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A Security Sector Governance Approach to Women, Peace and Security

27 February, 2020



This Policy Brief is part of the DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN Women Gender and Security Toolkit. It explains how applying the principles of good security sector governance and engaging with security sector reform can help to achieve the goals of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Over the last decade the UN system and many states and international actors have recognized that security sector reform should be gender responsive, identifying and addressing the different security and justice needs of women and men, girls and boys, across different parts of the community. In some security sector reform programmes, priorities have been set to promote the participation of women in the security sector, and to address gender-based violence. At the same time there is a need to step up the engagement of the Women, Peace and Security community with issues of security sector governance, to overcome persistent challenges to implementation.

This Policy Brief argues that applying a security sector governance lens to Women, Peace and Security Agenda can catalyse the transformative and sustained change needed to realize its ambitious goals.

The Policy Brief focuses on:

  • The implications of understanding the WPS Agenda as a commitment to legal, social as well as economic rights.

  • Transforming institutional culture and practices within the security sector. Key strategies are to challenge masculine institutional cultures to increase women’s participation and overall diversity; and to strengthen internal control and accountability mechanisms.

  • Oversight to ensure institutional and financial accountability for implementing the WPS Agenda, including through internal co-ordination and monitoring structures, and external oversight by state bodies and civil society.