What's In Blue

Posted Fri 7 Oct 2011

Negotiations on Security Sector Reform Presidential Statement

Council members have had two rounds of negotiations on a draft presidential statement which is expected to be adopted at the security sector reform (SSR) debate on Wednesday, 12 October. This debate, initiated by Nigeria, the Council president for October, will be chaired by the Nigerian foreign minister and is expected to focus on SSR prospects and challenges in Africa. A final negotiation is scheduled for Monday, 10 October.

It seems that the draft presidential statement reiterates the importance of national ownership in SSR, and highlights the linkages between the SSR conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping agendas. Other areas of emphasis apparently include the need for SSR to take place within the broader framework of the rule of law, the need for partnerships with regional and subregional organisations and the importance of including women and civil society in the broader reform process.

It seems that while there is agreement over the centrality of national ownership, questions were raised about how best to define this concept keeping in mind possible national sovereignty infringements. It seems that some members were also open to including more specific information on how relevant UN coordination efforts and responsibilities could be defined. But it appears this is unlikely to be included in the final text.

Nigeria circulated a concept note last week which emphasised the link between SSR, conflict prevention and socioeconomic development. It also raised the issue of better understanding SSR’s place within the peacebuilding continuum, especially in relation to conflict prevention. As an objective of the upcoming debate, the concept note suggested that the focus be placed on how the UN could best support the recipient countries in taking the lead in SSR efforts.

It is likely that the presidential statement will request the Secretary-General to submit an assessment of the UN’s support for SSR, including in Africa, by early 2013.

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