The OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform

The OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform

Supporting Security and Justice You do not have access to this content

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25 Feb 2008
9789264027862 (PDF) ;9789264022287(print)

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The OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform: Supporting Security and Justice provides guidance to operationalise the 2005 DAC Guidelines, Security System Reform and Governance, and closes the gap between policy and practice. It largely follows the external assistance programme cycle and contains valuable tools to help encourage a dialogue on security and justice issues and to support a security system reform (SSR) process through the assessment, design and implementation phases. It also provides new guidance on monitoring, review and evaluation of SSR programmes, and highlights how to ensure greater coherence across the different actors and departments engaged in SSR.
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  • Executive summary
    Security is fundamental to people’s livelihoods, to reducing poverty and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It relates to personal and state safety, access to social services and political processes. It is a core government responsibility, necessary for economic and social development and vital for the protection of human rights.
  • Section 1: Principles of security system reform
    Security from disorder, crime and violence is fundamental for reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — and, more broadly, for sustainable economic, social and political development. According to the 2005 Human Development Report, "violent conflict is one of the surest and fastest routes to the bottom of the HDI (Human Development Index) table — and one of the strongest indicators for a protracted stay there". Since the early 1990s, developing countries have accounted for over half of all armed conflicts — almost 40% of which occurred on the African continent. Over the same period, crime and armed violence in countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Central Asia and the Balkans are believed to have escalated, contributing to heightened real and perceived insecurity for literally millions of people.
  • Section 2: Fostering a supportive political environment
    Security system reform and international assistance to support it are inherently political processes. The ways in which justice and security are provided and governed by state and non-state institutions underpin a country’s balance of power. Box 2.1 on Afghanistan illustrates the point. Security system reform has an explicitly political objective — to ensure that security and justice are provided in a manner consistent with democratic norms, human rights principles and the rule of law. Reform processes inevitably create winners and losers as they challenge vested interests and existing power relationships. Justice and security reform is therefore best approached as a governance issue and not simply as a technical activity.
  • Section 3: Undertaking security system reform assessments
    International support for SSR should be based on a comprehensive understanding of local contexts, actors and priorities. Those involved in supporting security and justice development need to understand the opportunities for change, the constraints and any potential obstacles. It is also important to understand who drives change and who resists it, as well as the factors that may affect the receptiveness of external support for SSR reform processes. Because security and justice development programmes taking place in conflict-prone countries may impact on the balance of power, it is important to assess what the potential effect of international assistance will be on conflict dynamics and the security situation. An understanding of how poor and vulnerable people experience safety, security and justice is also required in order to determine priorities for external assistance aimed at helping countries improve safety and justice for their people, not just for states. Without such knowledge, external interventions are likely to be ineffectual or counterproductive.
  • Section 4: Designing programmes of support for SSR processes
    Experience shows that effective justice and security development programmes balance support for service delivery (addressing immediate safety, security and justice needs) with strengthening state governance capacities and civil society engagement. The degree of support allocated to each component depends on the needs in each context; the resources and capacities that already exist; and what is politically feasible.
  • Section 5: Strengthening national capacity
    Capacity development is a major and complex challenge. Despite substantial donor funds dedicated to building capacity over the past decades, the lack of sustainable country capacity remains one of the main reasons why many developing countries are failing to meet their development goals. Capacity development refers to the ability of people and organisations to define strategies, set priorities, solve problems and achieve results. It is therefore a much broader concept than the training and technical assistance approaches that are often put forward as answers to the capacity problem. Capacity development requires an approach that not only addresses obvious capacity gaps, but also pays attention to the enabling environment. It is closely linked with the governance agenda and efforts to improve institutions, laws, incentives, transparency and leadership. The international development community has consistently overestimated its ability to build capacity in the absence of national commitment and reasonably good governance. One particularly important lesson is the need to avoid supply-driven technical assistance.
  • Section 6: Developing an integrated approach to SSR in post-conflict situations
    This section explores how to develop an integrated approach to SSR in countries emerging from conflict and complements other sections where peacebuilding and conflict prevention issues, such as conflict analysis, are covered (see Sections 2, 3 and 7). It examines important linkages with peace support operations and other post-conflict activities such as small arms programming and transitional justice. Guidance on specific post-conflict challenges in different areas of SSR such as defence and police reform is provided in Section 7.
  • Section 7: Implementing SSR sector by sector
    Democratic accountability of the security and justice sectors is based on the principles of transparency, responsibility, participation and responsiveness to citizens. Representatives of security and justice institutions must be liable for their actions and should be called to account for malpractice. Oversight mechanisms should be designed to provide checks and balances that prevent abuses of power and ensure that institutions operate efficiently and effectively while respecting the rule of law.
  • Section 8: Managing, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating SSR assistance programmes
    International actors often invest heavily in SSR programmes without investing sufficiently in their capacity to manage and oversee them — and that capacity is key to effective international assistance. Partly this is an issue of identifying the right people with the right skills. But it is also about recognising that the means through which an assistance programme is developed and implemented often determines its outcome. A patient and sensitive approach is required, one that is focused on building local ownership and partnerships with other actors to co-ordinate support. It is important to design each programme activity to achieve the objectives that programme has set, and to assess its success in doing so. Ongoing monitoring and review is needed to track progress, and assistance programmes must be sufficiently flexible to adapt to changing contexts accordingly.
  • Security system reform: What have we learned?
    This report focuses on the results and trends emerging from the publication of the OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform. The report explores the results of disseminating the Handbook at headquarters and in partner countries from April 2007 to April 2009, and considers its impact on implementing security system reform more broadly. The dissemination results and the Handbook’s wider impact can provide important insights for OECD DAC members and the international community. This paper is available on the OECD I-Library and in hardcopy from the OECD INCAF secretariat.
  • Section 9: Integrating gender awareness and equality
    This section highlights the importance of integrating gender issues into SSR processes. It examines how to support the creation of security and justice institutions that are representative, accountable, rightsrespecting and responsive to the specific security and justice needs of women, men, boys and girls...
  • Section 10: Monitoring and Evaluation
    This section of the toolkit provides practical guidance on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of security system reform programmes. It builds on the introduction to monitoring and evaluation in Sections 4 and 8 of the OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform (OECD, 2007).
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