Inclusion or exclusion? Local ownership and security sector reform

  • Donais T
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Abstract

This paper explores the dynamics of security sector reform (SSR), a term used to refer to efforts made to reform the security structures of states emerging from conflict or authoritarianism. While “local ownership” is increasingly viewed as a necessary element of any sustainable SSR strategy, there remains a significant gap between international policy and practice in this area. In practice, the SSR agenda continues to be driven largely by international actors, with minimal input, let alone ownership, on the part of either governments or civil society within reforming states. Indeed, the notion of local ownership has come to serve as much as a disciplining mechanism as a tool to overcome exclusion in the making and execution of security policy, and the effectiveness and sustainability of SSR programming have suffered as a result. In light of this, the paper will explore both the potential for, and the limits of, rehabilitating the notion of local ownership to enable more participatory forms of SSR, and argues that any practical local ownership strategy requires a dual policy of negotiating with state actors and engaging with non-state actors.

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Authors

  • Timothy Donais

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