium, have begun political and programming consultations to consider whether going forward they may once again increase their engagement and investment in SSR programmes.

Overall, there is a shift towards multilateralism in SSR. With few exceptions, bilateral donors are reducing the number of SSR programmes and countries where they engage. Multilateral organisations have somewhat covered the emerging geographical, if not resource, gaps by increasing the number of SSR programmes that they support. This is manifested in growing SSR capacities within each institution (eg. UN SSR Unit increases in staffing), investments in a robust guidance and policy framework (eg. UN Security Council Resolution 2151 (2014), EU SSR Policy (2016), OSCE SSR/G Guidance Note, AU TGN (2015)), and growth in the number of SSR programmes being implemented.
There are a number of small sized donors who have moved away from directly implementing SSR related programmes and instead have begun channelling their support through multilateral efforts instead. This includes increasing the number of specialized SSR practitioners deployed to peacekeeping missions or direct financial contributions to programmes implemented by multilaterals. The move towards multilateralism by certain bilateral donors is seen as a means to reduce the administrative burden related to programme management and encourage more coordinated efforts to implementation.

 Example: The European Union has steadily increased its support to SSR reform efforts at national and regional levels. This includes increases in the number and size of EU CSDP missions directly dealing with SSR. As a case in point, the EU Assistance Mission in Ukraine which was launched in 2014 has the quintessential SSR mandate which is directly linked to security sector governance reform efforts in Ukraine. Other examples of recent or ongoing missions with mandates related to SSR include the EUSEC RD Congo. In addition, there are a growing number of large scale SSR programmes funded from the development budget of the EU, including from the European Development Fund (EDF). This includes examples of new budget support programmes in countries such as Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia but also inclusion of SSR reform benchmarks as a determining factor in the disbursement of finances from EU State Building Contracts in countries such as Liberia and others. Overall, both State Building Contracts and Budget Support programmes, which are increasingly used by the EU in support of third countries, aim to directly inject financial assistance to support nationally led and implemented reform efforts. Equally there are a growing number of examples of large scale SSR programmes standard technical assistance support programmes. This includes the PROGRESS project in DRC which is the first large scale investment in Defence reform using EDF funds or a large scale police reform programme in Myanmar. Lastly, parallel global budget lines, including the Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace, have also increasingly funded SSR programmes.
In the period 2014-2016 there have been overall cuts in development funding from various leading donors and in many cases funding earmarked for SSR has not immune from such cuts. The cuts in spending, following relocation of budgets to manage emerging health, migration and violent extremism crises, have seen transfers from long-term programming to more short-term quick impact programmes aimed to strengthen capacity and capability to deal with crises. Given that most donors have programmes that are implemented on 2-3 year cycles, some of the fallout in the spending cuts for SSR programming may appear only after 2016. In addition, there are evident geographical re-prioritisation of focus countries for some of the leading donors. Countries in the Mediterranean region, Sahel, EU Eastern Partnership countries, and the Middle East have seen a surge in donor financing related to border management, migration and even prison reform. In turn, Southern Africa and the Balkans have seen a recent drop in the overall donor investment in SSR.

Overall, with the global commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 16, there is a recognition that donors will need to revisit their financial contributions in areas related to security and justice reform. This will involve developing more sustained long-term efforts, and increasing the scope of engagement related to SSR if significant progress is to be made by 2030 in meeting all the agreed commitments that share SSR goals. With the notion that ‘what gets measured gets done’ it is possible that donors and national Governments may re-prioritise spending related to SSR inline with the various indicators for the SDG targets to ensure positive results. The fallout risk may include other aspects of SSR, which are not captured in the indicators, being de-prioritized.

Going forward, the recent redefinition of OECD DAC expenditure recording criteria for SSR may also influence how overall expenditure for SSR is divided. In this regard, while loosening the criteria for what gets counted as eligible expenditure, fears have been raised during the OECD debates that already limited overall investments in security sector governance issues may be further reduced, and gradually siphoned off, in favour of train and equip activities.

