On Monday 16 May, a Civil Society Dialogue Network (CSDN) Policy Meeting on EU Support for Security Sector Reform (SSR) was held in Brussels. During the day, many speakers and participants highlighted the need for clear benchmarks for measuring the success of CSDP missions, including those that focus on SSR. In the same vein, attendants repeatedly pointed to the lack of commonly agreed knowledge on how to increase the “effectiveness” and “accountability” of those missions without diminishing local ownership of the reform process. In fact, before the EU can tackle these questions, it must first concentrate on finding a suitable division of labour between the European Commission and the EAS with regards to support for SSR in EU partner countries. In this context, the EU needs an integrated SSR concept with clearly stated criteria for the use and sequencing of Community and CSDP instruments.
Further to this, the EU must be ready to reconsider the current use of its SSR toolbox and the use of CSDP missions in particular. Before agreeing on a strategy for SSR, the EU needs first and foremost to agree on a strategy for CSDP missions more generally. Only if we have a clear understanding of the potential and limitations of this particular crisis management tool can we make informed decisions on its usefulness in the area of SSR.
In a second step, the EU needs to develop SSR specific dialogues with stakeholders in partner countries as part of its general political dialogue to get a more comprehensive picture of the actual needs of the population in this policy field.
Finally, when devising mission mandates and Operation Plans in Brussels, policy planners must more systematically integrate these stated preferences and needs. Accordingly, success of SSR missions should first and foremost be defined as success in meeting people’s needs (and maybe a bit less in terms of fulfilling technical tasks such as devising legal texts without having any certitude that these texts will actually be implemented afterwards).
To come back to the question on benchmarks, any undertaking to measure the results of past and ongoing missions should be based on a broad picture of local stakeholders’ needs– and not only of the preferences of local politicians, judiciary, police and military that are directly involved in SSR processes.
For more information on SSR missions, see www.csdpmap.eu
By Sebastian Bloching, Programme Officer, ISIS Europe