The aim of a security sector reform (SSR) is to comprehensively reform a country’s security institutions, i.e. the military, police and the judiciary. On the one hand, reforms aim at enabling security actors to provide security to their country and its people. On the other hand, these security institutions should act in a transparent way and in accordance with the rule of law and international human rights, while supervisory authorities are enabled to carry out their monitoring functions.
The Federal Government has been supporting security sectors reforms in selected partner countries for some time. Several ministries, i.e. the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior engage in this field. The “Interministerial Strategy to Support Security Sector Reform (SSR)” published in 2019, provides orientation in terms of which principles should guide the support, which activities should be implemented, and how ministries intend to coordinate their work abroad.
Yet, a coordinated implementation of policies across different ministries remains a challenge and providing support to security sector reform processes is a complex endeavour. To address these challenges, the Federal Government has commissioned the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) to develop a training on SSR and to offer it to members of the respective ministries as well as various implementing organisations.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first iteration of this training took place online in March 2021. The second iteration was held in Berlin, from 29 August until 2nd September 2022. Jessica Noll and Philipp Neubauer, who constitute the IFSH’s so-called “SSR Hub”, designed and conducted the seminar in cooperation with the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS). For one week, participants from different departments and implementing organisations dealt with various aspects of security sector reform. Numerous national and international experts shared their knowledge and expertise during the seminar. Relying on panel discussions, presentations, group work and practical exercises, participants dealt with aspects like analysis, planning, and the implementation of SSR measures. After two years during which many trainings had to be conducted online, this in-person event offered ample opportunities for exchange and networking.