SECURITY SECTOR REFORM IN POST-CONFLICT STATES CRITICAL TO CONSOLIDATING PEACE, REPORT NEEDED AIMED AT IMPROVING UN EFFECTIVENESS, SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS

20 February 2007
SC/8958

SECURITY SECTOR REFORM IN POST-CONFLICT STATES CRITICAL TO CONSOLIDATING PEACE, REPORT NEEDED AIMED AT IMPROVING UN EFFECTIVENESS, SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS

20 February 2007
Security Council
SC/8958
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5632nd Meeting (AM & PM)

SECURITY SECTOR REFORM IN POST-CONFLICT STATES CRITICAL TO CONSOLIDATING PEACE,

REPORT NEEDED AIMED AT IMPROVING UN EFFECTIVENESS, SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS

Presidential Statement Comes at End of Day-Long Debate on Issue;

Report Should Identify Lessons Learned, How Best to Coordinate UN Effort

With an increasing number of United Nations organs, funds, programmes and agencies engaged in security sector reform support activities in post-conflict countries, the Security Council today acknowledged the need for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to compile a comprehensive report with “concrete recommendations” on how to improve the effectiveness and coordination of all United Nations system entities that supported security sector reform.

Reading out a statement (document S/PRST/2007/3) at the end of a day-long debate on security sector reform, Council President Peter Burian (Slovakia) said that members of the 15-nation body stressed that reforming the security sector in post-conflict environments was critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, expanding legitimate State authority and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict.

“The Security Council also underlines that the United Nations has a crucial role to play in promoting comprehensive, coherent and coordinated international support to nationally owned security sector reform programmes, implemented with the consent of the countries concerned,” he said, adding that the Council also recognized the links between security sector reform and other key stabilization and reconstruction factors, like transitional justice, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, small arms and light weapons control, as well as gender equality, children and armed conflict and human rights issues.

In light of that, he said the Council acknowledged the need for a comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on United Nations approaches to security sector reform, which should identify lessons learned, core security sector reform functions that the United Nations could perform, roles and responsibilities of United Nations system entities, and how best to coordinate United Nations support with national and international activities in that field.  The Council recognized that security sector reform could continue well beyond the duration of a peacekeeping operation and, in that regard, emphasized the important role the Peacebuilding Commission could play in continuous international support to countries emerging from conflict.

Setting the stage for the debate, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister, Ján Kubiš, told the Council earlier in the day that, while reformed and restructured security sectors were crucial for post-conflict peacebuilding, the ultimate objective should be the improvement of the everyday lives of people.  While the United Nations had done a good job dealing with security sectors in post-conflict environments, it was time for the United Nations, as well as the wider international community, to devote more time and attention to the matter, especially since security sector reform required a balance between international support efforts and national ownership.

For the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, security sector reform aimed to achieve effective, accountable and sustainable security institutions that operate under a framework of the rule of law and respect for human rights.  Citing lessons learned during the nearly six decades of the Organization’s peacekeeping experience in post-conflict environments, he said that national ownership in post-conflict environments was not a static entity, but evolved as leaders and communities were brought into the peacebuilding process.

That principle had guided United Nations efforts in Kosovo, where the Organization was conducting a province-wide consultation on security sector reform with the purpose of obtaining a comprehensive picture of security needs and perspectives.  But, another lesson learned was that sustainable security went beyond reintegrating soldiers and units, or training and equipping individual police officers, he said.

He added that, as Haiti, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Liberia had shown:  without effective, well-governed security institutions in place, the maintenance of peace was short-lived.  Sustainable security involved strengthening institutions and processes.  It called for capable management, sustainable funding and effective oversight.  Through initiatives such as the Standing Police Capacity, the United Nations worked to support national authorities in building sustainable law enforcement institutions.

Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain), President of the General Assembly, said a competent, law abiding and well-governed security sector, with effective civilian oversight, was vital for overall peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts, and sustainable development.  That was why national ownership was extremely important.  The United Nations could play an important capacity-building role.  Security sector reform, beginning with peacekeeping operations, was an integral part of the transition from conflict situations to long-term stability and economic development.

She said that collective efforts at the international level, and across the United Nations system, needed to be better coordinated to ensure that assistance to countries emerging from conflict had a greater impact.  There was a need for a common policy within the framework of the Assembly to define such concepts and coordinate the efforts across the Organization.  The Peacebuilding Commission could play a very important role in that regard.  She also emphasized the important contribution the General Assembly could make to the emerging debate.

The President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Dalius Čekuolis ( Lithuania), said progress on poverty eradication would make the task of security sector reform easier, as demobilized soldiers and ex-combatants would be more willing to “give up the gun”.  For that reason, special attention must be given to such ex-fighters in national poverty reduction strategies and also within the context of donors’ development cooperation activities.  As the United Nations developed its capacities in the area of security sector reform, the ECOSOC, in line with its coordinating role, would promote a coherent and coordinated approach, based on the shared understanding of the wider Organization’s comparative advantage relative to other multilateral, Government and civil society actors.

Ismael A. Gaspar Martins ( Angola), Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that the newly established Commission had worked with the Governments concerned to address security sector reform in the first two countries on its agenda.  In Sierra Leone, the Commission had agreed on the need to pursue ongoing national efforts in the fields of justice and security sector reform, strengthen the administration of justice and promote further reform of the police and army.  As for Burundi, it had agreed that national efforts were needed to strengthen the rule of law, as well as completing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

He said that implementing successful security sector reform in post-conflict countries was possible, provided there was adequate international support in the presence of responsible national ownership.  Such reform was a “worthy investment”, he said, noting that the recent experiences in Haiti, Timor-Leste, Guinea-Bissau and others had clearly demonstrated that, unless there was a sustainable and long-term engagement by the international community, there could be total disruption of fragile peace agreements and, ultimately, perhaps even a return to the Security Council’s agenda.

While acknowledging that military and police forces played a crucial role in the long-term success of political, economic and cultural rebuilding efforts in post-conflict societies, most speakers during the debate agreed that such forces must be held to the same standards of efficiency, equity and accountability as the other service delivery systems with which they shared characteristics.  Moreover, they must be placed under democratic control and restructured and retrained to become an asset, not a liability, in the long-term peacebuilding process.

Ghana’s representative touched on that point, specifically asking the Council:  If one of the central objectives of security sector reform was to concentrate force in the hands of the sole and legitimate authority of the State, that imposed enormous responsibility on all Governments, he said.  Should such a regime continue to be armed to the teeth in the face of its crimes against humanity?  Could it be trusted to carry out, honestly and impartially, the demobilization and disarmament of the very forces it had unleashed in pursuit of its agenda?  The persistence of those tendencies reflected a certain deficit in political commitment within the international community to the achievement of comprehensive security sector reform in developing countries, he said.

The representative of Egypt was among those who said that the thematic debate was but another example of the Security Council choosing to take up issues that fell under the purview of other United Nations organs, in this instance, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  And while he agreed that some open debates had rallied stakeholders around issues of international concern, the Council’s engagement in human rights matters, as well as issues regarding women, HIV/AIDS, and security sector reform, fell into that “grey area” and were cause for concern.  Such encroachment highlighted that the Council’s working methods needed real reform -- along with increasing its membership -- so that it could become more democratic and representative of the wider Organization, he added.

The meeting began at 11:07 a.m. and suspended at 1:05 p.m.  It reconvened at 3:10 p.m. and finished its work at 5:35 p.m.

Also speaking today were the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, the Assistant Minster for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, and the Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium.

