|Friday, 20 March 2009 01:28|
CSDG is involved in three major initiatives which are designed to support and enhance the institutional capacity of governmental and non-governmental actors working in the peace and security domains.
The key aims of the Liberia programme, which CSDG has developed in partnership with the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) as a broader ASSN initiative, are to build the capacity of local institutions for critical analysis of security issues and increase stakeholder participation in reform processes. The expected outcomes of this initiative are increased local knowledge of SSR among Liberian actors and institutions as well as enhanced national capacity to manage reform processes.
Liberia’s post-war environment provides a unique opportunity to address a range of post-conflict issues that are by no means unique to Liberia. This involves critically re-examining approaches to post-conflict rebuilding which include DDR, SSR and other governance reform programmes. Addressing these issues in Liberia also offers an opportunity to deal with the regional dimensions and impact of the war both in the MANO River neighbourhood and in the wider West Africa sub-region.
The success of peace-building efforts in Liberia will depend on the extent to which a concerted effort is made by all stakeholders to address key governance and security challenges with full awareness of local conditions and adequate skills in managing the risks that can derail or stall the rebuilding process. To support this process, CSDG initiated an action-learning programme in 2003, focusing initially on Liberia as a case study. The ASSN has been working in partnership with CSDG to implement this project.
The aim of this programme is two-fold:
This project was initiated with the establishment of a Liberia Working Group at King’s College London. As a first step, CSDG and DCAF held consultations in Liberia in 2004 to identify priority security and governance concerns among Liberians. This preliminary work made it possible to establish a framework for the ASSN’s overall engagement in Liberia.
The ASSN Liberia engagement has three components:
CSDG collaborates actively with the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) on several initiatives aimed at supporting security reform agendas in the West Africa sub-region. The ASSN was established in 2003 out of recognition of the need to harmonise the thinking and activities of the growing number of African organisations involved in security sector reform and governance work (see www.africansecuritynetwork.org for more information).
Since the 1990s, there have been peaceful political transitions in countries like Benin, Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and Cape Verde and the emergence of constitutional governments in others such as Sierra Leone, Niger, the Gambia and Nigeria. Nevertheless, West Africa remains one of the poorest regions in the world and one of the most susceptible to crisis and violent conflict. This raises important questions about the sustainability of the region’s electoral democracies. It is clear that pro-forma democracies as represented by ‘free and fair’ elections will not be enough to build stable states and that the paramount tasks facing the region must include finding sustainable solutions to the current violent conflicts in the Greater Mano River Basin and preventing other conflicts by addressing their fundamental political, social and economic root causes.
Five pillars of peace and security form the core of this conflict prevention agenda: 1) building human security capacities as the bedrock for peace; 2) deepening democracy and open governance through effective monitoring in civil society; 3) respect for and adherence to the Rule of Law; 4) transformation of violent conflicts through political processes; and, 5) promoting regional collective responses. This approach, which places individuals at the centre of the security and democratization equation, has gained increasing acceptance in West Africa, and indeed in many other parts of the world.
While protecting the state and its citizens from external aggression remains a key consideration, the most serious threats facing countries in West Africa tend to be those that either derive from internal causes or are trans-national and collective in nature. For the people of West Africa, therefore, a safe and secure environment is a necessary condition for sustainable democracy and poverty-reducing development.
The overall goal of the West Africa component of ASSN’s work is to complement ongoing activities aimed at promoting regional security within ECOWAS, including contributions to security sector transformation processes in particular countries. The specific objectives are to:
Among other things, CSDG has been collaborating with the ASSN to assist with capacity development for select local institutions in post-conflict settings, beginning with Liberia.
This programme work is carried out with funding from the UK Government.
CSDG is embarking upon an exciting five-year engagement with the UK-funded Security Sector Accountability & Police Reform (SSAPR) programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo. CSDG is part of a consortium consisting of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN), which will be the technical lead on the project, and DAI Europe which is the lead project management agency.
The ASSN/DAI consortium will be managing one of three components of the SSAPR which is focused on promoting interaction between the various 'external accountability' actors, including parliament, ministries responsible for justice and security, the security forces, think tanks and relevant civil society groups. The other two components of the SSAPR, which will focus on police reform & internal accountability and monitoring and evaluation, will be lead by PricewaterhouseCoopers and GRM International respectively. The three consortiums will work closely to manage and implement the SSAPR.
The External Accountability programme will consist of two phases: the first, lasting between May-September, will involve designing the programme. The core ASSN/DAI design team, consisting of five people, will work closely with a National Advisory Group consisting of Congolese members of government and civil society as well as an International Advisory Group consisting of ASSN members with relevant experience of SSR programmes from other African countries. CSDG Senior Research Fellow Dylan Hendrickson will be part of the core design team. Once the programme design is approved by both the Congolese and UK Governments, the second implementation phase will begin.