Security above all

Security above all

An effective, accountable, transparent and democratically controlled security sector is a prerequisite for dealing with different security challenges and can build trust and confidence between states as well as between a state and its citizens, concluded the participants of a regional conference on Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG/R) which took place on Friday, in Sarajevo.

As it was announced by the OSCE Mission to BiH, the conference, which was organized by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, Austria’s 2017 OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Mission to BiH, brought together more than 60 senior officials from government ministries and parliaments of South-Eastern Europe, practitioners, representatives of OSCE Institutions and field operations, international and regional organisations, civil society and academia.

“National ownership, or the feeling that the reforms are our own, possible and necessary, for the benefit of all of us, should be the main motives in implementing and persisting on reform processes. The exchange of knowledge, experiences and lessons learned, as well as a good understanding of common regional security threats, risks and challenges are important not only for defining the efficient response, but also as a platform for efficient and concrete forms of regional security cooperation”, said Sead Jusic, Deputy of BiH Minister of Defence.

On behalf of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, Colonel Dr. Michael Pesendorfer, Defence Attaché at the Austrian Embassy in Sarajevo, said that an effective and accountable security sector, with full respect for human rights and the rule of law, is both a cornerstone for peace and for the provision of security for everyone.

“In today’s security environment, marked by increasingly complex and often transnational challenges, we need a comprehensive response from the entire security sector. The concept of SSG/R offers a way forward in this regard”, stated Pesendorfer.

During the conference, participants discussed opportunities and challenges to sustaining reform efforts in the security sector, including in the areas of police reform, border management and security, counter-terrorism, anti-corruption and justice sector reform that build trust and confidence in the region.

Alexander Chuplygin, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH emphasised that SSG/R affects all citizens. As he said, it would be a mistake only to confine our efforts to those personnel and institutions which are directly involved in the security sector.

“With this in mind the OSCE Mission takes a comprehensive approach to its SSG/R programmes, working with media outlets, NGOs, youth organizations, educational institutions, religious organizations and other partners from around the region”, said Chuplygin.

In an effort to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of its support to national reform processes in the security sector, the OSCE has embarked on a process to develop a more coherent and coordinated approach to SSG/R.

Leading up to this conference, a three-day regional workshop in Sarajevo brought together a selected number of security sector professionals, including representatives from the Defence, Justice, Foreign and Interior Ministries, and national parliaments in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb to discuss security sector governance and reform, drawing on practical examples from the region. Specific recommendations were presented at the conference.

The conference and workshop were organized as part of an extra-budgetary project that aims to support, build capacity and raise awareness of SSR/G within the OSCE. In addition to the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, this project is supported by Germany, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland…/IBNA