The uncertain contours of what is and what is not SSR has made tracking global expenditure on SSR a difficult undertaking. Various recent attempts to accurately map overall donor spending on SSR have had incomplete or partial results. At times actual expenditure on SSR becomes over-represented giving a false impression of overall spending on SSR. This is partly because there is an overall discrepancy on what gets defined as SSR but also the tendency to lump programmes that include even marginal objectives related to SSR as SSR. As an example, when examining in detail the operational budgets of individual programmes, which otherwise claim 100 percent of the costs under the OECD DAC Code for Security System Management, actual spending on security sector governance issues is heavily outweighed by classic train and equip activities. On the other hand, due to some donors not applying SSR terminology, or using other definitions, (eg. New Zealand and Australia) some of the expenditure that could otherwise be counted as SSR is not recorded.
Traditionally, funding for SSR has for many donors largely stemmed from crisis management or specially earmarked funds for SSR. In recent years there has been a gradual move to fund SSR programming through standard country specific or regional development aid portfolio budget lines alongside mainstays of the development agenda such as health and education. While justice reform, and to a large extent police reform have traditionally been accepted as being part and parcel of the development agenda, there has been a continued reluctance to include defence reform and intelligence reform in the development stream. In the case of the EU the funding of pensions for war veterans in Guinea Bissau and the recently launched PROGRESS programme in DRC on defence reform show that some of the previous reluctance of the development community to engage in this area is gradually being reduced. Similarly, while defence reform has traditionally been excluded from core components of UN peacekeeping mandates due to expertise and capacity constraints of the UN system, there are growing examples of UN SSR activities including governance reform of the defence sector as well.
The number of practitioners who have been sensitized to SSR has significantly expanded
Strengthening of capacity of specialized SSR Units
Little turnover of staff at senior management positions within SSR units
Poor capacity of HQ to provide support to field
Little training for mission leadership
SSR rosters are increasingly becoming disused
As a result of a large number of trainings being provided, whether face to face or online, the number of practitioners who have been sensitized to SSR has significantly expanded. The trainings have, however, largely targeted operational and middle management staff. The need for training and support for mission leadership, including SRSG as outlined in the UNSCR 2151 (2014), have had limited success to date. This has been manifested in inconsistent or only vague senior level policy dialogue on SSR at country level and individual evaluations of programmes frequently citing the need for more senior level political reinforcement of SSR programming.

Considering the relatively short duration of the SSR agenda, there has yet to be a high turnover or change of guard at the heads of SSR components of many of the leading SSR donor and NGO agencies. The relatively low turnover at senior management posts within the SSR Units of the African Union, UN OROLSI, DCAF, Clingandeal and others has brought a consistency to the approach of these organisations. More frequent rotations have occurred within the European Commission and External Action Service, UK Stabilisation Unit, OECD, Swiss Development Cooperation Human Security Division, OSCE and other bilateral institutions. These rotations have been a contributing factor to these organizations applying more variance in approach to SSR over-time.

In recent years there has been specific attention to strengthening the capacity of specialized SSR Units within the HQ of multilateral organisations to help manage the expanding portfolio of SSR programmes. The UN SSR Unit within OROLSI has increased in size and the profile and seniority of the Head of the Unit has been raised from a P-5 level to a D1. The African Union, with financial and technical support from the UN, EU, and Netherlands, has also increased the size and staffing of its SSR Unit. While the EU has maintained only limited dedicated SSR advisors throughout the various Commission and External Service bodies, the establishment of an SSR Unit to support the implementation of the new SSR Policy Framework is being considered.

Across donor agencies there is a long-standing trend towards stagnation or even downsizing of staff at HQ, with fewer staff in headquarters tasked with directly managing programmes or helping to developing policy and operational guidance. In other instances, while the size, complexity and number of SSR programmes has grown, there has been no corresponding growth in the capacity of donor agencies to oversee or support the programmes when needed. Currently, various donor agencies lack capability or expertise to provide troubleshooting support to field based staff when requested, with the only available recourse often being to hire external consultants to provide such support. The challenge, however, has been the inconsistent quality and availability of such third party support.

SSR rosters have been one of the key sources of standing capacity for many donors, including the UK, Norway, Australia, Canada, UN, Netherlands, and organizations such as ISSAT. Yet, with few notable exceptions the rosters have proven to be a difficult administrative undertaking and many of the existing rosters have slowly become disused or have gradually been less important sources of needed capacity. In this regard, the EU SSR roster has become disused altogether.
 Need to review roster frequently to analyse availability, capacity matching changing needs, etc.
 Need to ensure strong recruitment criteria are in place with a multi-layered selection process. This is instrumental in promoting trust in the qualifications of individual roster members and speeds up deployment processes
 Funding for training or sensitization of roster members is often forgotten in budgets, yet is increasingly seen as required to ensure adequate quality of those members, and that once deployed they are familiar with the methodology and principles of the donor agency
 Size matters, need to have a large pool to choose from as availability of roster members is frequently a challenge and contingency plan B,C,D, etc is needed if preferred candidate is not available
 Roster management is time and resource intensive and sufficient dedicated administrative capacity is needed to ensure the roster is updated regularly regarding availability (contractual status) of experts
 Personal contact and familiarity with individuals on the roster by the roster administration helps in understanding qualifications, suitability and strengths of individual members (CV is not enough)
 Roster needs a diversity of profiles and skill sets (eg. mix of technical and development expertise, range of language skills, context and country experience)

