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Covid-19: Crisis & catalyst for security & justice reform

15 June, 2020


The implications of Covid-19 are wide-ranging and far-reaching. The pandemic has brought about developments which challenge human and state security within  democratically governed, accountable, and effective security sectors. The crisis has resulted in security providers being called upon to carry out tasks not normally within their mandated roles and responsibilities, and highlighted multisectoral cooperation as a crucial component in delivering security and justice to all. How governments respond to Covid-19, its immediate threats, and long-term recovery, will have implications down the road for governance and eventual reform of the security sector.

The pandemic is revealing and exacerbating existing gaps in security and justice systems, and in some cases, highlighting new areas for reform. These reforms can play an important role in building resilience to respond to future crises and in ensuring security remains accountable and effective at a time when the needs are greatest and vulnerable communities are particularly at risk. Security sector governance and reform (SSG/R) remain highly relevant in the current context and international support is more important than ever to ensure hard-won gains in governance and human rights are not undermined by responses to Covid-19.

This paper highlights the implications of Covid-19 for security institutions and oversight actors, and outlines how DCAF has adapted its current programming to support partners in their crisis response, in a way that reinforces security governance. It also identifies priorities for DCAF Member States and donors, and offers insights into: emerging issues to be addressed to ensure effective and accountable security and justice delivery during the crisis and its aftermath; and ways to better anticipate, prepare and build resilience for future crises.