|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6630th Meeting (AM)
Effective, Professional, Accountable Security Sector at Cornerstone of Peace,
Sustainable Development, Security Council Stresses in Presidential Statement
Lessons Learned Could Become ‘Lessons Lost’, If Africa’s Experience
With Security Sector Reform Not Utilized, Nigerian Foreign Minister Says in Debate
The Security Council today, at the conclusion of its open debate on security sector reform in Africa, emphasized that establishing effective, professional and accountable security sectors was at the cornerstone of peace and sustainable development.
In a statement read out by Olugbenga Ashiru, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, which holds the 15-nation body’s rotating presidency, the Council noted that the bulk of the international community’s assistance in the area of security sector reform took place in or was directed to countries in Africa, and that a number of those countries were becoming important providers of such assistance. Welcoming that intra-African collaboration, the Council emphasized the need to expand consideration given to African perspectives of security sector reform.
The Council recognized that security sector reform was a long-term process that should be nationally owned and rooted in the particular needs and conditions of the country in question. It encouraged reforming States to strive to allocate national resources to such reform efforts to ensure their long-term sustainability and viability.
Further to the presidential statement, the Council emphasized the importance of improving women’s participation in discussions pertinent to prevention and resolution of conflict and the maintenance of peace and security, and encouraged women to participate in national armed and security forces. In that regard, the Council encouraged the development of security sectors that were accessible and responsive to all, including women and other vulnerable groups.
The Council also recognized the importance of regional frameworks as a foundation for multilateral security sector reform efforts. Welcoming the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in developing a continental security sector reform policy framework, the Council encouraged other regions to consider establishing such partnerships in order to better facilitate the exchange of lessons learned and best practices.
At the outset of the debate, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, who spoke on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said “an ineffective and poorly governed security sector is one of the major obstacles to stability, poverty reduction, achievement of sustainable development and peacebuilding”.
Echoing the Council’s statement, he noted that several African countries were becoming sources of assistance to security sector reform efforts on the continent and contributing as well to the international security architecture. The African Union was at the forefront of developing a security sector reform framework. “Other regions should be encouraged to draw on that rich experience to develop [such] frameworks that aim to build professional, well-governed security sectors that could contribute to sustainable development, peace and security,” he said.
Continuing, he said the United Nations Inter-Agency Security Sector Reform Task Force and the Security Sector Reform Unit in the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions had become major providers of field support, bringing together a broad range of expertise to provide diverse, specialized and “one UN” support. In light of the growing demand for security sector reform assistance, he hoped that Member States would strengthen the capacities of the United Nations in that regard.
Among the nearly 30 speakers to participate in the debate, Téte António, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said that security sector reform should be viewed in the context of the Union’s evolving role in addressing peace and security on the continent. The adoption in 2006 of the African Union Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development policy had marked a turning point in the Union’s involvement in security sector reform, which had called for strengthening African security institutions to pursue the transformation of State organs. The formulation of the policy would not have been possible without the strong support of, among others, the United Nations through its Rule of Law Office.
Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Ashiru said that the aftermath of the civil war in his country in the 1960s had taught that reforming the security sector was a long-term process that must be part of a broader national agenda. Even countries that had enjoyed many years of peace must ensure that security institutions functioned effectively under the rule of law and in an integrated manner. He expressed concern in that regard that Africa’s experience with the security sector reform was not being adequately utilized by the wider global community. “Thus, lessons learned become lessons lost,” he said.
The representative of the United States said the approach to security sector reform had been too narrow, noting that it must be broadened to account for a clear recognition that human rights, good governance and gender equality were linked to it. The integration of a gender perspective made institutions more inclusive and improved the overall effectiveness of security sector reform. A defence or law enforcement agency that protected the rights of everyone was more likely to command the respect of its citizens.
Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, said her country had noticed a tendency in the Council to “ask United Nations missions to do less with more” — in other words, to authorize less than optimal manpower and resources while expanding mandates. That tendency did not augur well for the successful implementation of operational plans to reform security sectors on an ongoing basis, she warned, adding that the tendency to shorten mission mandates had also been observed. Premature withdrawal — or withdrawal before domestic institutions were fully capable of assuming their role — risked relapse into conflict.
She was among the speakers who stressed that for successful implementation of security sector reform, it was imperative to clearly recognize that the process must be driven by national requirements and not by donor priorities. Other speakers underlined the importance of regional and subregional organizations and, particularly, the involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission in such reform. One speaker stressed that such reform must address broader societal challenges post-conflict countries faced, including youth unemployment, extreme poverty and the lack of adequate education and health services. Accordingly, he said, an approach must be developed thorough discussion in the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
Many speakers pointed out that security sector reform was not limited to the police/military component alone but encompassed institutions responsible for management, customs, civil emergencies and the judiciary. Noting the growing demand for assistance in Africa and elsewhere, speakers appealed for the Inter-Agency Security Sector Reform Task Force and the Security Sector Reform Unit to be provided with the necessary means to meet that demand.
Speakers in today’s debate also included the representatives of China, Germany, Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Brazil, France, Lebanon, Colombia, United Kingdom, South Africa, Gabon, Morocco, Canada, Slovakia, Finland (also on behalf of Nordic countries, Luxembourg, Italy, Slovenia, Sudan, Egypt (also on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Pakistan and Australia.
The meeting started at 10:20 a.m. and adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2011/19 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls the statements by its President of 21 February 2007 (S/PRST/2007/3) and 12 May 2008 (S/PRST/2008/14), and the report of the Secretary-General entitled ‘Securing Peace and Development: the role of the United Nations in supporting security sector reform’ of 23 January 2008 (S/2008/39), and emphasizes that the establishment of an effective, professional and accountable security sector is at the cornerstone of peace and sustainable development. Equally, security sector reform underscores that effectiveness, accountability and good governance are mutually reinforcing elements of security.