Number of dedicated high level policy and practitioner debates on SSR has continued to grow
Debates on SSR have increasingly become specialized
Overall amount of research on SSR has largely remained unchanged from a decade ago
Surge in guidance notes produced
The one off nature of many of the conferences also means that there is little follow up to the recommendations
Impact of guidance, policies and research on practice remains uneven
Dissemination of knowledge and guidance remains a challenge
Policy Debates
While the number of dedicated high level policy and practitioner debates on SSR has continued to grow, their impact on practice has remained uneven. The challenge has been to ensure that the conclusions and findings of the debates are appropriately reflected in guidance, research and in methodology related to SSR programming. This has proven difficult largely because the knowledge shared in such debates commonly remains localized to only those in attendance. The sheer number of events has also largely outpaced the absorption capacity of the practitioner community, dissemination of conclusions has remained poor, and no system for synthesizing the findings across all the debates exists. The one off nature of many of the conferences also means that there is little follow up to the recommendations. As a cumulative result, many of the findings and recommendations get rehashed in various parallel debates without enhancing the overall understanding of what needs to be done.

Debates on SSR have increasingly become specialized. While a decade ago most debates focused on the importance of SSR, today the debates have moved on to analysing country specific challenges or individual components of the SSR agenda.

Since 20016 one of the key forums for driving SSR policy debates within the UN system has been the UN SSR Group of Friends. Under Slovak and South African chairmanship, it has served as a forum for Member States to advocate for SSR within the wider UN systems, debate and review UN capacity and effectiveness in SSR, or simply to share lessons and offer support. In the initial years the SSR Group of Friends proved instrumental in advocating for the creation of a dedicated SSR Unit within OROLSI and greater resources being channelled to SSR. While the hiatus of the UN SSR Group of Friends was roughly in the first three years of its existence it has still remained an active forum. It has also slightly increased in size in recent years. It is notable that the OSCE has also created its own SSR Group of Friends in 2014 and the African Union has also contemplated the idea of creating its own Group of Friends for the past few years.

The overall amount of research on SSR has largely remained largely unchanged from a decade ago. Much of the research is becoming more specialized, focusing on technical or narrow aspects of the SSR agenda. This is explained by the fact that foundational research on SSR, which outlines what SSR is or what it can contribute, has already been largely exhausted.

While previously the focus of literature has focused on identified challenges and opportunities for SSR at country or regional levels, in 2016 there was a notable shift in the number of research initiatives and debates that aimed to identify the impacts of SSR and identifying examples of successful examples of ‘what works’. This stems from the poor documentation of evidence for individual programme outcomes, and emerging questions regarding the overall track record of the SSR agenda over the past decade.

It is common to find that existing SSR policies, whether national or international, have inconsistent influence on shaping or guiding practice. Part of the challenge is that policies are developed using largely generic terminology and tend to generalize SSR concepts and approaches so as to be applicable to all contexts (especially the two ends of the spectrum – stabilisation and highly developed countries). Field staff often note that policies are an HQ initiative and feel they are disconnected from the operational needs and realities. Similarly, amongst the key deficiencies in policies is ambiguity regarding the role, if any, of SSR in conflict and stabilization environments and how SSR relates to emerging issues such as radicalization, illegal migration or terrorismWith the growing currency of the concept of SSR within the security and development communities, juxtaposed with the increased expectation to act quickly in supporting conflict countries (eg. Mali, Libya, Somalia), there is an evident trend for SSR to be applied/miss-applied deeper in the conflict-stabilization-development spectrum. Yet, attempts to apply the developmental concepts of SSR to contexts where even basic governance is lacking, or not-prioritized, has led to scenarios whereby programmes have failed to achieve any notable results. The overall poor results of SSR in stabilisation contexts has to a large extent also given a false impression that SSR overall has had poor results.

In recent years there has been a surge in guidance notes produced by institutions to support staff in implementation. The OSCE (2016), UN, AU and ECOWAS have produced their own guidance notes on various aspects of SSR (eg. ensuring local ownership, addressing governance issues, or engaging with non-state actors). In the absence of any comprehensive survey by users on the guidance notes it is difficult to conclude to what extent such guidance notes are being used. Circulation of guidance to staff in the field has remained a one-off event, with new staff often not being aware that such material is available.

The UN SSR Group of Friends was established in 2006 by Slovakia as a means to promote the SSR agenda within the UN system and to raise the profile of SSR in the UN Security Council mandates and UN development assistance programmes. In 2012 South Africa became a permanent co-chair of the UN SSR Group of Friends. It currently includes 39 members and 3 observers.
Despite most donor SSR policies providing a clear answer, one of the ongoing debates amongst practitioners is whether justice is explicitly or implicitly a core component of SSR, or if it is a complementary and interlinked, yet distinct, discipline. The debate results in greater variance in how individual donors identify the relationship, although overall most SSR policies incorporate justice as part of the SSR concept. While the 2007 OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform clearly includes judicial institutions as part of the security system, the UN Security Council Resolution 2151 (2014) uses language that more clearly differentiates the justice from the security sector. This debate gets periodically rehashed, and there remains an evident disconnect between practice and policy. Justice practitioners (Eg. judges or prosecutors) often argue with the notion that they have a security function while security actors downplay the justice function of security institutions, particularly the police. In practice this unresolved conceptual understanding of justice within SSR has been a leading factor in justice and security being approached through silloed and distinct approaches in programming.

