Publication Announcement

Jan 30, 2017 | Publications

The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone

CSG Paper No. 15

KITCHENER, CANADA – The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Senior Fellow Ibrahim Bangura. It is the second of two papers on Sierra Leone and the product of a wider series of papers that has come out of the CSG’s multi-year research project, titled Exploring the transition from first to second generation SSR in conflict-affected societies. Led by CSG Executive Director Mark Sedra, the project assesses and evaluates the impact of orthodox security sector reform (SSR) programming in conflict-affected countries. Employing a common methodology, the project features original research on four case study countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, El Salvador, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste.

The project has produced two reports per case study country—eight in total. The first phase of the project answered: a) to what extent and how have SSR efforts in the case study countries followed the orthodox SSR model as described in the OECD-DAC Handbook on SSR; b) in assessing SSR efforts in each case study country, how have orthodox SSR approaches succeeded and failed and why. The second project phase, which this paper captures, explores what alternative approaches or entry-points for security and justice development are available. Are they used, and if so, how? If not, why?

Sierra Leone’s initial approach to SSR was state-centric, ad-hoc and shaped by immediate events, as the country was mired in a civil war. However, the post-war period opened space for the adoption of a human security lens to SSR, which, in turn, enabled greater opened public participation and leadership in the process from civilians and non-state actors. The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone argues that the new direction and opportunities this second generation SSR process presented leaves little doubt that orthodox interpretations of security sector reform are ill-suited to achieve systemic change in contexts like Sierra Leone. The second generation SSR model can refocus transition countries towards prioritizing the needs and aspirations of their people within a wider security context, rather than limiting reforms to serving the exclusive needs of the traditional political elites.

Funding for this project was provided by the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

The peer-reviewed CSG Papers series provides a venue for comprehensive research articles and reports on a variety of security sector reform and related topics. The series endeavors to present innovative research that is both academically rigorous and policy relevant. Authored by prominent academics, analysts and practitioners, the CSG Papers cover a range of topics, from geographic case studies to conceptual and thematic analysis, and are based on extensive research and field experience.

All CSG publications are freely accessible and downloadable on our website at


Andrew Koltun, CSG Project Officer
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The CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to the study of security and governance transitions in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states. Based in Canada, the CSG maintains a global, multi-disciplinary network of researchers, practitioners and academics engaged in the international peace and security field.