Community Security

UNDP strategic approach to supporting the security sector

Security services, when operating with respect for human rights, support sustainable development, reduce poverty and contribute to social protection. Only strong and legitimate security institutions can address and prevent violence, crime and terrorism.  


A woman reports a crime at the UNDP-supported police station in Qardho, Puntland, Somalia

UNDP Somalia

UNDP's strategic support to the security sector includes two pillars: 

  1. Governance, which entails support to the development of transparent, accountable and effective security institutions that respond to the needs of citizens.
  2. Community-based security, achieved through engaging local communities.

People-centred approach to security

As the main guiding principle of UN peace and security programming, UNDP’s people-centred approach to security serves to achieve the vision of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

A people-centred approach to security seeks to create a balance between the interests of people and the state. It is a combination of top-down, state-based approaches and bottom-up, people-driven solutions. In contrast to the human security approach that adopts an expansive view on security, people-centred security prioritizes core areas of personal (physical) and community security.

Having experienced setbacks in some contexts, and even an increase in violence in instances when security programming has reverted to a more conventional state-centric security approach, UNDP has utilized its integrator role and convened partners to jointly invest additional efforts on the ground to implement people-centred approaches. In Collaboration with the Folke Bernadotte Academy of Sweden (FBA), an Advisory Group on people-centred security was established composed of ten UN bodies and ten international organizations, think tanks and academia.

UNDP’s comparative advantage on promoting people-centred security includes its ability to:  

  • Strengthen the multi-agency approach, ensuring that partners have the relevant and necessary tools/information on how to contribute towards achieving the SDGs at the country level as well as at the global level.
  • Support governments to include SDG16 indicators in public evidence-based policies on security and to bring the SDGs to the local level by reflecting real security needs in local plans and strategies, including through community security programmes.

Community security as a UNDP strategic approach

Community security is a strategy that implements UNDP people-centred approach, through engaging a wide range of state and civil society actors to identify root causes of conflict and violence and develop coordinated responses. A key focus in community security is to improve the delivery of services and enable the recipients of these services to have agency in identifying their needs and security solutions. Community security is vital for achieving transformational change and for addressing injustice, insecurity and inequality.

A number of programmatic frameworks are available to implement the community security approach. Community Security and Social Cohesion, and Citizen Security are the frameworks UNDP’s Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights team applies in most settings.    

Community Security Programmatic Approach — UNDP Crisis Bureau Rule of Law and Human Rights ROLHR

Community security: areas in focus

Focal Points

Revai Makanje Aalbaek  
Senior Advisor - Justice and Security

Sofiene Bacha  
Community Security Specialist 

Yagiz Oztepe  
People-Centred Security Specialist