“The Security Council notes that the bulk of the international community’s assistance in the area of security sector reform takes place in, and is directed to countries in Africa. At the same time, a number of African countries are becoming important providers of such assistance. The Security Council welcomes this intra-African collaboration and emphasizes that there is a need to expand the consideration given to African perspectives on security sector reform. This includes enhancing cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, as well as sharing knowledge and experience with women and members of civil society. Focusing security sector reform efforts on the needs and priorities of populations in post-conflict countries will considerably enhance the legitimacy, viability and sustainability of such support.
“The Security Council recognizes that security sector reform is a long-term process and reiterates the sovereign right and primary responsibility of the country concerned to determine its national approach and priorities for security sector reform. It should be a nationally owned process that is rooted in the particular needs and conditions of the country in question. The successful coordination of security sector reform efforts must be based on national consensus and driven by political leadership and political will to progress reform. In this regard, the Security Council underlines the responsibility of States to coordinate security sector reform support, including, but not limited to, establishing a strategic vision and the parameters for reform, identifying gaps and needs, prioritizing areas for technical support, and avoiding duplication of donor efforts.
“The Security Council encourages reforming States, while taking into account their capacity constraints, to strive to allocate national resources to security sector reform efforts to ensure long-term sustainability and viability of such reform. In this context, the Security Council emphasizes the importance of improving women’s participation in discussions pertinent to prevention and resolution of conflict, the maintenance of peace and security and encourages women to participate in the national armed and security forces in accordance with relevant international law. In this regard, the Security Council encourages the development of a security sector that is accessible and responsive to all, including women and other vulnerable groups.
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of regional frameworks as a foundation for multilateral security sector reform efforts. In this regard, the Security Council welcomes the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in developing a continental security sector reform policy framework, for its implementation. The Security Council encourages other regions to consider establishing such partnerships in order to better facilitate the exchange of lessons learned and best practices, as well as develop regional frameworks for security sector reform support, reflecting the participation of regional and subregional organizations. The Security Council also recognizes the support provided by bilateral actors, as well as regional actors, including the European Union, to security sector reform efforts in Africa and other initiatives in the area of security sector reform in Africa carried out by organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.
“The Security Council recalls its previous presidential statements concerning the need for early and adequate support in priority areas of peacebuilding, including reform of the security sector, as well as the importance of security sector reform programmes for conflict prevention. In light of ongoing conflict in Africa, the Security Council reiterates the link between security sector reform and socio-economic development, and underlines that such reform efforts should be situated within the broader and more comprehensive spectrum of peacebuilding. In this regard, the Security Council emphasizes the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in supporting security sector reform, including in African countries. The Security Council encourages the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to promote coordination among and between national and external actors involved in security sector reform in the countries on its agenda.
“The Security Council underlines that United Nations support to security sector reform must take place within a broad framework of the rule of law and should contribute to the overall strengthening of the United Nations rule of law activities, as well as wider reconstruction and development efforts. This will require continued coordination with relevant United Nations actors to ensure an increasingly coherent approach. In this context, the Security Council stresses the need for security sector reform efforts to be cognizant of the issue of impunity.
“The Security Council notes that peacekeeping has evolved significantly over the past decades from primarily monitoring ceasefires to complex multidimensional operations which seek to undertake peacebuilding tasks and underlying causes of conflict. In this regard, the Security Council notes that an increasing number of peacekeeping and special political missions are mandated to support national security sector reform programmes, including those in Africa, through strategic assistance to develop security sector frameworks and capacity-building of the security and law enforcement institutions in key areas, including training in human rights, child protection and protection from sexual- and gender-based violence. The Security Council stresses the need to continue to include, as appropriate, security sector reform aspects as an integral part of planning of United Nations operations.
“The Security Council recognizes the important role that the United Nations has played in supporting national efforts to build sustainable security institutions, and commends the efforts of the United Nations, in particular the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the Security Sector Reform Unit and the United Nations Inter-Agency Security Sector Reform Task Force, in further strengthening a comprehensive United Nations approach to security sector reform, through the development of guidance and civilian capacities, coordination mechanisms, and collaboration with regional and subregional organizations, in particular the African Union.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit, by early 2013, an assessment of the United Nations support for security sector reform, including those efforts in Africa, and make recommendations on how best to strengthen the United Nations comprehensive approach to security sector reform, taking into account the linkages between United Nations assistance and conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and also taking into consideration the views of relevant United Nations organs and actors.”
A concept note before the Security Council, prepared by the Nigerian Presidency, entitled “Moving Forward with Security Sector Reform: Prospects and Challenges in Africa”, explains that the bulk of United Nations support for such reform is directed to Africa, and its success depends on national ownership. However, policy discussions on the issue tend not to adequately involve the States involved. In addition, African assistance in security sector reform processes have yet to be effectively recognized and the intra-African reform “providers” have little opportunity to share knowledge and experience. African perspectives are essential elements of the legitimacy, viability and sustainability of security sector reform support, the note states.
According to the note, it is also important to discuss such reform efforts outside the peacekeeping agenda of early aftermath of a conflict as part the broader and more holistic spectrum of peacebuilding and development. The link between security sector reform, conflict prevention and socio-economic development needs to be emphasized.
