Creation of Forum for Security Sector Reform

20 Feb 2010

Creation of Forum for Security Sector Reform

Dakar, 20 February 2010 – A high level meeting was held on 18 and 19 February in Dakar under the auspices of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and aimed at strengthening the sub-regional approach to security sector governance. The meeting concluded with the creation of a regional Forum of Security Sector Reform (SSR) Experts and Practitioners for West Africa.

"ECOWAS intends to place the interests of citizens at the core of security sector reforms" said Colonel Mahamane Touré, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. "The armed forces, police and gendarmerie are public goods meant to serve the people and must be reformed as such. Everyone has a role to play in achieving this goal, "he added.

The meeting brought together researchers, decision-makers, practitioners from the United Nations, African Union, civil society and donor countries. It was preceded by a working session organized by the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) in collaboration with the Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Discussions led to three main outcomes. First, they helped root the ECOWAS Action Plan developing process in field realities. They also contributed, thanks to comparative analyses with other contexts, to strengthen ECOWAS efforts for SSR in Guinea. Moreover, at the end of the meeting, participants created a Forum in order to continue to sustain the political process initiated by ECOWAS with regards to security sector reform and governance. Supported by the United Nations Office for West Africa, the Regional RSS Forum will convene once a year and will be livened up in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission.

Mr. Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa, stressed the paramount importance of the SSR issue for peace and security. "The development of sound regional policies by ECOWAS and consistent implementation of action plans at national level will ensure better stability. And subsequently, citizens will reap the dividends of peace and a climate conducive to sustainable development in the sub-region", he concluded.

For more information:
Laurence Gerard, Public Information Officer
United Nations Office for West Africa –
Office: +221 33-869-8569 - Mobile: 77-3324928