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Sustainable Development & SSG/R

The UN’s 2030 Agenda is a global action plan for sustainable development and a key priority for the UN and its member states. Intrinsic to the 2030 Agenda is the acknowledgement of security as a driver of development, with effective and accountable national security sectors playing an essential role.

Despite there being considerable overlap between the two realms, to date little work has been done to link SSG/R to the 2030 Agenda. In this programme, DCAF focuses on the various crossroads between SSR and the 2030 Agenda’s interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), as well as SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities).

As we enter the SDG Decade of Action, DCAF will further engage in the realization of the 2030 Agenda by conducting empirical research, promoting norms and practices, providing SDG-specific policy recommendations and advice, and build capacity of local and national security sector actors to engage in the SDGs.

 

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Photo: Patrick Hagan 
 
Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. The new Agenda recognizes the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions.
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Workstreams/Projects

 

SDG 16 aims to develop peaceful and just societies by building strong institutions, through targets 16.6 and 16.7, which focus on good governance and accountability of public institutions. To achieve the ambitions envisaged under this goal, all states will need to redouble their efforts to ensure that their national security sector is both effective and accountable, and operates within a framework of democratic civilian oversight, rule of law, and respect of human rights. However, there is currently limited guidance on how SSG policies can contribute to achieving SDG 16, in particular targets 16.6 and 16.7, which are crucial (particularly in fragile contexts) for ensuring legitimate stability.

This project aims to:

  • Position SSG/R as a policy tool at the national and international levels for realising SDG 16
  • Establish the linkage between oversight actors of the security sector and their contribution to good governance and accountability, as well as providing these actors with the means to realign their strategic priorities with the 2030 Agenda
  • Develop SDG 16-specific guidance that supports states in the implementation of the 2030 agenda and its subsequent reporting

This project focuses on three different oversight actors of the security sector and covers the role of parliaments, civil society, and independent oversight institutions in promoting SSG and SDG 16.

This project is made possible by support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Resources:

 

 

SDG 16 aims to develop peaceful and just societies by building strong institutions, through targets 16.6 and 16.7, which focus on good governance and accountability of public institutions. Target 16.7 in particular seeks to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making. One of the most important decision-making bodies is parliament. Their involvement in SSG/R allows for a more participatory and inclusive process addressing the security needs of the entire population. In order to fulfil this function every segment of the population should be represented in decision-making. In this regard, attention must particularly be given to those who are frequently underrepresented such as women, ethnic and religious minorities.

Beyond decision-making, parliaments also have a critical role to play in strengthening rule of law, providing access to information, combatting corruption and organized crime, among others, which are also objectives of SDG 16.

This project focuses on parliaments as one of the most prominent oversight bodies of the state and their capacity to hold governments accountable for their commitments to SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda. Parliaments play an instrumental role in creating peaceful and just societies, through their five key functions: legislative, budgetary, oversight, elective and representative, and in their authority, ability and attitude to perform these roles. 

High-Level Events 

Multiple high-level policy events are organized each year to familiarize and influence policy makers with parliaments’ integral role within the 2030 Agenda, to sensitize parliaments with their role in the Agenda, and to contribute to the policy discourse.

Research Products 

This project also creates various knowledge products to situate SSG/R in the context of the SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda:

  • Research papers on SSR framing the role of SSG/R in relation to the 2030 Agenda and parliaments
  • Voluntary National Review (VNR) mapping studies which aims at reviewing all VNRs with a focus on the extent SSG/R and parliaments feature within VNRs, and to identify good practices
  • Country case studies providing in-depth analysis of noteworthy parliaments
  • Handbooks for each respective year compiling all resources, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations generated throughout the year’s research, policy events and workshops into one comprehensive source
Workshops

The project also organizes annual workshops to put the research and policy discussions into practice and with a view of peer-sharing between parliaments.

  • National Workshop – together with national actors, DCAF co-hosts multi-stakeholder workshops on a national level to provide detailed guidance generated in the above deliverables for that state to develop their own tailored approach towards achieving SDG 16
  • Regional Workshop – scaling up the lessons and good practices learned from the national workshops, DCAF co-hosts regional workshops to provide guidance to states in that region on their role in how they can more effectively implement and achieve SDG 16


The contributions of civil society organizations to good security sector governance play a vital role in the achievement of SDG 16, which calls for peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and the 2030 Agenda overall. A civil society engaged with security issues is a valuable asset to democratic security governance because it creates a channel for communicating the diverse views of the population about the quality of security and ways to improve it. In particular, civil society can contribute to security sector governance in five ways: awareness raising; advocacy; monitoring and public oversight; fact-finding, research and analysis; and service provision.  

This project focuses on civil society organizations and their oversight function to hold governments accountable for their commitments to SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda. 