Recounting the Council’s consideration of security sector reform, the note says that the 2008 report of the Secretary-General, “Securing peace and development: the role of the United Nations in supporting security sector reform”, identified key principles as: national ownership; adaptability of reform tools to particular country contexts; partnerships with and coordination among international actors; and sensitivity to gender issues. The report paved the way for a Headquarters Security Sector Reform Unit in the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, the expansion of security sector reform field capacities and the establishment of a system-wide Inter-Agency Task Force on the topic.
Demand for security sector reform support has soared in the past few years and it is now part of the mandate of most new United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions, with 11 missions currently containing security sector reform capacities, the goals of which has become increasingly complex. The objective of today’s debate, according to the note, is to allow the Council to take stock of the United Nations security sector reform approach and the principles set out by the Security Council’s presidential statement of February 2007 and the 2008 Secretary-General’s report on that reform; and to identify how the United Nations can best support recipient countries to take the lead in security sector reform efforts.
The key areas in need of particular emphasis are: security sector reform within the peacebuilding continuum; nationally-led coordination; and empowering the voices of communities and other national stakeholders beyond the State. In addition, to guarantee better-targeted, strategic interventions, an assessment of the ways in which an ineffective, inadequate or illegitimate security component contributes to conflict is also required, it says.
Statement by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations
HERVE LADSOUS, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said an ineffective and poorly governed security sector was one of the major obstacles to stability, poverty reduction, achievement of sustainable development and peacebuilding. In the greater framework of upholding the rule of law, the United Nations was committed to support countries faced with conflict in their efforts to establish disciplined, effective and economically viable security sectors.
He said an important part of the United Nations efforts in that regard was targeted at Africa. Some of the countries there, including Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Senegal, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania, were currently becoming important sources of assistance in the area of security sector reform on the continent. Many of them were also troop contributors and primary contributors to the international security architecture.
Giving an overview of the history of security sector reform, which had been a subject for debate in the Council since 2007, he said the demand for security sector support had increased exponentially. Security sector reform was now an integral part of many new United Nations peacekeeping missions and operations, including several in Africa. Mandates and requests for support in that vital area had become increasingly complex: from training and infrastructure development in Burundi to capacity-building for management and oversight of security institutions in Liberia and assistance in coordinating international partners in support of national priorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea-Bissau.
Experience had taught that there was no one-size-fits-all approach to security sector development and that many security threats could only be contained through a regional approach. Critically, the African Union was at the forefront of developing a specific security sector reform framework. “Other regions should be encouraged to draw on that rich experience to develop security sector reform frameworks that aim to build professional, well-governed security sectors that could contribute to sustainable development, peace and security,” he said.
Continuing, he said many Member States had recognized that security sector governance was necessary for early recovery from conflict, economic development and sustainable peacebuilding, as well as regional stability and international peacekeeping. Security sector reform was also a crucial preventive tool. Security sectors, moreover, could play a vital transformative role. Close to 20 per cent of the Peacebuilding Fund had been allocated to security sector activities in a range of countries.
He said the United Nations Inter-Agency Security Sector Reform Task Force and the Security Sector Reform Unit in the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions had become major providers of field support, bringing together a broad range of expertise to provide diverse, specialized and “one UN” support. They had established a roster of experts available for deployment, among other things. The Organization had recently adopted a Defence Sector Reform policy. He hoped that Member States would strengthen the capacities of the United Nations in that regard in order to meet increasing requests for support.
OLUGBENGA ASHIRU, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, noting that his country’s civil war in the 1960s provided an imperative to deal with the aftermath of conflict, said one of the lessons learned was that reforming the security sector was a long-term process and must be part of a broader national agenda. It was a highly political reform; the security of citizens and the State were intrinsically linked. Even countries that enjoyed many years of peace must ensure that security institutions functioned effectively under the rule of law in an integrated manner.
For that reason he welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on national ownership and initiatives in security reform, including the Inter-Agency Task Force dealing with the issue. He strongly encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that United Nations efforts were based on national requests or Security Council mandates or both.
He expressed concern that African experience with the security sector reform was not being adequately utilized. “Thus, lessons learned become lessons lost,” he said. For that reason, he recognized South Africa and the Netherlands for working with his Government on a 2010 high-level forum on African perspectives on security reform. He encouraged further initiatives to support South-South exchanges in the sector. While security sector reform was an essential element of multidimensional peacekeeping, he stressed, it must be part of a broader national reform agenda, as well as of the longer-term process of regular institutional renewal for all States, regardless of their level of development.
He also emphasized the connection between national reform processes and regional and global initiatives, addressing trans-border challenges and global levels of security sector governance. In that light, he was confident that the emerging African Union policy framework would form a critical building block of the United Nations’ global security sector reform work. He underlined, however, that once the policy framework was formally endorsed, the Union would continue to require the assistance of the Organization in ensuring an effective implementation of the policy.
Finally, he strongly encouraged the Secretary-General to further explore regional approaches and frameworks for supporting the reform and governance of the security sector. He pledged Nigeria’s willingness to collaborate with all stakeholders on ways to enrich that agenda. In that context, he said that the Nigerian Defence College would be collaborating with an international foundation in organizing an international expert conference on best practices in Abuja next month.
PRENEET KAUR, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, said that the successful implementation of security sector reform required recognition, at the outset, that such reform was an internal affair of a country and that it must be led and owned by the concerned nation-State. A capacity-driven approach, therefore, must become an exercise of understanding and providing what the country concerned needs – rather than an exercise in collating what donors could give. Normative principles of security sector reform should remain within the framework of national consent under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, she added, and should not seek to “obfuscate the difference” between Chapters VI and VII. Moreover, security sector reform would fail to consolidate the hard-earned gains of peacekeeping unless it was based on organic growth and related to the political, socio-economic and cultural realities of the country concerned.
