Democratic Security Sector Governance

security sector 1Security Sector includes all security sector institutions and structures whose duty it is to protect the society from crime, disorder and violence. This includes: the armed forces and their civilian staff, law enforcement agencies (community police, investigations, border management services, penitentiary services), and intelligence services, as well as their civilian staff, educational and training establishments and corresponding logistical services. The objective is that the security sector is responsive to public needs and provides security as a public good. The security sector may also be argued to include regulated private entities with highly specified and limited roles related to protection of property and theft prevention.

The objective of the security sector is to provide security as a public good. The security sector is, therefore, subject to the same laws, rules and regulations as any other public service. Via transparent and accountable policies and practices, the goal of each security provider is to provide effective services in an efficient format. The key means for society and stakeholders to ensure that goal is achieved is by participating with democratic institutions, independent oversight agencies, government and the security sector itself, in democratic governance of the security sector. Democratic Security Sector Governance, essentially, means that the security sector is under democratic civilian control; that it aims to protect human rights, respect the rule of law and is accountable for its actions and performance.

Democratic Security Sector Governance (SSG): concerns the relationship between the state, as a provider of a public service, and the civil society as a receiver of that public service. This relationship must be built on trust and dialogue. The relationship must be participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, efficient, equitable, inclusive, and respect the rule of law.

Security Sector Reform (SSR): is defined by the United Nations as a process of assessment, review, and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation led by national authorities that has as its goal the enhancement of effective and accountable security for the state and its peoples without discrimination and with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.[1]

[1] UNDPKO SSR Unit (2012), The United Nations SSR Perspective.

Security Sector Governance and Reform Guidelines for OSCE Staff

These guidelines provide OSCE staff with advice on supporting cross-dimensional approaches to security sector governance and reform (SSG/R). The purpose of such approaches is to promote a move away from the kind of fragmented support which has a limite … read more

Teaching Gender in the Military: A Handbook

The Handbook was created in response to a call to integrate gender in military education and training articulated in the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security; the NATO frameworks to implement these resolutions; and national poli … read more

Handbook on Combating Corruption

This handbook is a reference guide on available legal tools, the latest legislative and policy trends, and pertinent measures and practices to prevent and suppress corruption. The handbook is aimed at raising awareness of the range of international ins … read more

Women in the Ukrainian Security Sector: Legislation and Current Practices

This preliminary study performed by the Institute of Gender Programs and the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS), with financial support from DCAF, presents an analysis of the basic legislation regulating military service of wom … read more

Conference 1: Ukraine’s Security Governance – Challenges, Status and Needs

On the 21 and 22 of January 2016, a Conference on Ukraine’s Security Governance challenges, status and needs was held in Kyiv in cooperation with the Razumkov Centre. This was the first conference out of the series of four that will be held in Ukraine … read more

Guides to Good Governance: Anti-Corruption Policies and Agencies

“Guides to Good Governance” is a series of small booklets each of which discusses a particular topic of importance to good governance in the defence sector. The main reason for promoting integrity in a systematic way is to reduce the risk of corruption … read more

Guides to Good Governance: Tackling conflicts of interest in the public sector

“Guides to Good Governance” is a series of small booklets each of which discusses a particular topic of importance to good governance in the defence sector. The main reason for promoting integrity in a systematic way is to reduce the risk of corruption … read more

Guides to Good Governance: Professionalism and Integrity in the Public Service

“Guides to Good Governance” is a series of small booklets each of which discusses a particular topic of importance to good governance in the defence sector. The main reason for promoting integrity in a systematic way is to reduce the risk of corruption … read more

Democratic and Effective Oversight of National Security Services

With the permission of the Council of Europe, DCAF has translated the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights’ May 2015 Issue Paper on ‘Democratic and effective oversight of national security services’ (link to original source here) into severa … read more

Criteria for Good Governance in the Defence Sector: International Standards and Principles

This publication was, originally, developed in order to provide assessment guidelines in the systematic evaluation of the integrity systems of nine countries. The international standards and principles contained in this publication cover a broad spectr … read more

Building Integrity Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Peer Review Process: A Diagnostic Tool for National Defence Establishments

This Building-Integrity handbook contains a questionnaire, guidance on organising the process in-country, a sample note which can be used to brief the Defence Minister or Head of the Armed Forces on how to introduce the peer review process, and an outl … read more

International Standards of Financial Oversight in the Security Sector

This Toolkit provides readers with easy access to internationally-adopted guiding principles, standards, and best practices of financial oversight of security sector institutions. The toolkit allows readers to access key international standards on budg … read more

SSR: Applying the Principles of Good Governance to the Security Sector

This SSR Backgrounder is about security sector reform. SSR is the political and technical process of improving state and human security by applying the principles of good governance to the security sector. SSR means making security provision, oversight … read more

Global Anti-Corruption Initiative (GAIN)

The objectives of GAIN are to integrate anti-corruption solutions in service delivery to contribute to Millennium Development Goals acceleration and post-2015 development goals; to strengthen state/institutional capacity to implement UNCAC and prevent … read more

UN Security Council Resolution 2151

Unanimously adopting resolution 2151 (2014), the Council reiterates the centrality of national ownership for security sector reform processes, recognizing the need to consider host-country perspectives in the formulation of peacekeeping and special pol … read more

Oversight and Guidance: Parliaments and Security Sector Governance

This third version of the DCAF-NATO PA ‘Vademecum’ underlines the essential role that parliaments must play in ensuring democratic oversight of the security sector. Updating key information on best practices related to parliamentary oversight and guida … read more

Securing States and Societies: Strengthening the United Nations Comprehensive Support to Security

This report reviews the United Nations support to security sector reform, and includes recommendations on how best to strengthen the Organization’s comprehensive approach in this area, pursuant to the statement by the President of the Security Council … read more

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