No development without security: Re-adjusting priorities in external support to security sector reform

2014-05-05 - 5:40 pm

By Steffen Eckhard
Global Public Policy Institute

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest state and rich in natural resources, had the potential to be a success story. After the peaceful secession from Khartoum in 2011, there was initial political will to resolve remaining disputes between ethnic groups peacefully. However, not all were eager to share oil revenues. And the country remained under arms: military spending accounts for almost half of the state’s budget and 60 percent of all men carry guns. Although the 2011 peace plan foresaw an integration of militias in the new army, previous allegiances and old chains of command remained intact. In December 2013, President Kiir announced that he had headed off a coup led by his rival, the former vice president Machar. The army quickly disintegrated into its former ethnic blocks and South Sudan lurched into violence and upheaval with heavy fighting in Juba and oil blocks in the East. Until today, more than 20.000 have died in what experts see as a blow in the face of liberal statebuilding.

International assistance to security sector reform is about more than just improving security forces

South Sudan is now threatening to disintegrate. This is problematic for all those who have supported the country’s transition, be it due to economic interests, care for human rights and development or because they fear a lack of statehood in South Sudan might threaten their own security back home. A humanitarian military intervention can provide interim stability. However, South Sudan, as any other state, must eventually be able to sustain its internal and external security by itself. International support to security sector reform is about assisting a state to preserve such a course. Not only crisis countries are in need of security reform. As internal and external threats change, all states continuously reform their security institutions – often by learning from others.

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Security governance – still a touchy issue for peacebuilders?

2014-05-05 - 9:33 am

By Marius Müller-Hennig
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and member of the FriEnt team

The UN Security Council recently adopted Resolution 2151 on the issue of Security Sector Reform. This is the first time that the Council adopted a standalone Resolution on this topic. While this obviously is not making any headlines around the world, it is nevertheless an important indicator of the relevance of a subject that sounds dull and technical to some, and highly suspicious to others.

Security Sector Reform definitely has become a standard feature for peacekeeping operations and for a variety of development programs and projects. And there are good reasons for this: In Post-conflict situations into which Peacekeeping Operations are being deployed, security is usually fragile and security institutions are often compromised. To enable these institutions to provide credible security for all citizens, while at the same time preventing them to turn into repressive or predatory instruments of intransigent elites, is an obvious peacebuilding need. But it poses severe intractable practical problems.

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Welcome to the FriEnt PBF Voices Blog


The PBF Voices Blog is not solely shaped by us, the FriEnt team, it shall rather provide a space for conference speakers, participants and other interested persons to share ideas and insights on the future of peacebuilding policy and practice.

All posts relate to the multifaceted theme of the conference in its widest sense. Every article reflects the author’s personal opinion and captures his or her unique style.

Reflections from the FriEnt PBF 2018

Connect-reflect-create was the motto of the FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum 2018. In the aftermath of the conference we are asking some of the participants to reflect on key takeaways from the FriEnt PBF, to share their views on the changing landscape for peacebuilding and to look ahead: How should peacebuilding look like in 2030? Our aim is to learn from different perspectives: how to accelerate innovation in the peacebuilding field and how to strengthen our collective impact. You can find all videos and blog posts here.

Blog Series 2018: Shifting Priorities for Peacebuilding?

Ahead of the FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum 2018 we have launched a series of expert blogs exploring how the changing international environment affects the support for peacebuilding in different countries. What has changed in recent years? Where are common trends and challenges? What can we learn from each other? You can find all posts in this blog series here.