Publication Announcement

Feb 6, 2017 | Publications

The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste

CSG Paper No. 16

KITCHENER, CANADA – The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Senior Fellow Sarah Dewhurst and Lindsey Greising. It is the second of two papers on Timor-Leste 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?

Orthodox SSR in Timor-Leste focused on importing administrative structures and improving the technical capacity of security institutions, but failed to adapt to the political realities and dynamics of the new state. In recent years, however, some initiatives that can be described as second generation SSR efforts have emerged. These approaches have been characterized primarily by their ability to work politically to engage with national actors. They are adapted to the local context and employ more holistic and reconciliatory approaches to security governance, leveraging civil society and engaging both formal and informal security providers. The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste argues that they have fostered slower, but deeper, more multifaceted and therefore more sustainable societal, political and cultural transformations of the role of security sector institutions in Timorese society.

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.