Security Sector Reform & Small Arms and Light Weapons Control


Funding Source: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
Period of Operations: 2014 – 2017
Location: Canada

Project Description

CSG Executive Director Mark Sedra and CSG Senior Fellow Geoff Burt were contracted by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) to write a research paper on the connection between security sector reform (SSR) and small arms and light weapons (SALW) control programming for their ongoing SSR Papers series. The SSR Papers is a flagship DCAF publication series intended to contribute innovative thinking on important themes and approaches relating to SSR in the broader context of Security Sector Governance (SSG). Papers provide original and provocative analysis on topics that are directly linked to the challenges of a governance‐driven security sector reform agenda.

Research Outputs and Publications

Integrating SSR and SALW Programming

By Mark Sedra and Geoff Burt

Security sector reform (SSR) and small arms and lights weapons (SALW) reduction and control programmes have become staples of peacebuilding policy and practice in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states (FFCAS). There is wide agreement in the peacebuilding field that the two areas are intricately interconnected and mutually reinforcing. However, this consensus has rarely translated into integrated programming on the ground.

Drawing on a diverse set of case studies, this paper presents a renewed argument for robust integration of SSR and SALW programming. The failure to exploit innate synergies between the two areas in the field has not merely resulted in missed opportunities to leverage scarce resources and capacity, but has caused significant programmatic setbacks that have harmed wider prospects for peace and stability.

With the SSR model itself in a period of conceptual transition, the time is ripe for innovation. A renewed emphasis on integrating SSR and SALW programming in FFCAS, while not a wholly new idea, represents a potential avenue for change that could deliver significant dividends in the field. The paper offers some preliminary ideas on how to achieve this renewed integration in practice.

Featured Photo Credit: UN Photo