Session 12 | Reflect | 14 June 2018, 10.45h - 12.15h | Room 6.01

Enhancing a part of the problem? The challenges of external support to security actors in politically contested regions


Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Train and Equip programs for military and police forces in third countries range among the key instruments of the German government to promote security in conflict affected societies and fragile states. Among other objectives these instruments shall contribute to the “development of a politically legitimized and accountable security sector which meets professional standards“ as well as to the “implementation of the principle of human security“ according to the government’s Guidelines on Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts, Building Peace. Given that SSR and Train and Equip programs are highly sensible interventions in power struggles in politically contested spaces several urgent questions arise:  Under what circumstances can these laudable objectives be achieved? How to overcome the challenge that the beneficiaries of the programs – mostly state security actors with often low levels of legitimacy and poor track records in human rights – are often rather a part of the problem than the solution? Representatives from civil society organizations, state (security) institutions and non-state armed actors from e.g. Mali, Jordan, Myanmar, Philippines and Bougainville are invited to exchange their views with representatives from the Federal Government.


Open discussion with participants, including representatives from civil society organisations, state institutions and non-state-armed groups from countries such as the Philippines, Bougainville, Myanmar, Mali and Jordan, as well as from the security sector.



  • Thomas Helfen, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
  • Arne Schuler, Federal Ministry of Defence, Germany
  • Ferdinand von Weyhe, Federal Foreign Office, Germany
  • Emma Leslie, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cambodia
  • Ismaila Cissé, Former General, Forces Armées et de Sécurité du Mali


  • Herbert Wulf, Founding Director, Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), Germany


  • Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)