Operational issues concerning security sector reform should take into account that “security” was a very broad term encompassing not just defence, police and law enforcement, but also institutions responsible for management, customs, civil emergencies, judiciary, etc. In that regard, she stressed, the United Nations operation plans for such reform should focus on critical sectors rather than be “frittered away in peripherals”. The broader scope of the issue also called for a long-term strategy and integrated efforts, in which the country-specific configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission should have an important role.
In that connection, she continued, India had noticed a tendency in the Council to “ask United Nations missions to do less with more” – in other words, to authorize less than optimal manpower and resources while expanding mandates. That tendency did not augur well for the successful implementation of operational plans to reform security sectors on an ongoing basis, she warned, adding that the tendency to shorten mission mandates had also been observed. That was even true in cases where the host countries favoured the continued presence of the concerned missions. Such premature withdrawal, or withdrawal before domestic institutions were fully capable of assuming their role, risked relapse into conflict. Finally, she said, countries with wide experience in implementing security sector reform in multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multilingual societies should be tapped for secondment of human resources.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said today’s discussion was long overdue. States’ ability to protect their citizens and uphold their laws was central to their sovereignty and promoting peace and stability. But too often, the police lacked the capacity to do so. All too often, they had to rely on outside peacekeeping operations to carry out tasks that States would prefer to have accomplished on their own. The drawdown of those operations was inextricably linked to the build-up of indigenous security institutions.
The United Nations and other actors were contributing to security sector reform. For its part, the United States had invested $300 million to support defence and police reform in South Sudan, as well as $110 million to such reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today’s debate should spur action on four fronts, she said, noting first the importance of taking a long-term approach to security sector reform.
The security sector not only involved uniformed personnel but a host of institutions, she continued, including for border management and organizations that handled civil emergencies. As the Secretary-General had said, security sector reform was about establishing legal and constitutional framework for the legitimate use of force by security personnel in line with universally accepted human rights standards. It meant thinking about overall numbers and fiscal sustainability.
Next, the approach to security sector reform had been too narrow, she said, noting that it must be broadened to account for a clear recognition that human rights, good governance and gender equality were linked to it. The integration of a gender perspective made institutions more inclusive and improved the overall effectiveness of security sector reform. A defence or law enforcement agency that protected the rights of everyone was more likely to command the respect of its citizens.
For its part, the United Nations must enhance its expertise and coordination among all actors playing a role in security sector reform, especially human rights defenders, international financial institutions and both regional and subregional organizations. The United States appreciated the work done by the Security Sector Reform Unit, as well as by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Her Government looked forward to them sharing their lessons learned.
Finally, she said more must be done to build security sector reform expertise outside the United Nations, notably by regional and subregional organizations. Noting that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had made important gains, she said such regional bodies were important players in the process and the United States supported them. Work must be carried out at the national and regional levels to address challenges including piracy; armed robbery at sea; human trafficking; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and environmental degradation. The United States looked forward to working with the Council to sustain a focus on security sector reform, especially in Africa. It sought an approach that heeded the voices of citizens and boosted the capacity of Governments and regional organizations to make those hopes real.
LI BAODONG ( China) said that international efforts in security sector reform should focus on assistance and advice to countries that endeavoured to pursue such reform and respect their national will. Law and order, as well as stability should be a focus. In addition, such reform should be part of a comprehensive peacekeeping and peacebuilding strategy, and should benefit from all related efforts of the international community. It should also garner the coordination of all relevant parts of the United Nations system. He supported the presidential statement to be made at the meeting.
PETER WITTIG ( Germany) said that local leadership and national ownership were crucial in security sector reform; if there was a lack of political will in the concerned country then all efforts of outside actors were futile. United Nations efforts to assist security sector reform should be carried out within a clear framework and within the timelines of exit strategies for peacekeeping missions. The long-term strategy must be based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, particularly as regarded corrections. The fight against impunity for sexual violence must also be a focus.
He stressed that civil control over security forces and stronger institutional structures, along with all other critical elements, must be built together, and assistance must be provided in a holistic manner. Partnership was also important; European assistance in the area, notably in Africa, had been valuable. He encouraged more interaction between regional and international organizations in the sector. Finally, he said that specific needs of women must be addressed when carrying out security sector reform measures.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the sovereign right to conduct security sector reform was enjoyed by Governments, which bore the primary responsibility for achieving results. It was clear that international aid for such reform was crucial, but setting up strategies and coordinating assistance must be carried out by recipient countries. The needs of post-conflict States must be taken into account and assistance must be provided in line with respect for the sovereignty and political independence of Governments. In some cases, certain peacebuilding activities had been taken up by peacekeeping operations, whose primary tasks included establishing a basis for national dialogue. Indeed, United Nations peacekeeping operations played a critical role in such work and also made an important contribution to guaranteeing security.
The Russian Federation supported the Peacebuilding Commission, he said, which had been tasked with drawing up recommendations for post-conflict countries. The complexity of such tasks required that body to outline a balanced strategy based on, among other factors, security, socio-economic development and upholding human rights. In security sector reform, regional capacities had been effective. Neighbouring countries and subregional organizations understood “sore spots”. In that context, he supported the activities of African States, believing that, in the framework of the African Union, their primary responsibility lay in articulating post-conflict peacebuilding. International support for such issues was also tied to economic development and humanitarian questions. Noting his country’s involvement in various United Nations specialized bodies and other initiatives, he said the Russian Federation was grateful for Nigeria’s coordination of the presidential statement, whose adoption he supported.
