Democratic Security Sector Governance

DSC_0034On the 21 and 22 of January 2016, a Conference on Ukraine’s Security Governance challenges, status and needs was held in Kiev, Ukraine in cooperation with the Razumkov Centre. This was the first conference out of the series of four that will be held in Ukraine with the aim of facilitating public awareness and establishing a discussion platform on democratic oversight, best practices, and democratic security sector governance in Ukraine. The objectives of this first event, to identify current security governance challenges in Ukraine, to set an agenda for addressing these challenges and to suggest recommendations.

The Conference assembled some of the key stakeholders involved in the Ukrainian Security Sector Reform (SSR), such as actors of the Security Sector, Government, Civil Society, International aid Agencies, and the Media. Among the participants: MP’s; representatives of ministries; defense, intelligence and security services; CSO’s; NGO’s; national and international experts; international cooperation representatives; etc. Some 80 people attended the event, among them some 14 women.

The Conference has provided a platform for meaningful discussions on Ukrainian SSR and Security Sector Governance (SSG) challenges. It has also provided a working group session resulting in a list of concise issues, key priorities and recommendations which will be the focus of further work. A press conference was held after the event. The outputs of the press conference have appeared in various local news outlets such as Interfax Ukraine and Unian Information Agency where international cooperation agencies such as DCAF and Razumkov Centre were praised for their work in Ukraine.

However, efforts on including gender issues into the discussions were insufficient. The state of gender issues in Ukraine deserves a closer focus by DCAF and partners. Awareness on this topic is clearly lacking and the repercussions of not including it onto the reforms agenda clearly underestimated.

All in all, the Conference and the resulting (upcoming) Status Report provide a good foundation for further work on SSG issues in Ukraine, a roadmap for the upcoming discussions and a useful guide for SSR efforts.

Photo credit: Ivan Bandura (Flickr)

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