Decisions about supporting capacities and capabilities of external security forces often rest on the assumption that there is a mutually reinforcing connection between security assistance and political and social progress. A number of European and bilateral security assistance programs refer to that nexus to justify the very existence of these initiatives (e.g. the recently established European Peace Facility, the German Enable and Enhance Initiative or US security assistance programs).
Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
Practical experience (and research) shows that security assistance and train and equip programs do little to deal with the real problems affecting stability in conflict-torn countries. Especially in environments where donors plan and implement their programs based on pre-defined political agendas such as in the Sahel region, it is almost impossible to align the security interests of the men and women and communities in conflict with those of the host governments and “donor” countries.
State sovereignty as a fundamental principle of international law and authoritarian governance in politically contested spaces often impact negatively on “local ownership” – a key requirement for sustainable and holistic security sector reform (SSR) programs.
There is a shared consensus that the relevant policy documents (e.g. the German government-wide SSR strategy) and the latest UN Security Council resolution 2553 (2020) are providing the necessary guidelines for sustainable SSR but that the translation of the norms and principles into programming still lack behind.