SSR in Stabilisation
• The role of SSR in stabilization has been debated for over a decade. The 2005 UN Presidency Statement includes SSR in stabilization contexts and the OECD DAC Handbook also outlines the importance of SSR in post-conflict contexts, including stabilization. Yet, many practitioners and policymakers have pointed to the overall poor results of SSR in such environments. Rather they note that SSR more comfortably sits in development and transition contexts. Periodically, debates question the suitability of the SSR approach in stabilization, rather advocating for a distinct ‘’SSR lite’’ approach that is more tailored the needs and challenges faced in stabilization contexts. Practice, however, shows that there are increasing number of SSR programmes being tried in stabilization contexts (eg. Mali, Libya, South Sudan) and many donors have transitioned their SSR Units from the development agencies to more stabilisation and crisis management bodies.

SSR, the name
• The appropriate name for ‘’SSR’’ has been a continuous debate, with certain practitioners calling for revision of the terminology and name (eg. Security and Justice Reform; Security System Reform, Security Sector Development, Security Sector Transformation). At times such discussions have been dismissed altogether, with some arguing that they are a distraction from debating the principles and approach embodied in the concept. The term Security Sector Reform remains the most commonly used and referenced name not only by the donor community but also by national Governments and the research community. The decision to use SSR rather than other terminology has always been a compromise between different Member States who advocated for their own preferences in terminology. The compromise was reached with the understanding that the name is less important than the principles and approach which are the defining elements of the discipline. Overall, SSR is most frequently cited in Southeast Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mediterranean region, and in South East Asia while the concept of citizen security is more frequently applied in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

SSR and Donors
o Security Sector Reform: UN, EU, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, AU, Slovakia, Netherlands, Finland
o Security System Reform: OECD

Many of the key policy debates surrounding SSR are cyclical and many of the same themes get debated every few years. This is largely because many of the outstanding questions and uncertainties surrounding the SSR concept and approach remain unanswered in the existing policy framework of SSR. Equally, complementary guidance material produced by individual institutions for practitioners remains ambiguous regarding some of these key issues. In addition, individual donors and organisations, or even various components of individual institutions, continue to disagree on some of the underlying principles and approaches of SSR between themselves.
Future of SSR: Complexity or Simplification
Relevance of SSR
The emerging issues on the SSR policy agenda include conceptualization or definition of how, or even if SSR fits within the contemporary efforts to address the global migration crisis, preventing violent extremism, combatting terrorism, or Urban Security.
Simplifying SSR
Simplifying SSR: approach and scope. Some donors and SSR practitioners have argued that the inconsistent results associated with SSR are partly due to the common tendency for SSR programmes to attempt to do too much, or propose overly complex solutions to basic security needs of the people and the state. The continuous demand on SSR to contribute to addressing threats to global peace and security is increasing the complexity of what SSR aims to deliver. This includes CVE, migration, stabilization, but also calls for greater linkages with prevention of mass atrocities, global health epidemics. In response, some donors are calling for a rebalancing of the SSR agenda, and reverting back to the more basic approaches to SSR that strive to promote more manageable and constrained efforts. Those that prescribe to this view of SSR argue that simplicity in approach better ensures that interventions are in line with the capacity and resources of national institutions to implement the reforms sustainably, without a reliance on long-term donor technical and financial support.

Expanding SSR
Some donors and policymakers have called for expanding the SSR agenda and linking SSR with broader security and development efforts while expanding the application and approach of SSR. As new threats and development challenges arise, and priorities of host Governments and the broader international community shift, there are continuous debates as to how SSR can contribute to such efforts. Most recently this included counter terrorism efforts, combatting violent extremism, and addressing the migration crisis. At programming level, this has meant that programmes have incorporated additional elements or components to programme objectives or activities.

