Security Sector Governance and Reform

Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG/R) is considered a fundamental instrument to prevent conflicts, protect human rights and safeguard the rule of law. It contributes to sustainable peace and development and is an essential element of good governance.  

Within both the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law (GFP) and the Inter-Agency SSR Task Force (IASSRTF), UNDP advocates for a more field-oriented approach to SSG/R, which embraces citizen and community security. This approach ensures the reflection of needs and priorities of as wide as possible when developing any research, plans and policies that inform SSR. 

UNDP takes an integrated approach to SSG/R, recognizing that security is closely linked to development, governance, and human rights. The objective is to build security institutions that are effective, accountable, and responsive to the needs of the population. UNDP designs and implements politically informed programmes on SSR that include:

  • Institutional capacity building: UNDP provides technical assistance in developing inclusive and gender responsive national security policies and strategies, reviewing the legal framework, the architecture, and the management of the security sector, and enhancing the capacity of the security institutions and personal in areas such as human rights protection, conflict resolution, and community engagement.
  • Civilian Oversight and Accountability: UNDP supports the establishment of mechanisms for civilian oversight and accountability of security institutions. This helps ensure that security forces are held accountable for their actions and that public trust is maintained.
  • Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: UNDP mainstreams gender considerations into its SSG/R initiatives, promoting the participation of women in security institutions and the debate on the SSR, and addressing gender-based violence.
Model Police Station in Gabú Region, Guinea-Bissau | UNDP Guinea-Bissau

Model Police Station in Gabú Region, Guinea-Bissau

UNDP Guinea-Bissau

The Inter-Agency SSR Task Force (IASSRTF)

The Task Force was created in 2007 by the UN Secretary-General as part of the broader efforts to foster system-wide coherence and to develop and promote an integrated, holistic and coherent United Nations approach to SSR. It is co-chaired by the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) of the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and UNDP’s Crisis Bureau. The Task Force supported the drafting of the two standalone SSR Security Council Resolutions: S/RES/2151 (2014) and S/RES/2553 (2020), and the Secretary-General’s three reports on SSR: A/62/659–S/2008/39, A/67/970–S/2013/480 and S/2022/280. It also supported the development of the SSR Integrated Technical Guidance Notes (2012).

Support to National Security Architecture

In Burkina Faso, an inclusive SSR process was supported through consultations with all security actors in the 13 administrative regions of the country. These consultations informed the national policy on defence and security, ensuring that a holistic, inclusive and people-centred vision for the security sector drives the implementation of reforms. 

In Somalia, UNDP and UN Assistance Mission (UNSOM), through the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law, provided fully integrated rule of law support leading to the endorsement of the Justice and Corrections Model and the Federal Police Model. These models have been guiding justice and police reform at the federal level to re-establish the social contract between the state and the population, as well as to prevent violence.

Prison officer students during a course ceremony with families in Bangui, 2019. In CAR UNDP and MINUSCA jointly support the recruitment, training and deployment of corrections officers.

Prison officer students during a course ceremony with families in Bangui, 2019. In CAR UNDP and MINUSCA jointly support the recruitment, training and deployment of corrections officers.


Civilian oversight of the law enforcement

In Türkiye, UNDP supported the establishment of Local Prevention and Security Boards across the country as a platform for exchange and partnership for crime prevention and civilian oversight. The programme provided training to 500 members of the internal security forces and government officials. Over 120 events were organized for more than 7,200 persons, including deputy governors, bringing the concept of civilian oversight to the local level. Parliamentary oversight was also strengthened through the involvement of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye and the review of the national legislation to give civilians a voice in the oversight of police and law enforcement, both at the local and national levels.

Gender mainstreaming in the security sector

In Lebanon, UNDP supported women’s integration in the municipal police and mainstreamed the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as protection of survivors, through all programming related to security sector reform, capacity building, community outreach and communication.

In Western Balkans, UNDP, though SEESAC, is facilitating regional cooperation on gender mainstreaming in security sector reform. A regional platform of gender equality mechanisms, commanders and decision-makers enables information sharing, knowledge exchange and planning of joint initiatives on gender equality in the defence sector. With the support of SEESAC, Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces from the Western Balkans developed a manual on combatting gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse.

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Community Security