The Council was also addressed by the representatives of the United States, Peru, United Kingdom, South Africa, Panama, France, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Congo, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Japan, Argentina, Canada, Netherlands, Honduras, Australia, Guatemala, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, Norway, Afghanistan, Uruguay and the Sudan.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2007/3, reads as follows:

“The Security Council recalls the statement by its President of 12 July 2005, in which it emphasizes that security sector reform is an essential element of any stabilization and reconstruction process in post-conflict environments.

“The Security Council stresses that reforming the security sector in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, extending legitimate State authority, and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict.  In that regard, a professional, effective and accountable security sector, and accessible and impartial law-enforcement and justice sectors are equally necessary to laying the foundations for peace and sustainable development.

“The Security Council underlines that it is the sovereign right and the primary responsibility of the country concerned to determine the national approach and priorities of 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 Security Council acknowledges that strong support and assistance of the international community are important to build national capacities thereby reinforcing national ownership, which is crucial for the sustainability of the whole process.  The Security Council also underlines that the United Nations has a crucial role to play in promoting comprehensive, coherent, and coordinated international support to nationally-owned security sector reform programmes, implemented with the consent of the country concerned.

“The Security Council notes that the United Nations system has made significant contributions to the re-establishment of functioning security sectors in post-conflict environments, and that an increasing number of United Nations organs, funds, programmes and agencies are engaged in one aspect or another of security sector reform support activities.

“The Security Council acknowledges the contribution that non-UN actors, in particular regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations, including international financial institutions, and bilateral donors as well non-governmental organizations, can bring in supporting nationally-led security sector reform programmes.

“The Security Council recognizes the need when mandating a United Nations operation to consider, as appropriate, and taking into account the concerns of the Member State and other relevant actors, the national security sector reform priorities, while laying the foundation for peace consolidation, which could, inter alia, subsequently enable timely withdrawal of international peacekeepers.  The Security Council notes the importance of close interaction among different United Nations system entities, and other relevant actors, in order to ensure that security sector reform considerations are adequately covered during implementation of Security Council mandates.

“The Security Council underlines that security sector reform can be a long-term process that continues well beyond the duration of a peacekeeping operation.  In that regard, the Security Council emphasizes the important role that the Peacebuilding Commission can play in ensuring continuous international support to countries emerging from conflict.  The Security Council takes note of the work already carried out by the Peacebuilding Commission concerning Burundi and Sierra Leone and requests it to continue advising the Council on the issue of security sector reform in the framework of its activities related to these countries.  The Security Council requests the Peacebuilding Commission to include consideration of security sector reform programmes in designing integrated peacebuilding strategies for its continued engagement with those countries, with a view to developing best practices regarding comprehensive, coherent, and nationally-owned security sector reform programmes.

“The Security Council emphasizes that security sector reform must be context-driven and that the needs will vary from situation to situation.  The Security Council encourages States to formulate their security sector reform programmes in a holistic way that encompasses strategic planning, institutional structures, resource management, operational capacity, civilian oversight and good governance.  The Security Council emphasizes the need for a balanced realization of all aspects of security sector reform, including institutional capacity, affordability, and sustainability of its programmes.  The Security Council recognizes the interlinkages between security sector reform and other important factors of stabilization and reconstruction, such as transitional justice disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and rehabilitation of former combatants, small arms and light weapons control, as well as gender equality, children and armed conflict and human rights issues.

“In light of the above, the Security Council acknowledges the need for a comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on United Nations approaches to security sector reform, to foster its implementation in post-conflict environments, and expresses its readiness to consider such a report within the scope of its prerogatives under the UN Charter.  The report should identify lessons learned, core security sector reform functions that the United Nations system can perform, roles and responsibilities of UN system entities, and how best to coordinate UN support for security sector reform with national and international activities in this field, as well as interaction with regional and subregional actors.

“The Security Council expects the Secretary-General’s report to make concrete recommendations on the identification, prioritization and sequencing of United Nations support to nationally-owned security sector reform, with particular emphasis on post-conflict environments.  This should include recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness and coordination of all UN system entities that support security sector reform.

“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to continue to include, in his periodic reports to the Security Council on specific United Nations operations mandated by the Security Council, whenever appropriate, recommendations related to security sector reform programmes in the countries concerned.

“The Security Council welcomes the joint initiative of Slovakia and South Africa to further discuss this issue with a focus on experiences and challenges of security sector reform in Africa at a workshop to be held in the course of 2007.”

Background

The Security Council met this morning to consider, in an open debate, its role in security sector reform, for which this month’s President, Peter Burian (Slovakia), sent a “concept paper”, annexed in a letter to the Secretary-General dated 8 February (document S/2007/72).

According to the concept paper, the United Nations has been engaged in security sector reform for many years, although not necessarily under that label.  However, a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated United Nations approach to security sector reform has been absent.  The open debate would offer the Council membership and other Member States the opportunity to articulate their views and propose concrete recommendations to enable the Council to formulate its role in the development of a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated United Nations approach to the issue.

In his paper, Mr. Burian states that security sector reform is driven by the understanding that an ineffective security sector represents a decisive obstacle to peace, stability, poverty reduction, sustainable development, rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.  The security sector is defined as including all those institutions, groups, organization and individuals -- both State and non-State -- that have a stake in security and justice provision, including law enforcement institutions, such as police and armed forces; security management and oversight bodies, such as parliament and the executive, as well as civil society actors, such as the media and non-governmental organizations; justice institutions; and non-statutory security forces, such as liberation armies and political party militias.

As the security sector shares many of the characteristics of other service delivery systems, it should be subject to the same standards of efficiency, equity and accountability as any other public service.  The overarching objective of security sector reform is to ensure that the security institutions perform their statutory functions efficiently and effectively in an environment consistent with democratic norms and the principles of good governance and the rule of law, thereby promoting human security.

Although a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated United Nations approach to security sector reform has been lacking, according to the Council President, such reform is very much on the Organization’s agenda, cutting across a wide range of policy areas, from peace and security to poverty reduction, economic and social development, human rights, rule of law and democratization, particularly in post-conflict environments.  The absence of an adequate system-level capacity for planning, coordination and implementation is likely to hinder United Nations efforts to support nationally led security sector reform programmes in an effective, efficient and accountable way.

Mr. Burian suggests that the immediate priorities for promoting comprehensive, coherent and coordinated international support to nationally led security sector reform programmes for the United Nations are as follows: to reach consensus on a concept of security sector reform; to allocate roles and responsibilities among the various United Nations entities; to generate lessons learned, norms, standards and best practices; to establish coordinated mechanisms within the United Nations family; and to establish coordinating mechanisms with other external actors and with internal actors in partner countries.

As key issues for special attention during the debate, he suggests norms and standards for security sector reform; system-wide United Nations guidelines and best practices for security sector reform support; the need for the United Nations to ensure consistency of its approach to reform with related areas, such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, rule of law and transitional justice; the roles of the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission; ensuring sufficient United Nations capacity for supporting security sector reform; and the proper coordination among intergovernmental organizations and other international actors involved in security sector reform assistance.

Statements

Council President, JÁN KUBIŠ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, said that today’s meeting on security sector reform was the first thematic debate under Slovakia’s first-ever presidency of the Security Council.  That was no surprise, since Slovakia’s own experience had shown the importance of such reform to ensuring peace, stability and development.  Further, over its year-long transition, and throughout its experience on the international scene, Slovakia had seen that a lack of security sector reform could become one of the causes for relapse into conflict or prolonged instability.