IVAN BARBALIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) said security sector reform was an essential element of any stabilization and reconstruction effort in a post-conflict situation. “National ownership and leadership in this process are indispensable,” he said, adding that the establishment of the Security Institutions Unit in the United Nations Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic was an important development in providing assistance to national authorities to define a credible reform strategy. To be effective, security sector reform must be transformative and included in broader nationally-led peacebuilding frameworks and strategies. To that end, assessments of institution-building processes must be better reflected in the regular reports of Council-mandated missions.
The United Nations must also increase its expertise in the rule of law and take into account the ground conditions of each country, he said. Coordinated and context-driven approaches in governance and economic stability were also important. Rebuilding rule of law institutions was a precondition for a secure environment and thus, security sector reform must be implemented as part of broader conflict prevention and development framework.
The role of the United Nations was to help countries build capacity to deliver security though effective institutions, while concerned countries must determine their priorities. Political will of domestic stakeholders, as well as a well-executed strategy contributed to success. Ultimately, he said, success of such reform relied on national ownership, quality dialogue with the recipient country, adaptability of reform tools, sensitivity to gender issues and involvement of civil society.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal) stressed the need for a broad scope in the pursuit of security sector reform. Ignoring links among all sectors increased the risk of recurrence of conflict. The involvement of African countries and regional organizations in assisting such reform, as well as the assistance of the European Union, had become increasingly important, but it must be assured that the work of all partners was well coordinated. The commitment of partners in providing resources and technical advice must be fulfilled for the process to be sustainable.
He stressed the importance of security sector reform in fighting organized crime, which required strong national institutions and regional cooperation, as well as the importance of integrating security reform with reconciliation processes. For that reason, the security sector reform process should be as inclusive as possible, including various sectors, marginalized groups and women.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said her country had supported security sector reform in many countries and in varied partnership configurations. Such experience had shown that national ownership and consideration of particular conditions was crucial, as was an integrated approach involving all peacebuilding and rule-of-law efforts. She reiterated that the roster of security reform experts must adequately represent the capacities existing in all regions.
As Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Configuration for Guinea-Bissau, as well as partnering with the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries for assistance to that country, she reported that the Government of the country had demonstrated its concrete commitment to security sector reform by depositing its initial contribution to the pension fund for the Armed Forces and security forces personnel to be demobilized. The international community must seize that window of opportunity there, she commented. Her country was working to ensure that national ownership and international cooperation came together to support security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau. Political will, adequate and predictable funding and the integration of security and development efforts were indispensable.
GÉRARD ARAUD (France), noting that security sector reform was useful for both peacebuilding and conflict prevention, said it also promoted good governance and human rights, making it possible for establishing conditions conducive for development. That was especially important when countries emerged from conflict, which involved setting up disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Such work also involved the establishment or reform of a judicial system so security forces would be accountable for their actions. The Security Council had incorporated that objective in many of its mission mandates in Africa. In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, support for security sector reform was a main objective. That was a challenge in the West African country, “because we have to help two armies to merge”, he said, adding that success of such work would be important for long-term peace in that country.
More broadly, he said success also required national ownership and strong political will. Security sector reform could not be imposed from the outside but must be based on a strong national commitment. It required inclusive national dialogue. The international community could ensure follow-up to that process but could not replace national society. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it was crucial that that Government prioritize its needs. The United Nations had a role in stimulating national ownership of security sector reform. He added that, while Liberia had carried out a democratic election on 11 October, the Government must ensure it was responsible for training police to accompany the gradual withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in that country — known as UNMIL.
In that context, he stressed the essential link between security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Such reform also must coordinate with people’s desire to live together. In Libya, the new transitional authorities understood that very well and had asked for United Nations assistance in security sector reform. Lastly, with respect to financing, support from the Peacebuilding Fund and international financial institutions must be sought. In Somalia, the European Union had trained security forces of the Federal Transitional Government and was also active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo promoting army reform. For its part, France supported the Geneva-based Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.
NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) said the international community viewed security sector matters within the broader framework of peace consolidation and institution building for countries emerging from conflict. Such reform should be considered alongside the rule of law and political processes linked to other peacebuilding objectives. It must be anchored in national ownership and implemented within a long-term sustainable effort. Those factors were in the presidential statement to be adopted today, which Lebanon fully supported. To that end, there was a need for more integrated planning and implementation of United Nations mandates across the peacebuilding continuum.
The roles of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund were also critical, he said, not least to encourage a more coordinated approach to such mutually reinforcing processes in the countries concerned. The role of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations also was important. “We need to recognize that security sector reform is a national process that is likely to see gradual transformation in the capacity of the State and perception of security bodies” he said. Assistance, whether undertaken bilaterally or within United Nations missions and regional frameworks, must be envisaged in close coordination with the Government and widest possible segments of society, including women. The specific needs of girls in women in all such reform processes, must be taken into account by supporting a gender-sensitive police and army, as well as justice reform.
NÉSTOR OSORIO ( Colombia) said that initiatives to reform the security sector must be seen as part of broader efforts for building capacity in countries emerging from conflict, all of which required a long-term commitment with a view towards achieving realistic objectives. Political will from national actors was also required. Peacekeeping operations and special missions had an important role to play, and adequate instruments and resources should be offered to national authorities. In addition, since it was linked to so many elements of both security and development, security reform should be on the agenda of all relevant United Nations bodies and agencies.
