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The United Nations and Security Sector Reform: Policy and Practice

30 January, 2020


Security sector reform (SSR) is fundamentally a nationally-led process, but many countries draw on support from external actors who offer financial resources, technical expertise, and lessons learned in other contexts. Multilateral organizations and the UN in particular play a vital role in supporting national efforts to make security provision, management and oversight more effective and accountable. SSR was formally added to the agenda of the UN in 2007-2008 and since then there has been a concerted effort to achieve an organization-wide approach to SSR, evolving from a narrow focus on peacekeeping to include broader peacebuilding and development perspectives.

This new DCAF publication goes beyond theory to draw on the practical experiences of UN staff members as well as external security sector reform experts. Together they offer an in-depth exploration of the UN’s approach to security sector reform from a global perspective. Their contributions worthy testimony to the challenges of multilateralism in security sector governance and reform, as well as the many results achieved thus far.

To purchase a hard copy of the book go to Lit Publishing House.

You can also read a report of the High-Level panel and discussion on the United Nations and SSR: Between Policy and Practice

Selected Chapters 

Conceptualizing UN support to security sector reform - Heiner Hänggi
The UN and SSR: Between the primacy of politics and the echoes of context  - Eboe Hutchful
The UN approach to SSR from a development perspective - Alejandro Alvarez, Marije van Kempen, and Helen Olafsdottir
From peacebuilding to sustaining peace and preventing conflict: What role for SSR? - 'Funmi Olonisakin, Adedeji Ebo, and Alagaw Ababu Kifle
Sustaining peace in West Africa: UN SSR support in non-mission settings - Badreddine El harti
UN support to SSR in peacekeeping context: A case study of Côte d’Ivoire - Ely Dieng, Adedeji Ebo, and Christopher Sedgwick
UN support to SSR in peacekeeping context: A case study of the Central African Republic - Adedeji Ebo, Christophe Pradier, and Christopher Sedgwick
Preventing and resolving conflict: SSR and national security policies, strategies, and plans - Jared Rigg
UN field operations’ contribution to defence sector reform - Vincenza Scherrer and Alba Bescos Pou


Adedeji Ebo and Heiner Hänggi