This Tool, published in 2015, offers practical guidance on how to reinforce national ownership and leadership while defining an inclusive vision of security as a basis for SSR. It provides an overview of potential entry points for SSR in the broader framework of national governance in a West African setting. It also suggests how to institutionalize the national leadership and coordination of an SSR process, including through strategic communication.
The Tool is primarily intended for policy and strategic decision-makers, government officials, advisers, and practitioners. It also provides members of parliament, oversight institutions, civil society organizations, and international partners with an overview of the responsibilities of national governments in SSR and how to uphold national ownership throughout the process.
Without the strong political commitment of national authorities, SSR will fail, regardless of the material resources and technical expertise invested into it. SSR must be home-grown, designed to meet country-specific needs, and led by national stakeholders, who take full responsibility for it.
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.