DCAFProgrammes › Parliamentary Oversight

Parliamentary Oversight

Parliaments play a crucial role in ensuring that security policies and security practices are transparent and accountable to the wider population.  DCAF’s Parliamentary Assistance programme focuses on developing and strengthening the capacity of parliaments to play an effective role in the oversight and governance of the security sector. The programme’s work covers parliaments in both emerging and established democracies.

Aims

  • Strengthen the expertise of members of parliaments and staffers on matters of oversight and governance of the security sector, in particular their capacity to engage on defence, intelligence and law enforcement oversight issues.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of establishing and/or (re)developing legal and institutional frameworks for parliamentary oversight of the security sector.
  • Facilitating the development of effective parliamentary oversight and control bodies.
  • Contributing to the promulgation and implementation of standards on parliamentary oversight of the security sector.
  • Harmonisation of parliamentary oversight practices across regions.
  • Harmonisation of security sector governance practices across regions.
  • Developing international parliamentary cooperation, building networks, stimulating the exchange of experience and information between parliaments in the field of defence and security of the security sector.

Types of Work

  • Comparative research, focusing on oversight in transition settings and established democracies strengthening their expertise on matters of oversight and governance of the security sector, in particular their capacity to engage on defence, intelligence and law enforcement oversight issues.
  • Financing and training of defence and security adviser positions within parliamentary staff structures.
  • Legislative support, advice and guidance. DCAF provides assistance on request to parliamentarians on draft legislation and regulations.
  • Comparative research, focusing on parliamentary oversight of the security sector in transition settings and established democracies across the globe.
  • International standard-setting. Members of the programme participate in multi-stakeholder processes aimed at identifying and promoting parliamentary oversight standards and practices which contribute to the democratic governance of the security sector.
  • Development of knowledge products (handbooks, manuals, etc.) that parliaments and parliamentarians can refer to when performing their oversight roles.

Who do we work with?

  • Parliaments / legislatures and its committees (usually parliamentary committees on Defence, Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement).
  • Parliamentary staffers, advisers.
  • International organizations (ECOWAS, European Parliament, IPU, NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly).

Milestones

2001
DCAF begins cooperation on parliamentary oversight capacity building with the IPU and NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

2002
DCAF supports capacity building programming on security sector oversight for the Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada).

2003
DCAF and IPU publish Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector: Principles, Mechanisms and Practices, Handbook for Parliamentarians – a seminal tool for parliamentarians working on defence and security issues.

2004
DCAF launches Parliamentary Staff Advisers Programme in Southeast Europe.

2004
DCAF begins cooperation on parliamentary oversight capacity building in West Africa with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament as well as with national parliaments in the region.

2005
DCAF and the Norwegian Parliament publish Making Intelligence Accountable: Legal Standards and Best Practice for Oversight of Intelligence Agencies.

2007
DCAF supports capacity development initiatives on security sector oversight issues with the Parliament of Indonesia.

2007
DCAF completes the study on Parliamentary Oversight of Civilian and Military ESDP Missions: The European and National Levels for the European Parliament.

2008
DCAF facilitates the establishment of The Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance in Southeast Asia.

2011
DCAF and ECOWAS Parliament release Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector: Guide for West African Parliamentarians.

2011
DCAF completes a study on Parliamentary Oversight of Security and Intelligence Agencies in the European Union for the European Parliament.

Current and Recent Projects

Key Publications

Projects