He stressed that, while reformed and restructured security sectors were crucial for post-conflict peacebuilding, the ultimate objective should be the improvement of everyday lives of the people through the improvement of the security sector.  He said that, while the United Nations had done a good job in dealing with security sectors in post-conflict situations, it was time for the Organization and the wider international community to devote more time and attention to the matter.  Indeed, security sector reform must be delicately balanced between international support and national ownership.  Such reform called for coordination, coherence and efficiency of international- and national-level efforts.  Finally, he noted that security sector reform was one of the first thematic debates in the opening weeks of the new Secretary-General’s tenure and, noting Ban Ki-moon’s presence, said he hoped the matter would remain high on the United Nations agenda.

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, said that today’s theme on security sector reform lay at the heart of the Council’s responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security, in particular in assisting the re-establishment of sustainable peace after violent conflict.  Security sector reform, a relatively new term, stood for issues such as the search for sustainable security and the recognition that security was also a precondition for setting countries on the path to development.  Security sector reform aimed to achieve effective, accountable and sustainable security institutions operating under a framework of the rule of law and respect for human rights.  It embraced values and principles such as commitment to the rule of law, commitment to the protection of human rights and commitment to the State as the cornerstone of international peace and security.

From decades-long experience in peacekeeping in post-conflict environments, four lessons had been learned, he said.  The first was that security was a crucial and immediate condition for peacebuilding.  A basic degree of security was one of the most visible and immediate dividends.  It was also a condition for initiating efforts towards long-term development.  There was now a better understanding of how early decisions in peace agreements -- particularly in the context of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration -- impacted on efforts to establish sustainable security structures and processes.

He said a second lesson was that security could not be restored and maintained in a vacuum.  It was also vital to address the needs and perspectives of the State and the communities within it.  National ownership was the key to sustainable peace.  National ownership in post-conflict environments was not a static entity, but evolved as leaders and communities were brought into the peacebuilding process.  That principle had guided United Nations efforts in Kosovo, where the Organization was conducting a province-wide consultation on security sector reform with the purpose of obtaining a comprehensive picture of security needs and perspectives.

A third lesson learned was that sustainable security went beyond reintegrating soldiers and units, or training and equipping individual police officers, he said.  As Haiti, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Liberia had shown: without effective, well-governed security institutions in place, the maintenance of peace was short-lived.  Sustainable security involved strengthening institutions and processes.  It called for capable management, sustainable funding and effective oversight.  Through initiatives such as the Standing Police Capacity, the United Nations worked to support national authorities in building sustainable law enforcement institutions.

He said the fourth lesson learned was that building sustainable security after conflict went beyond the scope of any one actor.  Even within the United Nations, coordination was necessary as a part of an effective response.  Also, to build sustainable security, many others must be engaged: Member States, regional organizations, Bretton Woods institutions and others.  All efforts must be carefully coordinated.

He said that, increasingly, peacekeeping mandates reflected the perspectives of security sector reform, such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.  From now on, the overall task must be to ensure that United Nations peacekeepers were provided with the guidance and support they needed to carry out those tasks effectively and efficiently.  Peacekeepers must be provided with the standards, guidance and training they needed to provide consistent and quality assistance to national authorities.  It must be ensured that mission leaders had the knowledge to direct personnel in carrying out complex support tasks.  Finally, United Nations support for security reform in post-conflict environments must be closely coordinated with ongoing efforts to develop integrated peacebuilding strategies.

SHEIKHA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA ( Bahrain), President of the General Assembly, said the Assembly had reaffirmed the United Nations leading role in supporting countries emerging from conflict in building and strengthening institutional capacities.  It had also stressed the importance of strengthening the role of the international community in dealing with countries emerging from conflict, in order to prevent them from sliding back into conflict.  The role security sector reform could play in promoting that agenda could not be underestimated.  The Organization had already developed a great deal of expertise and best practices in its peacekeeping operations.

She said the core institutions of State –- police, army and judiciary –- were crucial to national stability and justice, good governance and the rule of law.  The impartiality of those institutions reflected the strength of a country’s democratic values.  A competent, law abiding and well-governed security sector, with effective civilian oversight, was vital for overall peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts, and sustainable development.  That was why national ownership was extremely important.  The United Nations could play an important capacity-building role.  Security sector reform, beginning with peacekeeping operations, was an integral part of the transition from conflict situations to long-term stability and economic development.

Better coordination of collective efforts at the international level and across the Organization was necessary to ensure that much needed assistance to countries emerging from conflict had a greater impact, she said.  There was a need for a common policy within the framework of the Assembly to define such concepts and coordinate the efforts across the Organization.  The Peacebuilding Commission could play a very important role in that regard.  She also emphasized the important contribution the General Assembly could make to the emerging debate.

The President of the Economic and Social Council, DALIUS ČEKUOLIS ( Lithuania), said that the Security Council’s meeting was yet another acknowledgement that the traditional divide between “security issues” and development concerns was actually an artificial and unsustainable one.  Indeed, that was the perspective under which the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Africa –- on Guinea Bissau and Burundi -- had operated.  The experiences of the Groups had led them to conclude that the role of security forces, particularly its internal role, and the processes of security sector reform were key ingredients of the post-conflict peacebuilding agenda. “Without a secure environment, recovery, reconstruction and sustainable development is not possible,” he said.

That was why the Ad Hoc Groups, in their meetings with the countries concerned, had always seen the military as key interlocutors for dialogue, he said, adding that it was that interaction, as well as their dialogue with other stakeholders, that had led tem to support the wider call for security sector reform.  Indeed, the Group on Guinea-Bissau had lent its voice to the Security Council during a joint mission in June 2004, in calling for urgent and immediate international assistance to finance a comprehensive restructuring package for that country’s armed forces, because of concerns regarding poor conditions of service, ethnic divisions in the military and the availability of small arms.

He went on to say that the lack of progress in security sector reform in post-conflict countries would continue to contribute to political instability and uncertainty and hamper development.  Moreover, progress on poverty eradication would make the task of security sector reform easier, as demobilized soldiers and ex-combatants would be more willing to “give up the gun”.  For that reason, special attention must be given to such ex-fighters in national poverty reduction strategies and also within the context of donors’ development cooperation activities.  He said that, as the United Nations developed its capacities in the area of security sector reform, the Economic and Social Council, within the context of its coordinating role, would continue to promote a coherent and coordinated approach, based on the shared understanding of the system’s comparative advantage relative to other multilateral, Government and civil society actors.

ISMAEL A. GASPAR MARTINS ( Angola), Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that, considering that security sector reform constituted one of the key ingredients of the post-conflict peacebuilding agenda, today’s debate was of particular importance to the Commission, as it took place at a moment when that newly established body had embarked on concrete field efforts.  He hoped that the proposals that emerged from the meeting, as well as from other United Nations forums, would enable the Council to reach its objective concerning a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated Organization-wide approach to security sector reform.

He said the security sector was itself complex, as it included all organizations that had the authority to use, or to order the use of, force or threat of force to protect the State and its citizens, as well as those civil structures that were responsible for their management and oversight.  Given that, a comprehensive and coordinated approach was required.  While it was generally considered that the United Nations needed to better enhance its capabilities and capacities in the security sector reform area, it was also important to note that the Organization had accumulated invaluable experience, through, among other bodies, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as well as the Security Council, the General Assembly and others.  He also noted the formulation last year of the Policy Committee Working Group on Security Sector Reform.