The State concerned must develop priorities, he said, through an inclusive dialogue engendered by democratic institutions, which were critical for reform, as was civil control over security forces. The local context must determine the form and scope of the institutions that oversee reform and local actors must determine what kind of international support was needed. Adequate resources were needed and counterproductive conditions must not be imposed on countries that were pursuing reform.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom), stressing the need for political leadership from recipient countries in the area of security sector reform, also stressed that political will from national leaders was critical. The broader population must be taken into account, including the needs for women and girls. It was essential that international partners support reform in a way that prioritized peoples’ needs and human rights. In addition, he stressed that security sector reform must be embedded in other efforts to build institutional capacity. It was critical that a coordinated approach be pursued that brought together United Nations development, security and human rights components in a coherent manner.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said that, given South Africa’s history, his Government attached great importance to security sector reform, which was both a political and constitutional objective. South Africa had taken a holistic approach to such reform, believing that accountable institutions were important for countering destabilizing influences in any country. The United Nations role in strengthening security sector reform was crucial to conflict prevention and the Organization’s global character gave it the legitimacy to coordinate such an approach. South Africa recognized the important role of United Nations peacekeepers, whose work had grown increasingly multidimensional, and included involvement in peacebuilding.
Recognizing the importance of partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, as well as international financial institutions in security sector reform, he said that such multiplicity required more coordination among donors in order to avoid duplication. The African Union was in the process of developing a policy document which, among other things, defended all citizens from all forms of violence, including gender-based violence. It emphasized national ownership.
The policy framework had been adopted in principle and would be presented to the African Union summit in 2012, he said, underlining that security sector reform was not an event but a process that required political will. Events in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had made it clear that each country faced unique challenges and that solutions must be context-specific. Local ownership must be sustained. There could be no one-size-fits-all approach to security sector reform. He said that women and vulnerable groups must be recognized as important agents of change. He supported the presidential statement to be adopted later today.
NOËL NELSON MESSONE ( Gabon), noting that security sector reform was vital for shoring up fragile peace in many African countries, supported the presidential statement. A comprehensive approach to security sector reform was needed, as was better integration of the host country in such work. That approach was based on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and the development of the country involved. Such activities also could eradicate ties between the political power and the army. At the same time, peacekeepers could not stay in the countries concerned indefinitely, as stability could only be guaranteed if the host Government was able to ensure the safety of its people. As such, security sector reform should be considered at an early stage of mission deployment.
The early withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and the resulting security situation backed up that observation, he continued, noting that the Central African Republic had faced a spike in violence that involved the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). More broadly, reform required the cooperation of different players and, in that context, he welcomed coordination among the United Nations, African Union and subregional organizations. An effective approach also required synergies with the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund and primary international donors.
Finally, he underlined the importance of defining the role of the host country, saying that reform in that sense was political. Its vision should result from national dialogue in the peacebuilding process. The international community should only intervene to support the efforts of host Governments in that regard. In sum, security sector reform should allow for changes in the relationships between political players, and between a Government and civil society, to ensure that a culture of security would prevail. That required cultivating military-civil relations. It also was crucial to pay attention to difficulties arising from impunity or achieving justice for security forces that might have abused civilians.
TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said today’s debate should be viewed in the context of the Union’s evolving role in addressing peace and security on the continent, in line with the African Union Constitutive Act and Protocol relating to the establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council. The African Union had embarked on steps to institutionalize the African Continental Policy Framework on security sector reform, which would be considered with a view to adopting it at the next Heads of State Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January. That framework document was a “major milestone” in the implementation of the African Union Assembly’s January 2008 decision for the development of such a framework.
He went on to say that the 2006 adoption of the African Union Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development policy marked a turning point in the Union’s involvement in security sector reform, which had called for strengthening African security institutions to pursue the transformation of State organs. Another breakthrough was the convening of a workshop in Addis Ababa in 2009, co-hosted by the African Union and the United Nations, which brought together various stakeholders, paving the way for African Union experts to endorse a draft policy framework on security sector reform in May. Outcomes from that workshop included the development of a road map for the reform policy process.
Finally, he commented that the formulation of the African Union’s security sector reform policy would not have reached this stage without the strong support of African Union partners, including the United Nations, through its Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, among others. The Union also had developed a strong working relationship with the African Security Sector Network. He also expressed gratitude to the European Union and Norway.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco), supporting the statement expected on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, agreed that the key principle in security reform was national ownership, and said that United Nations assistance should be adapted to the particular needs of host countries. It was crucial that security players of the concerned country be involved, along with other national leaders, in design and implementation of programmes. It was unfortunate that often national players did not have a significant role in many previous programmes.
He said that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes must be taken into account in the design and implementation of security sector reform, as must a gender approach that ensured the training of female police units and the participation of women in security leadership and peacebuilding. More coherence in international assistance, through the Peacebuilding Commission and other mechanisms, was critical. He offered to share his country’s rich experience in the area of security sector reform, which had shown, among other things that such reform must go hand in hand with capacity-building in the administration of justice, democratic control and human rights.
GUILLERMO E. RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada) said security sector reform was an important lens through which African States could develop strategies for transforming their security spheres. Canada contributed to relevant United Nations initiatives and had extensive experience assisting States to reform their security systems. It had been engaged in activities through project financing, policy development and the deployment of personnel, including the areas such as governance, corrections and the military. Canada also had contributed to several African missions, including the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), and supported strengthening the Organization’s ability to implement security sector reform. It supported in-house capacity strengthening through the Security Sector Reform Inter-Agency Task Force, which assisted in training and technical support and through the development of technical guidance notes. Canada supported whole-of-system coherence, notably by coordinating with the Task Force.