SSR is seen as a development activity, namely in transition countries with already high levels of development. SSR community questioning the relevance of SSR to post-conflict or stabilisation environments
Late 1990's/Early 2000's
SSR is viewed as a global agenda - SSR is argued to be equally relevant in post-conflict as well as development contexts. In practice, SSR remains confined to development contexts but also increasingly applied in peacebuilding environments (eg. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste)
Questions emerge regarding the contribution of SSR to stabilisation contexts. SSR terminology is frequently applied to describe processes being undertaken in countries such as South Sudan, Libya, and Haiti.
SSR debates, terminology and approaches are heavily focused on SSR in stabilisation environments. Within Intergovernmental organisations and bilateral donor agencies SSR is grouped together with crisis management or stabilisation directorates rather than in more development areas (good governance, rule of law, etc). Countries that previously prescribed to the SSR agenda when it was considered as a ''transition or development'' approach increasingly distance themselves from the SSR discourse, with a view that it is not relevant.
SDG, opportunity to rebalance SSR debate as global agenda?
Changing Views
While a decade ago SSR was predominantly approached as a developmental discipline, as reflected in various policy documents and guidance notes, today policy discourse and programming trends are increasingly labelling SSR as a stabilization activity. This trend is evidenced by the responsibilities for resourcing and managing SSR programmes lumped under the purview of units or departments that are labelled as ‘stabilisation units’ or ‘conflict prevention departments’. In this regard, countries that were in a transition or development stage that had previously subscribed to the SSR agenda are currently questioning whether they should associate their respective processes with those being undertaken in stabilization contexts. As a response, various countries are relabelling their SSR processes with terminology such as security sector development or transformation to more clearly disassociate themselves.
Concerted effort is needed to rebalance the SSR debate and discourse, emphasizing that SSR success stories are most commonly linked to countries further advanced in the development spectrum. The commitment to globally addressing SDG commitments, which include a strong SSR component, provides an opportunity to once again promote SSR as a global discipline, relevant to both development and post-conflict contexts.

Overview of History
o Early 2000’s, SSR approached and viewed largely as a development and transition process
 The 2004-2005 UK Security Sector Reform Strategy makes reference to SSR in the context of developing or transitional countries.
o Mid 2000s, SSR approached as a global agenda
 UN Security Council notes that SSR should be incorporated into stabilization efforts
 OECD DAC Handbook on SSR notes a wide range of contexts, including development, transition, and post-conflict, where SSR should take place
o 2010-2014, growth of Stabilisation agenda within SSR
 SSR is increasingly institutionalized under stabilization departments in international organisations and donor agencies
 Debates (eg. Africa Forum 2014) advocate for SSR in post-conflict contexts, including the need to initiate SSR in the early stages of stabilization efforts.
Beyond 2016, opportunity to rebalance debate towards a global agenda again?
 SDGs are a global commitment and under Goal 16 all countries commit to reforming their security and justice institutions

Top 10 Issues on Agenda
 SSR’s contribution to Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) efforts
 SSR contribution on managing and preventing the escalating migration crisis
 Financing of SSR and ODA eligibility of SSR components
 Role and capacity of sub-regional organisations in SSR
 Implementation of SDGs, influence on the SSR agenda, SSR M&E, and financing of SSR
 Implementation of EU SSR policy
 Rebalancing SSR efforts: what about penitentiary and prosecution reform? •
 Border management and SSR, building capacity and approach to meet growing demand Implementation of recommendations from HIPPO report & UN Police Division Review
 Adapting SSR approaches to emerging urbanisation trends and global safer cities agenda

Are all policies the same?
While the underlying principles of the various policies are the same, there are subtle yet important differences in the policies of individual donors that highlight key differences in emphasis and approach. Inherently each policy conforms to the individual needs and priorities of individual organisations and for regional organisations reflect the existing realities. Most of the differences and distinguishing factors are rather in the points of emphasis and elaboration of concepts in each policy:

 AU – strong emphasis on role and importance of non-state actors and local ownership
 UN – Little to no emphasis on Justice, key importance is given to ensuring coordination of efforts
 OSCE – Focus on security sector governance
 EU/OECD – emphasis on sectoral approach
 UK – Linking justice and security, promoting the justice function of policing