High-Level Events 

Multiple high-level policy events are organized each year to familiarize and influence policy makers with civil society’s integral role within the 2030 Agenda, to sensitize CSOs with their role in the Agenda, and to contribute to the policy discourse.

Research Products 

This project also creates various knowledge products to situate SSG/R in the context of SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda:

  • Research papers on SSR framing the role of SSG/R in relation to the 2030 Agenda and civil society 
  • Voluntary National Review (VNR) mapping studies which aims at reviewing all VNRs with a focus on the extent SSG/R and civil society organizations feature within VNRs, and to identify good practices 
  • Country case studies providing in-depth analysis of noteworthy civil society organizations
  • Handbooks for each respective year compiling all resources, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations generated throughout the year’s research, policy events and workshops into one comprehensive source 
Workshops 

The project also organizes annual workshops to put the research and policy discussions into practice and with a view of peer-sharing between civil society organizations. 

  • National Workshop – together with national actors, DCAF co-hosts multi-stakeholder workshops on a national level to provide detailed guidance generated in the above deliverables for that state to develop their own tailored approach towards achieving SDG 16 
  • Regional Workshop – scaling up the lessons and good practices learned from the national workshops, DCAF co-hosts regional workshops to provide guidance to states in that region on their role in how they can more effectively implement and achieve SDG 16

 


National security sectors that are both effective and accountable within a framework of democratic control, rule of law and respect for human rights are a core element of realizing the good governance ambitions of SDG 16 and its related targets (Agenda 16+). Under SDG 16, states are responsible for providing safety and justice for their populations. Central to that are the principles of good governance, meaning that states will need to ensure public and national security are provided in an effective, accountable and transparent way. These good governance targets are the focus in SDG 16.6.

Additionally, SDG 16 calls to promote and protect human rights by receiving, investigating and rectifying grievances, while strengthening the good governance of peace and justice institutions. This project will focus on how ombuds institutions may act as catalysts for SDG 16. While undervalued in the 2030 Agenda, ombuds institutions play a critical role in preventing human rights abuses by receiving, investigating and rectifying grievances, while also strengthening the good governance of peace and justice institutions.

Fair, accountable and transparent institutions are important levers for sustainable development. In this regard, ombuds institutions offer a promising pathway.

High-Level Events 

Multiple high-level policy events are organized each year to familiarize and influence policy makers with ombuds institutions’ integral role within the 2030 Agenda, to sensitize ombuds institutions with their role in the Agenda, and to contribute to the policy discourse.

Research Products 

This project also creates various knowledge products to situate SSG/R in the context of the SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda:

  • Research papers on SSR framing the role of SSG/R in relation to the 2030 Agenda and ombuds institutions
  • Voluntary National Review (VNR) mapping studies which aims at reviewing all VNRs with a focus on the extent SSG/R and ombuds institutions feature within VNRs, and to identify good practices
  • Country case studies providing in-depth analysis of noteworthy ombuds institutions
  • Handbooks for each respective year compiling all resources, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations generated throughout the year’s research, policy events and workshops into one comprehensive source
Workshops 

The project also organizes annual workshops to put the research and policy discussions into practice and with a view of peer-sharing between ombuds institutions. 

  • National Workshop – together with national actors, DCAF co-hosts multi-stakeholder workshops on a national level to provide detailed guidance generated in the above deliverables for that state to develop their own tailored approach towards achieving SDG 16
  • Regional Workshop – scaling up the lessons and good practices learned from the national workshops, DCAF co-hosts regional workshops to provide guidance to states in that region on their role in how they can more effectively implement and achieve SDG 16
 

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban centres, and this number is set to increase to almost two-thirds by 2050. Thus, for the majority of the world's population, safety and security have become an urban experience.

Against this backdrop, SDG 11 seeks to bring sustainable and peaceful development to the people who will live in cities by 2050 by calling on states to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.  

Yet high rates of urban violence reflect a failure to address the challenges of urbanization in national and donor-supported strategies for security and development. Urban violence exacerbates state fragility and human suffering, endangers local and regional peace, and drives uncontrolled migration. This fact demonstrates the pressing need to address the immediate challenges of SSR in urban contexts.

In 2018, DCAF completed a project on the contribution of SSR in achieving SDG 11. The resulting publications include three case studies, an SSR Paper, and an SSR Backgrounder, all showcase the need to examine SSR through an urban lens.

This project is funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. 

Publications and further reading 

 

 

PAST RESEARCH


"Good security sector governance can be instrume...

This Security Sector Reform (SSR) Paper offers a universa...

Safety and security has already become an urban experienc...

SSR for Safer Cities - Supporting States to Achie...

Contacts

William McDermott, Project Coordinator, Policy and Research Division (w.mcdermott@dcaf.ch)

Merle Jasper, Project Officer, Policy and Research Division (m.jasper@dcaf.ch)

Alexandra Preperier, Research Assistant, Policy and Research Division (a.preperier@dcaf.ch)