Security Sector Reform, Legitimate Politics and SDG 16

Centre for Security Governance

In spite of a broad international consensus about the desirability of security sector reform (SSR) and its model of implementation, the concept continues to suffer from a relatively poor record of implementation, particularly in challenging environments. Nevertheless, SSR continues to be seen as a lynchpin of international development assistance in fragile and conflict-affected states. It will also play a central role in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 16, to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

This brief argues that the inability of SSR to make a sustainable impact at both the national and community level must be addressed in order for it to contribute to the achievement of SDG 16. Too often SSR has been an externally led exercise involving like-minded political elites and failing to account for the complex interplay between actors, programs and processes at the international, national and local level. SDG 16, by contrast, emphasizes legitimate and inclusive political processes at all levels.

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