Security Council hears call for more coherent approach to security sector reform
United Nations support for security sector reform in countries attempting to rebuild after suffering through conflicts must become more coherent and streamlined if it is to be successful, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council today.
Addressing a debate on the issue, Mr. Ban said that while the Organization “has rich and varied experience” in helping countries – from El Salvador and Cambodia in the past to Liberia and Sierra Leone today – reform their armed forces, police and other segments of the security sector, too often the UN has “remained an ad hoc partner” to other national or international bodies in this process.
“What has been lacking is a common framework and a coherent system-wide approach,” he said. “Despite our hands-on record, we have only limited institutional structures to guide engagement on the ground.
“We need to strengthen our ability to provide consistent, well-coordinate and high-quality technical advice, during peace processes and in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development. We need to make our approach less piecemeal and more holistic.”
Mr. Ban, who issued the report on the subject earlier this year, called for the UN to work in collaboration with key international partners and ensure its approach in any individual country is flexible and tailored to that nation’s needs.
“States and societies define and pursue security according to their particular context, history, culture and needs. There can be no rigid one-size-fits-all” approach, he said.
The Secretary-General stressed that Member States remain the primary providers of security and national ownership must be the cornerstone of the UN’s approach on the issue.
He also called on policymakers devising reform of the security sector in countries emerging from conflict to place an emphasis on preventing and reducing sexual and gender-based violence, which he noted “has become the common aftermath of conflict.”
Later, in a presidential statement, Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom – which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-member body this month – said the Council backed the UN’s efforts to “develop an holistic and coherent” approach in consultation with Member States.
Mr. Sawers also stressed that the UN Peacebuilding Commission plays a vital role in the process, as do many regional, sub-regional and other intergovernmental organizations, especially in ensuring ongoing international support to countries struggling to implement the needed reforms.