At the same time, the United Nations approach should take into account the organizational reforms already under way, including the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, which was an important framework for the consideration of many of the same issues.  With that in mind, he said the Commission, in coordination with the Governments concerned, had spared no effort in addressing security sector reform in the countries on its agenda, Burundi and Sierra Leone.  In Sierra Leone, the Commission had agreed on the need to pursue ongoing national efforts in the fields of justice and security sector reform, strengthen the administration of justice and promote further reform of the police and army.  As for Burundi, the Commission had agreed on the importance of national efforts to strengthen the rule of law, as well as completing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

“We are therefore before a challenging task,” he said, adding that, nevertheless, implementing security sector reform in post-conflict countries was possible, provided there was adequate international support in the presence of responsible national ownership.  Such reform was a “worthy investment”, he said, noting that the recent experiences in Haiti, Timor-Leste, Guinea-Bissau and others had clearly demonstrated that, unless there was a sustainable and long-term engagement by the international community, there could be total disruption of fragile peace agreements and, ultimately, perhaps even a return to the Security Council’s agenda.  All those lessons should inform the debate today, as should the experience accumulated by regional organizations and others working in post-conflict situations.

CUI TIANKAI, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said security sector reform had become an important part of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  As Liberia and Sierra Leone showed, security sector reform was conducive to restoring peace and promoting development.  Reform of the security sector should aim to ensure the involvement of the security sectors, such as the army and police, in nation-building, preservation of stability and promotion of economic growth.  It should not be used as a tool for wars and violence.  Security sector reform should also serve the comprehensive strategy of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

He said the United Nations should play the leading and coordinating role in the reform.  It should formulate a comprehensive approach to the issue by drawing on practices proved effective over years of peacekeeping operations.  The General Assembly, the Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and relevant United Nations missions should be more involved, and coordination with regional organizations strengthened.  The will of the countries concerned should be respected.  The rebuilding of national institutions was, after all, a country’s internal affairs.  The international community should act more as an adviser and assistance provider.

The United Nations had been founded following the two world wars and had the important responsibility of building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity in the twenty-first century, he said.  “We are duty-bound to reach out to those people who are suffering from conflicts, help them get out of the abyss of war, restore law and order and enjoy stability and security.  We should bring the conflicting parties together through mutual tolerance, resolution of differences and national reconciliation.  We should help them heal the wounds of conflict, embark on the road to development and thus enabling them to enjoy the dividends of peace.”

VITTORIO CRAXI, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said his country attached crucial importance to security sector reform in countries emerging from conflict.  Such reform should include the principle actors, such as the armed forces, but also Government institutions in general and the judiciary in particular.  Security sector reform was an integral part of peacekeeping strategies, in which the United Nations played a vital role.  It must be closely linked to the immediate post-conflict phase, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and be part of broad planning for development and reconstruction.  It was also necessary to develop an effective system for the administration of justice.

He said the role of the United Nations in security sector reform was crucial, as the Organization enjoyed the greatest international legitimacy.  It also had at its disposal a wide range of tools.  As for the role of the “Blue Helmets”, priority should be given to the development of the police component in peacekeeping operations.  In that regard, he proposed to establish in Brindisi the headquarters of the new police force.

It was crucial to strengthen international coordination among international and regional organizations, he said, and proposed intensifying operational cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union.  Respect for national responsibility remained key to security sector reform.  That implied that the country’s authorities define priorities.  Italy contributed to peacebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, where it was the principal partner in reforming the judicial system.  It would organize a conference on justice and the rule of law, in order to revive donor activity in that sector.  Without justice and the establishment of the rule of law, one could not expect security and development.

MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH AL-RUMAIHI, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said the issue of security sector reform was multidimensional and multifaceted, and did not fall within the purview of the Council alone, but involved several organs, both within and outside of the United Nations.  Security sector reform should be viewed in the wider context of building State institutions.  It must be ensured that the process was subject to the same requirements of accountability as any other public service.

He said that, first of all, at the forefront of security sector reform lay the stabilization of security and the achievement of comprehensive political and economic development, including establishment of an effective judiciary.  The overall objective of security sector reform was ensuring the discharge by the security institutions of their statutory functions; i.e. providing security and justice for the people efficiently and effectively.  A suitable strategy must be elaborated in order to ensure national ownership.  The United Nations bore a special responsibility in elaborating a strategy for security sector reform, especially in countries where it had peacekeeping missions.   The Peacebuilding Commission had an important role to play in securing operational continuity.

National ownership of the security sector reform process was crucial, but the contribution that could be made by regional organizations was another element in ensuring coordinated efforts, especially in view of the pioneering role that could be played by regional and subregional organizations.  All efforts in security sector reform required adequate and continuous support by the United Nations and other international players, including bilateral and international donors.  That would guarantee the success of the reform process, with a view to consolidating peace, strengthening democratic institutions and creating the necessary conditions for the establishment of justice and the achievement of development.

PIERRE CHEVALIER, Special Envoy for the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said that a better understanding of the complex security sector reform issue would lead to better implementation and coordination among national and local actors.   Belgium believed that the success of any security sector reform hinged on the capacity of, and interrelationships between, the various institutions concerned, in order to ensure lasting peace and stability.   Belgium also stressed the importance of national ownership, which was critical in the so-called “transition” phase of post-conflict countries that followed coordinated disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts.

On the need to have interaction and coordination between all the players in security sector reform –- who did what and when -– he said, among other things, regional and bilateral actors were necessary to help recovering Governments carry out security sector reform.  The Peacebuilding Commission could be critical in helping coordinate the actions of various actors.  On the issue of funding security sector reform, he said that the Organization and the wider international community should recognize the importance of official development assistance (ODA), as well as non-official funding.

ALEJANDRO WOLFF ( United States) said his delegation agreed that the multidimensional nature of today’s complex emergencies and peace operations required carefully coordinated and cohesive international responses.  Security sector reform was a critical component of that response.  Indeed, ad hoc responses were not sufficient, and failing, failed and post-conflict States presented a common challenge to global security and prosperity.  If left unattended, they could provide a breeding ground for terrorism, trafficking, humanitarian catastrophes and other threats to common interests.  While the United Nations could play a critical role in mitigating and responding to such crises, individually and collectively, States must continue to develop integrated approaches to address crises rapidly, from the first response stages to elements critical to promoting and ensuring sustainable development.

In the wake of war, there was often a rise in criminal activity, particularly in the immediate post-conflict period, he continued.  While military and peacekeepers could help stabilize a country, establishing a competent, impartial and adequately resourced law enforcement system was crucial for continuing maintenance of security.  While police were critical to re-establishing local and national public security institutions and the rule of law, a comprehensive approach required not only policing, but also the involvement of the entire public security and justice systems.  Building police capacity must be integrated with assistance to the judicial and penal systems.  Without that integrated approach, policing became nothing more than a continuation of the peacekeeping function, rather than a vital precursor to peacebuilding.  To that end, it was of paramount importance that the rule of law be established rapidly across the full territory of the post-conflict State, to present the emergence of political corruption, organized crime and other criminal and terrorist elements.

JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru) said the responsibilities of the Council had evolved.  It was no longer restricted to conflicts among States, but had transcended to violent conflict within countries with international implications.  Dealing with those crises required not only ending the conflict, but also combating its root causes.  Every State affected by internal armed conflict needed to rebuild institutions that would enable them to provide security and to promote the well-being of its population.  Progress must go hand in hand with the protection of human rights and equality before the law.

He said security sector reform implied wide intersectoral planning and required participation of all political and social groups at the national level.  The United Nations played a key role in supporting those processes, in particular its Peacebuilding Commission.  Security sector reform should include making disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants a priority.  Measures for arms control, particularly small arms and light weapons, were also important.  It should create institutions oriented to public order and internal security, as well as the adequate composition of its staff.  The effective application of security sector reform required the implementation of policies on incentives, supervision and sanctions.  The reform process should be complemented with due attention to economic and social factors that might cause poverty, marginalization and exclusion.

EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), aligning himself with the European Union, stressed that security sector reform was a national responsibility that should be defined and owned by national stakeholders, informed by the best international standards and practices, and supported by the international community.  Effective security sector reform required a comprehensive approach, particularly in post-conflict environments involving many complex and interrelated problems.  A single, nationally owned, agreed and driven strategic plan was needed, around which international partners could coordinate their support.

He said the United Nations should be willing and able to play a key role in the coordination of that support by facilitating the work of the national stakeholders in three key areas:  shared analysis of what must be done and to what extent; development of a clear strategic implementation plan; and establishment of a mechanism for management, monitoring and evaluation of implementation.  The establishment or re-establishment of capable, accountable, responsive and sustainable security and justice institutions would require strong political support, technical expertise and human and financial resources.

There were three main areas in which measures could be taken to strengthen the Organization’s work on security sector reform, he said.  First, the United Nations system must further define the roles and responsibilities of its different departments, agencies, funds and programmes on security sector reform.  Second, there should be a clear strategic lead within the system, coordinating the work and overseeing the whole process.  Finally, the Organization should define system-wide core principles on security sector reform, drawing on its own lessons-learned and on established best practices.

DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa) said that, while new, the security sector reform tool was critical for lasting development, as well as for creating an enabling environment for promoting and protecting human rights and the implementation of the rule of law.  When a country was in the grip of conflict, State institutions were the first to collapse, democracy eroded and the culture for human rights generally regressed or disappeared.  Further, he said that, at such times, State organs such as the courts, police and military began to serve those that were in power, rather than the people they had been created to protect and serve.  Parties to the conflict began creating their own private armies.

He said all that led to a general breakdown of trust of State institutions, as citizens were left to conclude that democracy had been abandoned and human rights no longer applied, “Security sector reform, therefore, is not a process that was only restricted to building the State institution,” he added.  “It is also about the building of trust between the populations with the newly established democratic institutions.”  Such reform required full country ownership backed by an informed and active legislature, a clear Government policy framework, an effective executive authority and an active civil society.  The roles and responsibilities of all those involved in a specific country’s security needed to be spelled out, he added.

He went on to say that it was imperative that the international community, including the United Nations, seriously define its role in the security sector reform process, as the complex issue required diverse activities and actions from which expertise could be drawn at national and local levels.  Such international assistance should be clearly defined, as the donor community should avoid imposing solutions that were often at odds with the interest of the concerned country.  The process should be one that favoured conflict resolution and which promoted national reconciliation.

In the recent past, the international community, particularly donors, had a tendency to impose solutions on countries emerging from conflict, he said.  The uncertainty brought about by the competing interests of donors and national actors often deepened the challenges faced by the post-conflict country.  As a result, the process ended up favouring donors, rather than promoting national reconciliation or nation-building.  “While external actors can inform and advise, they cannot prescribe, when it comes to matters of national security, and this can be achieved through an open and transparent national process, with the assistance of the international community.”

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said security development and human rights were each intimately affected by the historical, political and cultural reality of each country.  Each security sector project, therefore, must conform to those realities.  The rationale of security was to protect individuals:  a democratic State had the duty and responsibility to offer security as a service with the same standards of quality regulating other public services and institutions.  Under that perspective, the State’s protection of democratic institutions and national integrity constituted the way to guarantee sustainable human development.

He said the Security Council had the duty to prevent situations that might jeopardize international peace and security, and an equal responsibility to resolve conflict situations.  It was somewhat more complex to deal with security sector reform in post-conflict situations.  In that phase, the Council, the Peacebuilding Commission, the General Assembly and the Secretariat, as well as other United Nations organs, must act as parts of a whole in carrying out the objectives and priorities previously established.

In that context, he said, the Security Council must facilitate and foster the participation of regional organizations, as provided for in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, as well as a more active role for civil society organizations.  Today’s debate must be aimed at generating a broad consensus, based fundamentally on respect for the principles and norms of international law and the Charter.

JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, stressed that security issues were not just a military issue, but a precondition for development and the fight against poverty.  A holistic approach should be taken towards security sector reform, within the broader framework of improving governance.  Simultaneous action in different domains had to be taken, including in the police, military and judicial sectors.

He said that, with the Peacebuilding Commission now in place, it was important to reflect on the specific responsibility of the Council in post-conflict situations.  The Council should address security sector reform early on, when establishing mandates for peacekeeping operations.  However, the scope of Council consideration could not be defined ahead of time, but would depend on the circumstances in each different case.  It was crucial that the international community act in support of a national plan.  His country had contributed to security sector reform in support of peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Haiti.  One of the challenges in security sector reform was to create synergies and to coordinate actors.  It would be up to the Peacebuilding Commission to enhance synergy and ensure such coordination.

REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia) said that, despite the fact that security sector reform continued to receive increasing attention, it remained a contentious and complex issue on which no consensus had been reached.  In practice, security sector reform often appeared not as a single programmatic entity, but as a cross-cutting activity that involved various stakeholders.  Reform in the security sector was interlinked with reform in other sectors.  When crafted carefully and implemented consistently, with participation of civil society, reforms in different sectors would be mutually reinforcing, as the reforms in his country over the last seven years had shown.

He said that a United Nations approach to security sector reform should be confined to post-conflict contexts, but that a coherent and coordinated approach within the United Nations system was still lacking and warranted managerial and institutional reform.  The Organization should have a sufficient planning, coordinating and implementing capacity in order to assist in security sector reform.  The Peacebuilding Commission could bridge the coordination and implementation gap within the United Nations.  It could also contribute to the definition, principles, norms, standards, modality and mechanisms of security sector reform.  In order to make security sector reform sustainable, financial and technical assistance from the international community would be meaningful.  The Council could propose, through its mission mandates, the parameters for security sector reform in post-conflict countries.

KONSTANTIN DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) said that successful security sector reform, and the long-term peace and stability that such reform would engender, required an effective combination of peacekeeping and peacebuilding mechanisms, along with enhanced coordination of on-the-ground security sector actors.  It was clear that the role of the United Nations in this field should be designed on the basis of national needs and priorities defined by the countries themselves.  He added that the United Nations should focus on supporting, among others, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-fighters.

The reports of the Secretary-General on the work of the United Nations peacekeeping missions, where appropriate, should inform the Council about the challenges to security sector reform in the countries concerned.  He went on to say that there was a need to ensure close cooperation in the area of security sector reform among the main organs of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council itself.  The newly established Peacebuilding Commission should also play a supportive role in the overall process.  Looking ahead, he said that any recommendations that emerged from today’s meeting should draw on the United Nations past peacekeeping and peacebuilding experiences when outlining a coordinated and comprehensive United Nations approach to security sector reform.

BASILE IKOUEBE (Congo), noting the experience of Burundi and Sierra Leone -- the two countries currently on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda -- said that, in order to build peace, it was necessary to enhance country-level capacities in the area of security sector reform, particularly when it became clear that the relevant service sectors or institutions were too conflict-battered to carry out effective and democratic reforms.

The United Nations should support the development of good practices, particularly in situations requiring intense cooperation among political, military and humanitarian actors.  The Council should also encourage regional and subregional involvement in the security sector reform process.  Any overall actions should lean towards streamlining mechanisms, while ensuring that the proper safeguards were in place to address such issues as governance and the rule of law, human rights and the fight against impunity.

NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana) said West Africa’s experience with regional integration showed that the legacies of colonialism and the cold war continued to cast their shadows on the outlook, traditions and ethical standards of key security sector institutions, including the military, police, customs and intelligence agencies.  It was, therefore, imperative to address security sector reform from a perspective that was in harmony with the African Union’s efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability on the continent in the foundation of social inclusion, democratic governance and sustainable development.

