Statement on Security Sector Governance and Reform

Delivered by Ambassador Steffen Kongstad at the 68th Joint Meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Permanent Council, Vienna, 14 February 2018


I thank the speakers for their interesting presentations.

A well-functioning Security Sector, acting in accordance with international human rights commitments, the principles of rule of law, under appropriate democratic control, is essential to ensuring social and economic development and long-term stability and security in all participating States and in our region as a whole. And as pointed out earlier this meeting, SSR is an essential part of the SDGs which we are all obliged to implement. The OSCE, its institutions and its field missions, play a significant role in supporting security sectors that are firmly rooted in our common commitments.

Whether we look at work against corruption, the strengthening of border control, improvements in the judicial sector or democratic control of the armed forces, Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG/R) have been, and must continue to be, a key aspect of OSCE capacity building. We observe that years of close cooperation between the OSCE executive structures, and the field missions and their respective host countries are yielding good results.

The OSCE field operations remain essential to effectively support SSG/R in participating States. Informed by local experiences and in co-operation with the host countries, the OSCE missions are instruments well placed to offer the support requested and required to meet our common commitments. In order for them function effectively, participating States must provide the missions with the necessary resources.

The OSCE’s work on SSG/R is, and must be, as it was also clearly stated in the UNSCR 2151, based on the fundamental principle of national ownership. One aspect of this means ensuring that OSCE support flows from national priorities.

Although government bears the responsibility for the security sector, they are not the only stakeholders; the inclusion and support of the engagement of civil society with expertise and experience is a necessary contributing factor to effective governance and reform. So too, is the inclusion of women, as a gender sensitive approach not only increases the notion of legitimacy and ownership, but also increases the impact and long-term success of any reforms. The proposed decision for last year’s Ministerial Council on increased participation of women in the security sector would have given both the OSCE and its participating States important guidance on the gender aspect of SSG/R. We do regret the failure to adopt this decision.

Thank you


Statement on Security Sector Governance and Reform