Re-inventing the wheel
Tendency to try to re-create approaches, lessons, and good practice
SSR programmes overlook good practice from other development fields
SSR is viewed as exceptional
SSR disconnect from development community
SSR Standalone Approach
SSR practice and approaches have a tendency to re-create the wheel when it comes to structuring programmes, managing implementation or detailing implementation modalities. Often guidance material for SSR or innovations in the field tend to overlook well established good development practice from other development fields, including disciplines such as health and education. These disciplines have decades of experience in building structures, monitoring and evaluation and supporting partners with enhancing service delivery and can provide inspiration to SSR programmes. Part of this stems from the common assumption that SSR is unique and exceptional, because it deals with sensitive issues related to national security and sovereignty. It is also notable that SSR practitioners do not always associate themselves with the development community or lack development experience.
SSR and Security/Development Agenda
 The approach to SSR is gradually shifting towards more integrated approaches, whereby SSR is no longer a distinct and parallel discipline but rather an integral component of broader development or security agendas.
One of the common challenges faced by SSR practitioners and policymakers stems from the reality that SSR sits at the crossroads of the development and security agendas, but does not squarely fit in either. This at times has contributed to the isolation of SSR from wider development or security agenda, created ad hoc approaches to SSR at programming levels. It has resulted in an over reliance on the discretion or initiative of individual desk officers or managers to include SSR programmes in country level strategy papers. It has also contributed to common a false sense of exceptionalism for SSR. Ten years ago SSR was rarely mentioned in leading global development or security agenda, rather SSR was addressed through standalone policies, programmes and strategies. It is clear that more can be done to promote SSR and raise awareness to its important contribution to peace and development. Yet, as a demonstration of the growing acceptance of the importance of SSR there are some promising examples of SSR being integrated into broader development and security strategies and action plans.
Read More
 Sustainable Development Goals: while various Goals and Targets have important links to SSR, SSR components most prominently feature in Goal 16
 2011 World Bank World Development Report: key references noting the importance of implementing SSR
 The 2015 review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which guides a significant portion of the EU development budgets to third countries, specifically integrated SSR as a key objective of the EU in the region. In this regard, even though SSR featured in the country level portfolios of many EU Neighbourhood countries, no reference was made to SSR in the original strategy from 2004. Similarly, it is also anticipated that SSR will become a feature in the revised Cotonou Agreement, which guides EU funding in large parts of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific region. Like the ENP the Cotonou Agreement has no reference to SSR while in practice much of the country level and regional strategy papers and funding portfolios have increasingly featured SSR support programmes.

Integrating Function of SSR
SSR Unit
DDR Unit
Justice Unit
HR Unit
Gender Unit
Police Unit
Corrections Unit
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Interior
Civil Service Commission
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Defence
Anti-Corruption Commission
Who implements SSR?
The tasks and demands on SSR, including the need to address the full spectrum of tactical/operational level reforms to more strategic level reforms across multiple institutions (both state and non-state), make it not only a difficult undertaking but arguably impossible task for any single programme or SSR Unit to take on singlehandedly. Within the donor and practitioner community there is an increasing recognition that a multitude of actors have a contributing role to play in supporting SSR processes. Yet, the challenge has been to mobilize the cumulative capacity of police reform, corrections, defence reform, gender, and other units and programmes to operate in a coherent and coordinated effort based on shared approach and principles. In peacekeeping mission components the SSR agenda is often approached as being within the exclusive purview of the SSR Unit and few other units associate themselves with the SSR agenda/concept.
Cross System Approaches
EU Delegation
Contracted SSR Programmes
CSDP Missions
DPKO Mission
EU Member States
EU Special Representative
Development Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Defence
Development Agency Technical Programme
Ministry of Defence Security Assistance Programme
Ministry of Justice Cooperation Programme
Academic Institutions
Academic Exchange Programme
UN Women
DPKO Justice Unit
DPKO Police Unit
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Typically, ownership of SSR and the SSR policy within Governments remains limited to a few Departments/Ministries, most often including Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Development. Most commonly the Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Finance, Parliaments and Ministries of Internal Affairs (Home Affairs) have little awareness or engagement at the policy level on SSR. Yet, these actors are increasingly engaging in supporting SSR related activities and developing their own policies on police reform or justice reform or providing budgetary contributions. Similarly, the awareness to policies on SSR is usually greatest at the middle management levels of Government. In the bilateral donor community it is common to find that senior levels of management of Ministries are poorly sensitized to SSR concepts and policies. This has contributed to uneven and ad hoc approaches to SSR year to year depending on who the focal points are for SSR, who also frequently change and rotate. Recent attempts in Norway, Germany and Netherlands to provide cross Government sensitisation on SSR have provided positive examples of efforts to build broader ownership of SSR. These efforts are seen as key to promoting more Government wide approaches and better balancing domestic priorities with development ambitions.
Influence of Domestic Agenda
With a growth in the number of Government departments and Agencies directly engaging in development activities related to security and justice, cross-Government coordination and coherence is becoming more challenging, yet also increasingly important and necessary.
With a growth in the number of Government departments and Agencies directly engaging in development activities related to security and justice, cross-Government coordination and coherence is becoming more challenging, yet also increasingly important and necessary. Most notably, this includes reconciliation of contradictory or competing objectives that stem from the differences in development and domestic agenda priorities that are being priorities by the various agencies/Ministries. It is common to find that in high political countries various Ministries have their own direct cooperation programmes alongside those of the development agency. This raises questions whether there is a need for more Government wide country strategy papers that can map all activities within a country and identify any possible contradictory objectives or possible activities that can be mutually reinforcing. Some countries, such as Denmark, have recently begun to develop such Government wide country strategy papers.
To see part II click on the link
To see part III click on the link
To see part IV click on the link
Please note that this tool is under continuous development. At the moment we are still in the early phase of data collection and analysis.
This is intended to be an open tool. We would greatly appreciate any comments, suggestions and contributions (examples, emerging practice, analysis, etc). Please let us know your views on trends, innovations and emerging issues through the ISSAT Community of Practice: http://issat.dcaf.ch/Share
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Much of the knowledge base underpinning SSR practice is fragmented, localized to individual donors, SSR practitioners or even programmes. In the absence of a robust evidence base and investment in global learning and monitoring platforms for SSR, much of what is known about SSR is based on anecdotal evidence or remains scattered through various evaluations or reports that are inconsistently shared in the public domain. This tool is a unique attempt to synthesize, document and collate some of the existing knowledge base on SSR that otherwise would remain in various reports or conference papers. The tool draws information from various ISSAT supported evaluations, assessments, and advocacy events but also reports, findings and lessons identified from the wider SSR practitioner community.