He recalled that, in July 1990, on the eve of the cold war’s end, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government had adopted the landmark Declaration on the Political and Socio-economic Situation in Africa and the Fundamental Changes Taking Place in the World and, subsequently, the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU (Organization of African Unity) Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government.  The initiative for the sort of radical shake-up required to realign the security sector to the ambitions reflected in those instruments must first come from the African leaders themselves.

While welcoming recent significant efforts by most development partners to adapt their technical assistance programmes in the area of security to the changing African reality, he said the United Nations was also expected to fashion a reform strategy that would facilitate, where possible, attainment of the objectives that Africans had set for themselves.  A better appreciation of the continent’s history and a deeper understanding of the dynamics of its political economy were required to form a meaningful partnership in security sector reform.

Many of the problems threatening to derail reform programmes transcended the immediate needs of the post-conflict societies directly concerned, he pointed out.  For instance, how could the widely accepted notion of the right of the State to exercise a monopoly on the use of force square with the loose international regulatory framework permitting the illicit trade and proliferation in small arms and light weapons?  There was also the growing menace of private militias and military contractors that had often been deployed to guard mining operations against marginalized indigenous groups, not to mention those recruited, armed and organized by central Governments, either to terrorize their own populations or to wage proxy wars against neighbouring States, or both.

If one of the central objectives of security sector reform was to concentrate force in the hands of the sole and legitimate authority of the State, that imposed enormous responsibility on all Governments, he said.  When the State’s monopoly of force was perverted by the emergence of a dictatorial regime that trampled on the rights of its citizens and even perpetrated ethnic cleansing and genocide, how should the international community respond?  Should such a regime continue to be armed to the teeth in the face of its crimes against humanity?  Could it be trusted to carry out, honestly and impartially, the demobilization and disarmament of the very forces it had unleashed in pursuit of its agenda?  The persistence of those tendencies reflected a certain deficit in political commitment within the international community to the achievement of comprehensive security sector reform in developing countries.

Speaking in his national capacity, PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) said that the importance of security sector reform as an essential element of any stabilization process had been acknowledged by the international community, but a common understanding of the concept had yet to be established.  There was a lot to be done in order to overcome the fragmented character of current efforts.  Today’s debate could serve:  to highlight the central importance of security sector reform for peace and stability; to underline the central role of national and local ownership; to stress the ultimate objective, namely improvement of people’s life; and to accent the interlinkages between security, development and human rights.

He said that, in order to improve the international community’s performance on the issue, donor efforts should be better coordinated and the role of regional and other international organizations should be further promoted.  By virtue of its global mandate, unique legitimacy, early presence on the ground and experience to date, the United Nations could do more through better coordinated and coherent approaches.  He hoped that a comprehensive report of the Secretary-General could outline the basic strategy of the Organization in the field of security sector reform and define shared principles, objectives and guidelines for United Nations support and summarize lessons learned.  The Council should make a difference through a better reflection of security sector reform priorities in the mandates of peacekeeping operations and integrated political offices.

THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union engaged in more than 70 security sector reform-related activities worldwide, through European Union pre-accession assistance, development cooperation and conflict prevention and crisis management support.  Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a potential candidate for membership, benefited from substantial security sector reform support in the areas of police, justice and border management.  The European Union Police Mission, in accordance with best European and international practice, sought to establish sustainable policing arrangements under Bosnian ownership through monitoring, mentoring and inspection activities.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the European Union had, since 2002, played a leading role in defence, police and justice reform.  However, international assistance in bringing peace and development to the whole country could not bear fruit without reform of the security sector.  Therefore, the Union had confirmed its readiness to assume a lead coordinating role in international security sector reform efforts alongside the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

He said the Union had also launched, in close coordination with the United Nations, a police mission in Kinshasa to monitor, mentor and advise the Integrated Police Unit and ensure that it acted according to international best practice.  The Unit’s impartiality was a key element and it had successfully intervened on various occasions during the recent election period, stabilizing the situation on the streets of the capital.

Finally, the regional body’s Council of Ministers had decided last week to start planning a police mission in Afghanistan, he said.  It would complement the already substantive Union’s support of the Afghan Police Force concerning payment of salaries and would be carried out in conjunction with a European Union reform programme aimed at professionalizing the judicial and public prosecution service.  That important step confirmed the European Union’s strong long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

He said that, given the experiences it had gained from that range of security sector reform programmes and missions, the Union believed reform must be approached in a holistic manner underpinned by comprehensive national security strategies.  That started with an assessment of a country’s security needs and should include plans for the security system’s future architecture.  The Union promoted coherent approaches within the United Nations system guided by lessons learned from past experiences and based on agreed principles.  In that context, the Union was also undertaking particular efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, as well as resolution 1612 (2005) on children affected by armed conflict.

RODGRIGO MALMIERCA DÍAZ (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said, in the past few months, the international community had begun to listen to some controversial theories and ideas directly linked to today’s theme, but consensus among Member States still had to be sought through an exhaustive process of negotiations.  The underlying theme of security sector reform was that there was an inefficiency and poor governance that represented serious obstacles to peace, stability, reduction of poverty, sustainable development, rule of law and respect for human rights.  There was, however, insufficient clarity on how that inefficiency could be evaluated, which could give way to value judgements and could lead to arbitrary implementation.

He said carrying out the rehabilitation of security sectors in States emerging from conflicts was a matter that should be decided by national Governments.  It was not the prerogative of the international community to prescribe the road ahead for them.  National ownership was key.  The Council, with its limited membership, did not seem to be the appropriate place to conceptualize, or event to direct, activities of inter-agency coordination to carry out reforms.  If the concern was mainly focused on rehabilitating the security sector in post-conflict situations -- where the sector, together with other government institutions, had been impacted by long years of conflict -- the issue was not related to the reform of the security sector, but rather to capacity-building in the States emerging from conflicts, which was an area for the Peacebuilding Commission.

The Non-Aligned Movement stressed that one could not afford to repeat past mistakes, cases where the Council had attempted to force reforms in the judicial and security sectors without the prior consent of the concerned States, he said.  Efforts should concentrate on solving the root causes of conflicts.  Different organs and agencies of the United Nations system needed to coordinate their work on issues of underdevelopment, epidemics, poverty and the marginalization of the third world in the global economy.  The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and reiterated that, without prejudice to the functions and powers of the other principal organs of the United Nations regarding post-conflict peacebuilding activities, the Assembly must have the key role in the formulation of such policies.

TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) said it was not an exaggeration to say that the eventual success of reconstruction and peacebuilding hinged on the successful implementation of security sector reform.  Thus, security sector reform should not be seen merely as one aspect of institution-building.  It was for that reason that his country had been paying significant attention to such reform.  In parallel with humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, Japan had been helping women and men in Afghanistan, Iraq, Timor-Leste and other countries in their security sector reform activities.  It had helped local police to strengthen their capacity, and create jobs in order to facilitate the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.  Japan had also helped carry out the collection and disposal of small arms and light weapons and landmines.

He commended the ongoing coordination within the United Nations system in the framework of the inter-agency working group among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and others.  There was often a risk of narrowing discussions on coordination down to focus on building a new coordinating mechanism, whereas that was not what the men and women on the ground were hoping for.  The Government of Japan had recently used Afghanistan’s existing coordination body, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, to propose a joint effort between Japan and Germany towards reforming the Interior Ministry.

