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13 Feb 2015
New York—Reforming a state’s security sector is crucial to preventing recurring violence and ensuring conditions for sustainable development, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP’s Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, said at a high-level event of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform at UN Headquarters.
Security sector reform generally refers to efforts to reform or rebuild a state’s security sector, and may consider changes to personnel and institutions related to armed forces, law enforcement, border management, customs services, and justice institutions, among others.
On 28 April 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its first stand-alone resolution on security sector reform. 41 Member States co-sponsored the resolution. The adoption of Resolution 2151 on security sector reform came during a steady increase in demand for security sector reform support.
“Security spending alone, without good governance and the rule of law, does not necessarily result in higher levels of safety and stability for citizens, countries or regions. Nor does it necessarily enhance development,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
Also addressing the High-Level debate, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Dmitry Titov warned that poorly trained and inadequately equipped security forces are “a threat not only to safety and stability, but also basic rights, such as the freedom of expression.”
Convened by the co-chairs Slovakia and South Africa, the event provided Member States with the chance to discuss opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the UN and other organizations for delivery on security sector reform. The UN Member States present voiced a common consensus for national ownership, civil society engagement and community trust for security sector reform to be implemented successfully. Considering the UN’s role, different Member States stated that justice and security are embedded in the proposed sustainable development goals on human safety as part of the post-2015 development agenda.
“This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. We must do better at advancing gender equality and security for women, especially when we have outbreaks of conflict and high levels of criminality. True national ownership of security sector reform means that ordinary women and men have a voice in defining security needs in their own communities,” Martínez-Solimán said.
Noting that the rule of law also requires working with civil society and parliaments to increase public oversight of the security sector, Martínez-Solimán said that UNDP will do its utmost to work closely with all of its partners, to accelerate support for meaningful and durable security sector reforms as a foundation of peace and development with rule of law, human rights and gender as strong pillars.