To take advantage of ISSAT’s unique position, working intimately with a large number of the leading actors in the field of SSR, significant effort is made in gathering and synthesizing emerging issues and trends in SSR. This is done to better understand how SSR is evolving and where emerging gaps in practice or effectiveness are forming. As part of this process the ISSAT methodology cell, a group of staff tasked with developing the ISSAT methodology, has focused on streamlining lesson learning throughout ISSAT support activities. ISSAT has institutionalised processes whereby all ISSAT advisory field support, training and advocacy and outreach activities feed into a centralised mapping of the various challenges/trends, emerging issues, and innovations. This includes issues found at the guidance and policy level, the way development partners are supporting SSR, or the common issues found in national SSR processes. The gathered knowledge is progressively synthesized and analyzed by the methodology cell to identify common issues and trends. The analysis is progressively documented and tracked through this database of trends, issues and challenges.

There are 4 sections to the trends, challenges and issues database.
Part 1: Policy, Concept and Approach to SSR (click: http://prezi.com/ldkv2cqvzuwf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)

Part II: Project Design and Formulation (click: http://prezi.com/n9-v8liuvfko/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)

Part III: Project Implementation (click: http://prezi.com/ywvjaxxfx2nk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)

Part IV: Monitoring and Evaluation (click: http://prezi.com/cfg6qbvf0h1d/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)

Two tracks of thinking are emerging regarding the future of SSR: simplifying the SSR agenda to the basics or expanding the SSR agenda based on contemporary needs and emerging issues. Overall, the trend is towards expansion of the outreach and agenda of SSR
Where is SSR today?
How healthy is the SSR agenda today?
Key Trends Across the SSR Discipline
Changing Approach: Institution to Holistic
Growing number of examples of more holistic programming. Gradual move from institution specific approach to holistic approach.
Institution Specific Approach
Police Reform
Prosecution Reform
Prison Reform
Holistic Approach
Civilian Security Sector Reform - EU Advisory Mission (Ukraine)
Criminal Justice Chain Reform - Norway Rule of Law Advisor Mission to Moldova (NORLAM
Security Governance Initiative (USA)
Funding Gaps SSR
• To date there remain very few examples of how the SDG agenda has influenced spending or prioritisation of SSR and its various elements.
Very little of SSR funding targets work with customary and traditional state and justice institutions. In countries that are seeing significant growth in SSR programming (Eg. Mali and Central African Republic) such engagements are very limited or missing altogether.

Global Reach of SSR and Donor Priorities
• Recent decline in overall donor spending on SSR in Balkans, part of Eastern Europe and Caucuses (eg. Moldova, Georgia), and in Eastern/Southern Africa.

Significant growth of SSR programmes and donor funding in this field in Sahel region and Maghreb

Growing examples of SSR programming in Central and South East Asia
The limited evidence base underpinning the impacts and positive influence of SSR on development, conflict prevention, and stabilisation has contributed to the uneven enthusiasm for SSR over time. Much of the success of SSR is based on anecdotal evidence or 2-3 examples of programme impacts that continue to be recycled in debates. Moving forward there is a need to make more concerted efforts at documenting ''what works'' and finding hard evidence of the impacts and outcomes of not only projects but also SSR processes.
Business Case for SSR
SSR Links/Synergies with Train and Equip Programmes
As a response to the sharp growth of internal and regional conflicts, the international community has once again reinvigorated calls for greater spending on ‘’train and equip’’ activities. The growth of such programmes has largely overshadowed the comparably modest growth in SSR programming. In fact, upon closer examination in practical terms even in SSR programming, the common emphasis is on tactical and operational training rather than strategic level engagements and capacity building in areas of security sector management and accountability. In such programmes, governance issues are only one of several pillars of support.
In recognition that the interest in ‘’train and equip’’ is not likely to subside in the near term, SSR policymakers and practitioners have refocused their efforts at more substantively engaging with the ‘’train and equip’’ programmes with the aim of gradually injecting some elements of the core SSR agenda (e.g., governance) into the programmes. In parallel, many of the donors engaged in large scale ‘’train and equip’’ programmes are beginning to institute elements of monitoring and evaluation in the programmes to assess the level of sustainability and impact of the programmes. In addition, some donors are strategically using ‘’train and equip’’ programmes as leverage to gradually move into broader security governance issues.