Emphasizing the importance of ensuring the legitimacy of an international intervention, should the Security Council authorize one, he said it should also ensure there was sufficient consideration of security sector reform aspects at an early stage, especially during the negotiations for a peace agreement.  Peacekeeping mandates would be significantly enriched if the Council conducted a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders.

He said that, to bridge the critical gap between the post-conflict situation and sustainable development, the smooth transfer of the principal local mandate from a peacekeeping operation to an integrated United Nations mission and then to a country team was essential.  In that connection, it would be useful to closely coordinate the exit strategy of a peacekeeping operation or integrated mission with the longer-term integrated peacebuilding scheme that the Peacebuilding Commission had just begun formulating.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN ( Argentina) noted that the United Nations system, through its different bodies, departments, agencies, funds and programmes, was committed to a great number of activities relating to security sector reform, especially through its peacekeeping operations and development programmes.  It was important to have a wide and comprehensive strategy that could practically help United Nations bodies involved in related tasks and that could be integrated into recovery programmes elaborated by the Peacebuilding Commission.

Participation by the country concerned was fundamental, he said, stressing that each reform strategy must be elaborated and conducted in coordination with local authorities.  The active participation of national Governments or local representatives in all reform processes allowed a better identification of priorities at the time of establishing the strategy.  At the same time, due to the initial commitment, it ensured extended implementation in the long-run.  It was, therefore, a key responsibility of the Security Council, when creating the mandate for a peace operation, to consider and include those priorities so that they could be addressed, in the first instance, by the mission.

Thus, the fundamental bases of the reform and restructuring of the security sector could be laid during the peace operation, he said.  Later, in the period following the transition towards definite institutional reconstruction, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission was fundamental in the continuation of such reform, promoting international aid together with local authorities.  That was why there must be continuous coordination between the Commission and the Council during the whole security sector reform process, since the two organs must work together in an integrated manner.

JOHN McNEE (Canada) said that building a well-managed security sector not only required military and police reforms -- the immediate priority of stabilization missions -- but also the construction of impartial and accessible judicial and corrections sectors.  To be sustainable, those reforms must be based on the foundations of transparency, equality, civilian protection, democratic norms and respect for human rights.  The Council’s responsibility for integrating reform of the basic security sector was well established, including through security sector reform components in mission mandates.  However, critical elements of security sector reform, notably justice and corrections, were not consistently addressed.  Few mandates mentioned strengthening civilian control and accountability or gender-mainstreaming in security sector reform.  He urged the Council to systematically include all elements of security sector reform within integrated mission mandates and to ensure a coherent link between mandates and resources, including for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

He said that, while the Council bore particular responsibility for security sector reform in the immediate aftermath of conflict, long-term success demanded the capabilities of a much wider community of actors, including regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and bilateral partners, and must include the commitment of local authorities.  In order to minimize duplication, the United Nations would benefit from a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities within the United Nations system.  He hoped that a report on the issue would include recommendations on:  how to improve coordination and implementation of security sector reform in the field; the advisability of establishing an internal coordinating mechanism; and best practices for coordinating the transition from short-term to longer-term reform efforts, including the role of the Peacebuilding Commission in integrated mission planning.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said that, while his delegation believed that open debates were one of the main ways to reinforce and deepen the understanding and coordination between the Council and the wider United Nations membership, it was nevertheless important to take a close look at whether such meetings achieved that purpose.  And, in all fairness, some of the open debates had contributed to enhancing coordination among the main United Nations organs on grave issues of international concern.  But, the majority of the debates aimed to reinforce the Council’s encroachment on the prerogatives of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, clearly disregarding Member States’ calls to put an end to that “serious phenomenon”.

The Council’s engagement in human rights matters, as well as issues regarding women, crime, HIV/AIDS, and with reports that it would attempt to address economic and environmental issues, were cause for grave concern for all Member States, he said.  Such encroachment highlighted that the Council’s working methods needed real reform -- along with increasing its membership -- so that it could become more democratic and representative of the wider Organization.  The debate today fell into that “grey area”, in which the Council was attempting to exercise control over matters that fell to the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  He added that, while security sector reforms had had limited success when applied by such European groups as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the suggestion that there was widespread agreement on that so called “new concept” was far from true, especially since security sector reform was linked to a number of controversial issues -- on which there was no consensus -- such as “the responsibility to protect” and human security, both of which attempted to use humanitarian imperatives to justify interference in the internal affairs of some countries.

ARJAN PAUL HAMBURGER ( Netherlands) said that the phrase “no development without security and no security without development” applied to all countries, developed and developing alike.  The security of the people and not just of a State, was a precondition for development, and development contributed to lasting peace and security and, hence, prosperity.  With that in mind, he said that security sector reform was not only essential for countries emerging from conflict, but could also play a crucial role in conflict prevention, and should be a part of any peace negotiations.  The Netherlands also believed that security sector reform should be adopted post-conflict if the political situation was still fragile.

At the same time, he recognized that security sector reform was a political and often sensitive issue; it was not only about the effectiveness of security forces, but also about the accountability of power and democratic control.  It had to be a part of a framework of checks and balances, he said.  Indeed, the sector dealt with so many actors, including police, defence and intelligence services, as well as justice institutions and customs and border control, among others, that a comprehensive approach was required.  That approach had to be developed and implemented in a still unstable environment, where governance was weak or lacking, and State institutions were not functioning.

Finally, he stressed that security sector reform needed to be a nationally owned process, embedded in a national development framework.  And, while international support might often be necessary, the modalities of the reform should not be imposed and must be carefully considered.

IVÁN ROMERO MARTÍNEZ ( Honduras) said the concept document was a theoretical and philosophical contribution to a dialogue on security aspects and the role of the Council therein.   The process of security sector reform would require a great deal of national decision-making, and the United Nations system was an important factor in developing that national-level decision-making.  National strategies should be coherent, precise and in compliance with national and international legislation.  The active participation of civil society was also important.  Moreover, in the process, there was a need to achieve, as soon as possible, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

He agreed that it was necessary to issue guidelines regarding security sector reform as soon as possible.  In that context, he suggested that a broader debate take place in the Assembly to ensure that:  the ideas were universal; there was an exchange of experience; and that consensus could be achieved on a global strategy.  The Economic and Social Council should also carry out its own exercise in consultation with other bodies, such as the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.  Debates should also be held at the national and subregional level.  Mankind was waiting for concrete proposals regarding everyday concerns, such as employment, education, health, security and peace, and especially the protection of human rights.

ROBERT HILL ( Australia) said the United Nations had focused on States in conflict or emerging from conflict and had, through the Peacebuilding Commission, put a renewed emphasis on sustainable peace.  In the same way as the line between peacebuilding and peacekeeping was imprecise, so was the point at which a State was at risk of sliding back into violence.  The security sector could, therefore, also be a threat to instability.  Sometimes it was easier for a bilateral friend to help, but it was also important that lessons learned from the United Nations were documented.

He said a solution should not be imposed, as national ownership was important.  Support from regional partners could result in a reduced risk of States slipping back into conflict.  He then went on to describe two examples in which Australia, together with other partners, had contributed to security sector reform in Papua New Guinea and in Solomon Islands.  Apart from lessons learned regarding identifying best practices and ensuring national ownership, another lesson was that the offer of help must be ongoing; there must be a long-term commitment of the partners.  Remaining supportive over time was of critical importance.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ( Guatemala) said his delegation realized that the Member States had not yet reached agreement on the overall concept of security sector reform, or a single formula for implementing such a process.  Therefore, it was necessary to seek consensus on how to promote stability and sustainable development in countries emerging from conflict.  The Council, as well as the wider international community, should also recognize that security sector reform was but one element of long-term peacebuilding initiatives, which included, among others, social, economic and human rights concerns.