He agreed that the Security Council should emphasize the inclusion of security sector reform in the United Nations future planning in Africa, saying that as a country-configuration chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Canada viewed security and justice reform as a priority. The Commission was developing valuable on-the-ground experience that could be called upon to inform Security Council mandate development and United Nations transition planning. Agreeing that international assistance must be anchored by national ownership and commitment of all relevant parties, he said it was imperative that the political will of reforming States buttress such efforts. Finally, he welcomed the call to assess United Nations security sector reform support, saying that opportunities to enhance inter-agency coordination, including an agency’s role in donor coordination, should be examined. In closing, he encouraged ongoing Security Council discussions on security sector reform.
MILOŠ KOTEREC ( Slovakia) said that, although security sector reform had come a long way since 2007, there was both a “guidance gap” on how to transform such reform principles into practice and a “capacity gap” in preparing personnel for peacekeeping and peacebuilding deployments. That challenge should be tackled by police- and troop-contributing countries. Apart from national ownership as a key principle of the United Nations approach to security sector reform, he underlined the essential role of regional and subregional actors, who could significantly contribute to achieving sustainable progress on the ground regarding capacity-building and coordination mechanisms. There was a need to promote bottom-up and demand-driven approaches. In that context, Slovakia had organized three regional workshops and was considering organizing a fourth one.
Striving to be an honest broker to building trust, further strengthening United Nations capacities for security sector reform and enhancing coherence and coordination within the United Nations system, Slovakia had, in 2008, initiated the creation of the Group of Friends of security sector reform, he said. His country had since served as an interface between the Member States and the United Nations system, especially the co-chairs of the Inter-Agency Task Force. He invited all interested Member States, especially recipients of security sector reform assistance, to use the Group as a platform for sharing lessons learned, articulating needs and identifying best ways on how to address them in a timely and efficient manner. Because of increasing demand for such assistance, additional capacities were required.
JARMO VIINANEN ( Finland), speaking also on behalf of Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that a balanced and holistic approach to security sector reform was needed. The civilian capacity review provided a clear set of recommendations to strengthen the United Nations ability to build peace in post-conflict societies, with a good focus on developing national ownership. The goal was a combination of effectiveness and accountability in all security structures and processes, many of which were inherently political exercises. As national Governments had the sovereign right and primary responsibility to manage national reform efforts, strengthening of a truly demand-driven approach would solve many of the coordination problems frequently faced, he commented.
National ownership, he stressed, should not be reduced to Government ownership. “Security and justice institutions are there to serve people, including those who are marginalized and do not easily get their voices heard,” he said. The participation of legislatures, civil society and the media was crucial, as was transparency in the process and the participation of women in planning, leading and implementing reform. In that light, proposals of the Secretary-General on women’s participation in peacebuilding should be implemented in the security area. Since African countries were increasingly important in assisting security reform, a regional approach to capacity-building, assessment, and reform design and implementation should be considered. He fully supported the African Peace and Security Architecture Initiative in that context.
SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said that an unreformed security and defence sector, or badly managed reform of such sectors, could have a “profound destabilizing effect” on a country emerging from conflict. As Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration on Guinea, she said, she had seen that in-depth reform of the security and defence sectors was necessary for sustainable peacebuilding and the rule of law. Such reform was also intimately linked to other priority areas, including national reconciliation and the judiciary. Citizens needed to have appropriate means of recourse to have their rights respected, she stressed. In that context, Luxembourg saluted the innovative approach adopted by Liberia in establishing integrated security and justice hubs, as well as fully involving women in those efforts.
The legitimacy of any State hinged on the capacity of its civilian authorities to control its military and security authorities, as well as on the capacity of the latter to defend the human rights and dignity of the civilian population. She went on to stress that there was no substitute for national ownership. In that regard, Luxembourg had helped to support a meeting of the African Union Commission in May which was aimed at allowing African Union member States to consider its draft Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform. She hoped that document would be adopted by leaders at the African Union’s next Summit in 2012. Luxembourg had also been contributing to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions for a number of years. Additionally, she stressed, as many of the problems affecting the security sector had a regional or international character, “all must assume their share of responsibility”. That included the United Nations, the African Union, regional groups and bilateral partners.
CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI ( Italy) said that, as it had shifted away from an exclusive focus on State security, the international community had developed an approach that emphasized human security and the institutions that provided security and justice. The key to security sector reform processes was country ownership. However, in order to foster and grow national ownership, it was necessary to work together with Governments and local security institutions from the earliest stages. Additionally, he stressed: “No country should buy into donor methods or ideas.” Instead, the peoples’ immediate needs, their capacity and commitment were the realities that should influence the pace and trajectory of change.
The United Nations and its Security Council had a leading role to play in defining the Organization’s security sector reform policy, he said, adding that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had traditionally been a prime mover in defence and security sector reform in Europe and in assisting partner countries. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had also accrued extensive experience. In that respect, he continued, the European Union had an “indisputable” security sector reform record, having provided assistance to over 70 countries in the past five years. Security sector reform was particularly critical in peace time, he emphasized, as it was always preferable as a preventive measure, rather than after violence had already erupted and a full-scale crisis was under way. Additionally, countries lacking an efficient and accountable security sector required institutional support.
In Africa, the common security challenges faced by all actors — many of which were the intersection of economic, social and political factors — indicated the need for an “innovative and holistic” approach to international cooperation. That would require strengthened regional and subregional cooperation and a broadened perspective, he noted, citing the financial and logistical link between drug-smuggling organizations and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb region as an “alarming example of the globalization of security challenges”. Cooperation mechanisms were needed to identify and prioritize initiatives, while fully respecting the “co-ownership” principle. That would require clear-cut consultation methods, he said, which would be tasked with gathering input from countries, assessing and matching such input and outlining initiatives for funding.
