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Tool 6: Civil society involvement in security sector reform and governance

17 December, 2015



Tool 6 addresses weaknesses in knowledge and skills that prevent the involvement and engagement of West African civil society actors in public oversight of the security sector. It provides CSOs of the region with practical advice and guidance on how to strengthen their capacities for better actions and optimizes the impact of their contributions to SSR and SSG.

This Tool is primarily intended for civil society actors in West Africa who operate on local, national, and regional levels, including media organizations, but may also be used by the ECOWAS, all its member states, and international partners involved in SSRG to take full account of and enhance the role of civil society in this area.

Above all, the active involvement of committed, competent and diverse representatives of civil society in public oversight of the security sector strengthens citizens’ confidence in the state mechanisms responsible for security.

About the toolkit

At the request of the ECOWAS commission, DCAF has developed several publications collectively entitled “The Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance in West Africa". The main objective is to support the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional regulatory framework for SSR/SSG through practical advice and guidance tailored to the West African context and based on regional experiences. It specifically aims to facilitate policy development, implementation, and management of SSR processes at the national level.

This framework has been translated into practical guidance that takes into account the national contexts of West Africa and elucidates, for instance, the issues of parliamentary oversight, good financial governance of institutions, as well as the consideration of gender dimensions in SSR/SSG. One of the main challenges has been to develop tools that can be understood and used by the various stakeholders, including the Executive, the Parliament, the Judiciary, civil security sector oversight institutions, and civil society. This should contribute to the development and strengthening of a West African security strategy to support the regalian imperative of democratic governance, protection, and defence.


Ornella Moderan