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People-centred approach to security sector governance and reform: linking policy with programming

6 March, 2023



People-centred security and safety has the potential to transform international assistance to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.  Whilst the SSG/R agenda has been influenced by the concept of human security since it was conceived in the 1990s; in practice, over two decades of SSG/R programming has lacked a necessary connection between the “statebuilding” approach and community-level peace and security outputs.

Results from donor-assisted state-building efforts are flailing across many contexts, as populism and criticism of the State and its role is globally rising.

In many contexts, the social contract is being questioned. Dwindling financial resources for SSG/R, the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the considerable threats of political unrest and increasing fragility should give the international community the opportunity to strengthen coherence in assisting SSG/R processes. SSG/R programming needs a revised framework hinged on evolving concepts of legitimacy, rule of law, government’s role, and the social contract.

People-centred security sector governance and reform offers a re-conceptualised model for programming which better articulates the link between the community and the State and aims to directly influence community-State trust building, community representation and positive participation, as well as services provision effectiveness, equity, transparency and legitimacy.