SANJA ŠTIGLIC (Slovenia) emphasized that security sector reform could only be successful when it was properly linked with all efforts already taking place in the recipient State, as a long-term conflict-prevention tool that was not confined within a specific time frame. It could only be efficient when all of the actors in the process actively and transparently strove in a coordinated manner to achieve the same goal. Internationally, there was room for more improvement in coordination, particularly involving State actors and civil society, both of which should ensure local ownership.
As security sector reform had become an essential part of almost every peacekeeping mission, she said, training for mission staff should include the topic. It was also important to ensure continuity of mission know-how in recruitment processes and to maintain institutional memory of peacekeeping operations in the field. Her country, in addition, accorded special importance to the promotion of gender perspectives and the integration of child soldiers back into society as part of security reform concerns. Finally, she stressed that justice should be served in order to remedy past atrocities. “There is no long-lasting peace and reform without justice,” she said.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN ( Sudan) said the earliest United Nations security sector reform activities had taken place in Africa and post-independence Iraq, with ad hoc programmes to reform police, prisons and security. At that time, such reform was supported by specialized funds, international financial institutions and bilateral donors. Charter principles of national ownership and sovereignty were observed. Emphasizing the importance of adhering to the Council’s 2007 presidential statement, he said the formulation of an approach to such reform and its priority at the national level was a primary responsibility of the concerned country. He endorsed United Nations efforts to build security sector reform, especially in post-conflict countries, by providing technical support and training, which would buttress the security environment following the withdrawal of peacekeepers.
At the same time, he cautioned against interference in the administrative and legislative aspects of police and military activities, saying that they were part-and-parcel of a State and its constitution. In that context, he noted the 2007 workshop held in Cape Town, South Africa, on the coordination of United Nations support for security sector reform in African countries, which had shed light on the role of such regional partners as the African Union, ECOWAS, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Indeed, regional and subregional organizations were directly linked to the political and economic compositions of countries. They were most able to understand the dimensions of security sector reform and define programmes that the United Nations could implement in the concerned State, based on the principle of national ownership. In sum, he expressed hope that today’s deliberations would lead to an integrated approach to security sector reform that respected State sovereignty.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that today’s debate was an integral part of a broader discussion about the interlinkages between peace, security and development, that discussion also concerned links between conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding and support for building the institutional capacities in States emerging from conflict, as well as those in transition. As members of the Movement contributed over 80 per cent of personnel for United Nations peacekeeping operations, the majority of which currently contained security reform mandates, Movement members stressed that such reform be integrated in the broad framework of United Nations rule of law activities, in order to ensure that work was not duplicated.
An approach to security sector reform must be developed in the General Assembly to ensure that it emerged from an intergovernmental process that took into account the primary responsibility and the sovereign right of countries to determine national priorities. He also said national ownership and adaptability of tools for particular countries’ contexts must be the key principles that guide United Nations support in the area. In addition, efforts must be pursued in the context of the other societal challenges of countries emerging from conflict, including youth unemployment, organized crime extreme poverty and the lack of adequate education and health services. Security sector reform must be anchored, furthermore, in broader capacity-building. Accordingly, an approach must be developed through thorough discussion in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, and recipient countries must be fully in charge of formulating national strategies.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said security sector reform was critical in laying a foundation for durable peace and preventing relapse into conflict. As a leading troop contributor, Pakistan recognized the critical importance of establishing an effective security sector for successful and timely withdrawal of all peacekeeping missions. Recognizing the important work done by the United Nations in that regard, he said the role of security sector reform practitioners at Headquarters should nevertheless be recalibrated to increase responsiveness in the field. For that, capacity-building of the Security Sector Reform Unit was essential.
He went on to say that security sector reform could not be left to the military/police component alone. Other fields, such as judicial correction, border management, customs and civil emergencies warranted a steady civilian contribution to security sector reform. That was where the Peacebuilding Commission through its Peacebuilding Fund could play a role. The collective approach to such reform must be consistent with the principles of the United Nations Charter. Further, security sector reform could neither be imposed nor seen to be imposed on a reluctant host Government. Inclusive participation of host authorities and capacity-building on professional grounds were vital ingredients of national ownership. Engagement of civil society and key stakeholders would help consolidate the gains made in security sector reform programmes.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) said security sector reform must be seen in a “far broader” context than peacekeeping, as it was integral to peacebuilding and development. Underlining the importance of national ownership and leadership, he said States were the central providers of security, work that was both their sovereign right and responsibility. The role of the international community was to enhance their ability to fulfil that duty. Effective reform required States to drive forward a strategic vision and achieve strong buy-in from those involved. Women’s participation in that regard was essential. Long-term horizons were required to foster a culture of transparency, as well as to build both confidence and the necessary constituency for change. He highlighted Australia’s involvement in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands in that regard.
He went on to underline the importance of a comprehensive integrated approach to security sector reform beyond “train and equip” programmes, saying that plans should be integrated with those for broader development planning, including budget planning. Through engagement in Timor-Leste, Australia had learned the pitfalls of maintaining too narrow a focus on technical assistance, notably of trying to adopt one-size-fits-all policing and military models. Finally, he said regional and subregional organizations had an important role in fostering cooperation. For its part, the United Nations must coordinate its work and the Inter-agency Security Sector Reform Task Force played a key role in that regard. The Council also must ensure mandates were appropriate and realistic. The Peacebuilding Commission was also important for providing political support to Governments.
* *** *For information media • not an official record