Indeed, the Council should recognize that one of the main elements of post-conflict peacebuilding was ensuring human security, he continued.  Poverty, underdevelopment, and the lack of education were among the greatest threats to the effective implementation of post-conflict reforms on the ground.  There was an enduring need to ensure that United Nations initiatives in the field were closely coordinated with national-level activities.  The Council must also recognize that it was not the only body with the capability to debate security sector reform and other post-conflict peacebuilding issues.  Finally, he noted that any report of the Secretary-General on security sector reform that emerged from the meeting should include a special emphasis on women, peace and security in the field.

FRANK GRUETTER ( Switzerland) emphasized the need for broad-based and coherent coordination in security sector reform, saying that particular attention must be paid to the link between that reform and related areas, such as the rule of law, transitional justice, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration -- including child soldiers -- small-arms control and gender equality.  Strengthening respect for human rights and social and economic development must also be taken into account.  The issue of governance was an integral part of security sector reform.  The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), an international foundation initiated and co-financed by his country, had solid experience in the field of security sector reform in general, and of parliamentary oversight of the security sector, in particular.  The Centre could, therefore, be a partner of choice for the United Nations.

While supporting the preparation of a Secretary-General’s report on the issue, he said the report should include such elements as:  ownership of the process by national Governments and local players; the need for coordination between different United Nations actors; the importance of security sector reform for consolidating peace and development; and sustainable financing of security sector reform programmes.  Reform programmes that were well coordinated and carried out over the long term could contribute to global peace and stability, as well as to poverty reduction.

CHOI YOUNG-JIN ( Republic of Korea) said States emerging from conflict were invariably faced with the immense challenges of stabilization and reconstruction, often in highly volatile environments.  Those challenges could only be met in conjunction with security sector reform.  As there were currently no common guidelines on the United Nations role in support of security sector reform programmes, some basic principles should be considered, including that the principle of national sovereignty and the practical realities of security sector reform made national ownership of any such programme an imperative.  It was important for the United Nations to incorporate long-term planning in the reform efforts, not least by finding ways to ensure that the necessary resources would be available over time.

He said security sector reform must be conceived comprehensively and holistically and must take realistic account of financial and human resource constraints.  Careful planning, prioritizing and sequencing were needed from the outset.  The reform must also be seen in the broader context of helping to reform and reconstruct societies that were democratizing, emerging from conflict, or otherwise in need of international assistance.  The Council had an important role to play in establishing mission mandates that incorporated that reality.  He hoped that the Peacebuilding Commission could provide worthwhile recommendations and help to coordinate the various actors.  He hoped that the Council would establish coordinating mechanisms with other bodies to ensure that assistance to societies in need was comprehensive, coherent and effective.

JOHAN L. LØVALD ( Norway) supported the formulation of a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated United Nations approach to security sector reform, underlining the importance of coordination with ongoing work in other international and regional organizations.  Norway had contributed to security sector reform in the western Balkans.  The OECD defined the security system as encompassing the armed forces, civil police, the judicial and prison system, as well as the civil authorities responsible for controlling those groups, including ministries and parliament.  Reform of those sectors was vital to ensure sustainable peace in post-conflict society, as well as in countries in transition from one-party rule to democracy.

He said the complex realities facing modern-day crisis management operations required multidimensional responses, of which civilian aspects were increasingly regarded as an integral part.  Security sector reform was an element of crucial importance, if sustainable peace and viable democracies were to be achieved.  If there was a fundamental lack of trust in the institutions that should be upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights, there would hardly be any progress in a post-conflict situation.  Gender awareness should be integrated into security sector reform.  Mandates for peace operations should specify how the various measures would affect both women and men.  Without timely security sector reform, extensive peacebuilding and appropriate reintegration of fighters, countries might fall back into violent chaos.  That would destroy any hope of development.

ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said that, as a country emerging from more than two decades of conflict, Afghanistan was well aware of the importance of security sector reform in ensuring recovery, security and development, as well as in improving human rights and the rule of law.  Indeed, security sector reform had been the lynchpin to the entire State-building process in Afghanistan, and the process had also proved to be the flagship of overall international engagement in rebuilding the country’s security forces and law enforcement agencies.  The Afghan reform process consisted of five pillars, each led by a different country:  military reform; police reform; counter-narcotics; judicial reform; and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

He said the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, which had been launched in 2003, had marked the beginning of Afghanistan’s security sector reform.  In accordance with the programme’s mandate, more than 60,000 ex-fighters had been disarmed or demobilized.  The next phase of the security sector reform process had been the push to disband illegal armed groups, and the Government remained committed to concluding that effort, with the help of international partners, by the end of 2007.  Moreover, additional reforms in the ministries of defence and interior had also been launched.

But, despite such progress, he said that Afghanistan continued to face significant challenges in strengthening the capacity of its security institutions.  Lack of resources and modern equipment and low pay for soldiers had had a drastic impact on the effectiveness of both the national army and police in addressing the country’s prevailing security challenges.   Afghanistan was, therefore, firmly convinced that a sustained level of international engagement in building the capacity of security institutions in post-conflict countries constituted an essential component of a successful security sector reform process.

Among other things, he also stressed that security sector reform should be seen as a long-term process that required a particular focus on development.  The overall objective should be to transform fighters into civilians and integrate them smoothly into society.  To that end, it would be crucially important to facilitate the provision of long-term income-generating projects.  Doing so would prevent former combatants from resorting to illegal activities.

ELBIO ROSELLI ( Uruguay) said security sector reform was an essential element in promoting greater civilian and democratic control in the areas of defence and security, with a view to improve the efficacy of the State’s institutions.  As security sector reform affected institutions that guaranteed a State’s sovereignty, the State must fully participate in carrying out the reform.  The reform was not an end in itself.  Some donors and institutions had followed the democracy models of western countries, without taking into account other models, but general formulas did not include the complex situations of each case.  The majority of international initiatives in security sector reform were focused on developing countries, in particular developing countries emerging from conflict.  However, those reforms were also pertinent in developed countries, where there existed police brutality, police activities based on race, violence against women and very high military expenditure.

He said the gender perspective needed to be taken into account in any security sector reform strategy, according to resolution 1325.  In that way, one could effectively respond to threats related to gender, including violence against women, and compensate for the underrepresentation of women in the security sector.  He suggested that the United Nations should achieve a common approach to security sector reform by way of consensus, and by including best practices and recognizing the link with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.  He welcomed the fact that, in the mandates for the integrated United Nations offices in Burundi and Sierra Leone, security sector reform had been included.  It would be interesting to know what the results in those countries had been, so that the Peacebuilding Commission could carry out a follow-up of those policies.  International cooperation was indispensable to carrying out activities in security sector reform.

ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said that, through political will and persistence, the Government had been able to put an end to one of the longest running conflicts on the African continent last year with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  It was also pursuing its efforts to ensure that all groups signed on to the May 2006 Darfur peace agreement, so that the Sudan could see peace throughout the country.  He added that Khartoum was cooperating with United Nations officials, the African Union and others to that end.

He went on to say that any talk of security sector reform should begin with a consideration of country specificities, particularly local customs and conditions.  Security sector reform should not target only police and military forces, especially since the wider view of security required creating an environment that would promote and enable true and sustained socio-economic development, as well as respect for human rights.  He said that the international community should recognize the varying needs of different countries and understand that security sector reform would most likely be a process implemented in phases, as recovering Governments got back on their feet.  Finally, he stressed that, in its discussion of security sector reform, the Council must recognize that it was not the only body capable of debating such issues and must respect the mandates of the other main organs of the United Nations and substantive commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.