n African Security Review - Deconstructing local ownership of security sector reform : a review of the literature : essays

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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The concept of security sector reform (SSR) entered the repertoire of development cooperation in the late 1990s as a novel aproach emphasising core values such as legality, transparency and accountability, and focusing not only on state security, but also on the safety of individuals. Within this framework, 'local ownership' of reform processes is a central tenet of SSR; however, there is no agreement on the precise meaning of the term, nor on the purposes local ownership of SSR should serve. Despite the theoretical commitment to a broad notion of local ownership, in practice it is often reduced to a demand for acquiescence on the part of recipient governments, leaving other relevant actors out of the equation. The authors argue for an invigorated understanding of the term that would guarantee the participation of those affected by SSR; this implies that both donors and recipients need to develop mechanisms and strategies that would allow all voices in society to be heard and so make SSR an inclusive endeavour.

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