Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Group of Friends Event, Urges More Funding, National Ownership of Security Sector Reform

4 November 2013

Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Group of Friends Event, Urges More Funding, National Ownership of Security Sector Reform

4 November 2013
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Group of Friends Event, Urges

More Funding, National Ownership of Security Sector Reform


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks to the High-level Meeting of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform, in New York on 4 November:

I am very pleased to join you here today.  I thank Slovakia and South Africa, the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform, for convening this important meeting.  I am glad also to see representatives of so many different Member States, as well as United Nations colleagues, here today.  Individually and collectively, you have a great deal to contribute to this discussion and in fact to the situation in the field.

The Secretary-General’s latest report on security sector reform gives a comprehensive overview of the work of the United Nations in this field.  It also outlines steps for increasing our engagement in the coming years.

The discussions here today are part of a larger push for strengthening the links between the rule of law and the United Nations’ three pillars:  peace and security, development and human rights.  I would add to the human rights dimension the rule of law.  On behalf of the Secretary-General, I recently launched a consultation on how to forge these links as part of the follow-up to the 2012 Declaration of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law.  A very important meeting, as you recall, on 24 September last year.

Reform of the security sector is crucial to the rule of law.  The Secretary-General’s report highlights a number of areas where security sector reform intersects with the United Nations broader work and mission.  It makes the critical point that security sector reform is fundamentally focused, and I say it very simply, on making people’s lives safer.  The report also identifies four concrete elements to build national ownership based on mutual agreement and shared accountability with host countries.  This is essential to progress.

National ownership requires building a common national security vision.  It calls for prioritizing national implementation and capacity-building.  To succeed, good governance must guide how resources are mobilized and allocated on security sector reform.  National participation should also be based on inclusive dialogue with civil society and other partners.

The report recommends that we do more to make national ownership an integral part of the work of the Security Council.  Security sector reform mandates should reflect the national context, challenges and needs.  National stakeholders should be directly consulted.  There are many ways the United Nations can help to achieve this:  through our missions and country teams on the ground, the Peacebuilding Commission and the inter-agency Security Sector Reform Task Force.

We also need to expand our partnerships.  In Africa, the United Nations and the African Union have a strategic partnership to build capacity to support security sector reform across the continent.

On civilian capacity, the United Nations-Security Sector Reform Roster of Experts provides a global resource.  The United Nations, States, regional organizations and other partners can draw on this pool of experts.  We need to strengthen this tool even more.  I count on Member States to make use of the Security Sector Reform Roster and to put forward qualified candidates.  I call on the Task Force to ensure that we provide the necessary training to meet the growing demand for expertise.

Over the past five years, security sector reform has moved from a little-known concept to a core element of peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development.  The Security Council has increasingly tasked field missions with support to national security sector reform.

The statistics speak very clearly this language.  In 2008, the Security Council made a total of 14 references to security sector reform in its resolutions; by 2012 this figure jumped to 37.  I think this says it all; the growing importance of security-sector reform.  Beyond the numbers, security sector reform has become central to the work of the United Nations in reducing violence, addressing transnational organized crime, promoting human rights and contributing to overall stability.

This is, indeed, welcome progress.  But, we have to match expectations and mandates with resources.  Our work in the field and the Security Sector Reform Task Force need full funding.  The future of the United Nations in security sector reform rests on the vision and support of Member States.  And I thank the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform for its leadership in mobilizing political momentum for this important work and mission.

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