Joint Statement on Security Sector Governance and Reform

Joint Statement on Security Sector Governance and Reform

Delivered by the delegation of Slovakia
24th Ministerial Council, Vienna
Third Plenary Session
8 December 2017

Mr. Chairman, Slovakia, in its capacity as Chair of the Group of Friends of Security Sector Governance and Reform, would like to deliver the following statement, also on behalf of:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

An inclusive, accountable and democratically controlled security sector with full respect for human rights and the rule of law, is of crucial importance to enhance the security of the population, to build trust between States, as well as between States and its citizens, and to address complex and emerging security challenges. We believe that supporting national authorities in their efforts to build an effective, accountable and democratically governed security sector is a challenge – and opportunity – we all share. Security Sector Governance and Reform is enshrined in the concept of comprehensive security, making it an essential element of the OSCE’s works. The OSCE Guidelines on SSG/R provide a good basis for the OSCE’s work in this important field. In recent years, OSCE participating States have increasingly recognized efforts in the field of SSG/R as a key element of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and resolution, post-conflict rehabilitation and peacebuilding. Crucially, SSG/R also contributes to effectively preventing and countering transnational threats all OSCE participating States face. For example, core OSCE activities in the field of preventing and counter terrorism and violent extremism, travel document security and border management, all benefit from a well-functioning security sector. We share the view that our Organization is particularly wellpositioned to promote a comprehensive and inclusive SSG/R approach, which includes civil society, at the national, regional and international level. We are convinced of the added value of fully embedding activities on SSG/R into the work of the Organization.

We commend the Austrian Chairmanship for placing the topic high on the agenda of the OSCE by organizing an OSCE-wide conference dedicated to the topic. Discussions at the conference highlighted the importance of a holistic and inclusive SSG/R approach that can strengthen broad national ownership, by engaging with civil society, academia and the media. An essential aspect is also the full and equal active involvement of women in SSG/R. Our discussions made it also clear that further efforts are needed to strengthen the OSCE’s approach to SSG/R. We further compliment the previous Chairmanships, Germany, Serbia and Switzerland, for their continuous efforts and leadership in advancing the discussions on the OSCE’s efforts in this important field and call on future Chairmanships to remain seized on this matter and to expand support to an OSCE approach to the topic.

We applaud the OSCE Executive Structures for the progress made in implementing the OSCE Guidelines on SSG/R. Noting that further efforts are needed, we encourage the OSCE Executive Structures and the Parliamentary Assembly to further pursue the implementation of the guidelines, and encourage particularly the Secretariat, within its mandate and available resources:

  • To promote and support the implementation of the OSCE Guidelines on SSG/R through the provision of corresponding training, tailored support and advice, to facilitate regional exchange on opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the guidelines, as well as to track progress in this regard through annual reviews;
  • To ensure that gender aspects are fully addressed in SSG/R support and that women’s participation in the security sector on a strategic and operational level is promoted;
  • To strengthen the commitment to a more impact-oriented, coherent, coordinated, and effective SSG/R support at all levels, but particularly among senior managers;
  • To strengthen cross-dimensional co-operation by engaging all three institutions and in particular ODIHR, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly in supporting SSG/R;
  • To re-inforce exchange and co-operation with other international and regional organizations at strategic and operational level.

Recalling previous recommendations put forward by the Group of Friends of SSG/R in a food-for-thought paper, distributed under reference (PC.DEL/1178/17) and reiterated in a joint statement (PC.DEL/1180/17/Rev.1), we call upon participating States:

  • To foster current discussions in defining a common understanding of SSG/R in the context of the OSCE among all participating States and by strategically addressing the topic in meetings of the OSCE’s different political bodies, across all three OSCE dimensions. A dedicated joint FSC-PC meeting, which will be held during the Italian OSCE Chairmanship and the Slovak FSC Chairmanship in the first quarter of 2018, will provide an excellent opportunity to continue this discussion.
  • To ensure that the OSCE efforts are complementary with other initiatives at the international and regional level, spearheaded by the United Nation’s work towards the implementation of UNSCR 2151, the Sustaining Peace Agenda, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. The forthcoming joint UN-AU-EU-OSCE mapping study will provide a better understanding on possible avenues for improved co-operation in SSG/R support.
  • To further explore the role of the OSCE, and particularly its comparative advantage, in the field of SSG/R and to continue working towards a coherent and coordinated OSCE approach to SSG/R. Some of the key elements for such an approach include the need for national ownership, accountability, cross-dimensional and gender-responsive approaches, as well as the integration of SSG/R into the OSCE’s conflict cycle toolbox, the sharing of best practices and the strengthening of international co-operation.

To this end, we encourage all participating States to join us in this discussion and to provide the necessary political support to continue to strengthen the effectiveness and coherence of the OSCE’s approach. The Group of Friends will, in this regard, continue to serve as an open platform in order to advance discussions on SSG/R and to promote ongoing efforts in this field. We remain convinced that SSG/R can make a significant contribution to increasing stability in our region and enhance the security of our citizens.