Mano River Region

Citizen Engagement in Security Sector Reform

Public trust and confidence in the security sector is a hallmark of a well-functioning democratic state, where citizens can reasonably expect state security forces to protect them from a range of threats. But achieving citizen security has become a challenge in many parts of the world. PartnersGlobal and our local affiliates  are committed to improving citizen security by establishing processes for citizens, members of the security sector and government to come together to share experiences and form relationships that will lead to joint actions. PartnersGlobal in collaboration with Partners West Africa Senegal – (PWA – Senegal) completed a project in the Mano River region that culminated in a symposium in Monrovia, Liberia in September 2012 which brought together 48 leaders from government, uniformed services and civil society from Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The symposium explored the key security challenges facing the region and opportunities for making progress on improving citizen security. Recommendations that emerged from the symposium included the need for greater regional coordination on security sector reform, agreement on greater citizen access to information on security sector reform efforts and more civilian oversight and control of the police and security forces. Practical outcomes from the symposium included:

  • Members of the Guinean delegation formed a working group to discuss SSR-related issues known as the Forum des organizations de la societe civile d’appui a la reforme (FOSCAR). CSO participants in Guinea continue to network and engage government in the SSR process. The Guinea government is working with the CSOs and Partners West Africa – Senegal to consult with stakeholders on the national security strategy.
  • The Côte d’Ivoire delegation presented their conclusions from the conference to the President and integrated what they learned into the SSR planning process.
  • Members of the Sierra Leone delegation conducted radio interviews and developed radio show content about the symposium, which was broadcast nationally.

There was strong support for the need to develop a diagnostic tool that would set out a framework for potential reform, enable entry points to be identified and reform efforts to be tracked and monitored. PartnersGlobal took on this challenge and produced the Security Governance and Accountability Framework (SGAP). PartnersGlobal has now piloted this framework in both Sierra Leone and Nigeria and is expanding to other regions including Latin America.

 

Funded by the United States Department of State Africa Bureau Office of Regional and Security Affairs and the United States Embassy in Liberia.

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