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While donor funding for SSR has on the aggregate grown compared to 2007, the continued and steady global growth of train and equip programmes for police and military has outpaced investments in SSR
While the support in training and equipment remains critical to addressing immediate security threats, it has questionable sustainability in the long-term without the necessary reinforcement of governance structures to use the increased capability efficiently, accountably and effectively. In many countries that are at the top of the donor agenda, the growing gap between growth in capability (eg. training/equipment) surpasses growth in management and accountability systems. This then is commonly a contributing factor in the limited impact of the growth of capability on the security situation but also in many cases has been one of the contributing factor to growth of human rights violations or corruption within the armed forces.
Operational needs and opportunities change according to how the country develops over time in the conflict to development continuum. Without a doubt in stabilisation and conflict contexts the priority is and should be increasing capability to deal with emerging threats. Yet, too often and for too long donors focus on capability issues even once the country advances towards the point in time where stabilisation ends and transition begins. Train and equip programmes need to be cognisant of the environment where they are operating and adapt once opportunities arise – especially if a window of opportunity arises to engage in strategic issues.
Relabeling train/equip as SSR can eventually influence the extent to which the principles and approach of SSR persist as the defining characteristics of the agenda. There is a fear that relabeling train/equip as SSR can push the wider donor community to viewing SSR as simply meaning anything to do with security. There are also concerns that the constrained and earmarked funding for SSR can be channeled towards or encroached upon by train/equip programmes.
In recent years there have been growing calls within the SSR practitioner community to increase engagement with customary and non-state security and justice providers in SSR programmes. Such actors are recognised as playing an influential and important role in SSR processes in many areas of the world. Today the importance of customary institutions in the SSR process is reflected in emerging policy documents, senior policy level debates, and guidance notes on SSR. Yet, there remains little evidence that such policies and debates have influenced programming or donor funding priorities. There are only a handful of examples of donors substantively providing capacity building support to such customary institutions and even then such engagement is a relatively minor component of the overall SSR funding at country level. Conversely, overwhelming such provision with international support can undermine the systems that exist. Undertaking a thorough ‘Do No Harm’ analysis is key as part of design processes, as well as greater empirical awareness on what works regarding support to this type of provision. Questions on the use of customary justice and security providers and the extent to which any support programme takes that into account could be incorporated into reviews of relevance in programme evaluations.
Non-State Actors
1. Expanding the SSR knowledge base: building the business case for SSR by collecting evidence on the impacts of SSR in development and stabilisation contexts, documenting examples of ‘’what works in SSR’’ in a wider range of contexts and regions, and focusing on sharing and disseminating lessons identified from programmes
2. Rebalancing SSR support away from stabilisation towards prevention/ development – ensuring sufficient funding and focus is provided to supporting SSR in development, fragile and transition contexts.
3. Integrating Human Rights and the Human Rights Based Approach in the heart of SSR agenda.
4. Reviewing the international architecture for SSR: ensuring adequate capacity is available and appropriately trained/qualified for deployment to the field, SSR is integrated across UN/EU/bilateral systems rather than just the responsibility of SSR Units, and understanding how existing structures are adapted to the emerging SSR trends
5. Rebalancing overall SSR support towards security sector management and accountability issues: ensuring sufficient funding and attention is given to these issues.
6. Ensuring political dialogue effectively reinforces SSR programming: political dialogue should openly discuss the extent to which mutual commitments (e.g. donors and host Government) are being met and the extent to which SSR is succeeding.
7. Strengthening the links between financing/public finance management and SSR: understanding how much is being spent on core SSR issues (eg. governance, management, accountability), documenting lessons identified from SSR programmes engaging in PFM, and exploring further opportunities for collaboration between PFM and SSR experts in the field.
8. SSR and the global migration crisis: exploring ways SSR can contribute to prevention, management and resolution of the emerging global migration crisis.
9. Building greater synergies and links between core SSR programming and train/equip programmes: understanding and mapping opportunities for standard train and equip programmes and SSR programmes to become more complementary and coordinated.
10. Building global monitoring frameworks for SSR: with a need to monitor, evaluate and report on the extent to which national governments are meeting their SDG commitments there is a need to ensure national Monitoring and Evaluation capacities are able to collect and track the needed data. Equally, as greater attention is given to early warning and prevention aspects of SSR, there is a need to ensure that at national and regional levels there is sufficient data and analysis available related to the success/failures of SSR processes.
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