Security Agencies Think on How to Make Africa’s Security Accessible to the world

ENGLISH

“Thinking Africa’s security to make it accessible to the greatest possible number of citizens also involves exchanging with other continents experiencing or having experienced forms of violence, conflict or crime similar to those prevailing on the continent. In the light of this, work was initiated with the ReSDAL (Red di Seguridad y Defensa De America Latina/Latin America Security and Defense Network) and the Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP) on November 25th and 26th, with a view to reflecting upon ways to better consider local citizens’ and States’ security perspectives and visions (in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Central Europe) at national, regional and international levels.

Please, find the concept paper below:

FRENCH

Penser la sécurité de l’Afrique afin que le plus grand nombre possible de ses habitants puisse en jouir, c’est aussi échanger avec les autres continents qui connaissent ou ont connu des formes de violence, de conflits ou de criminalité proches de ce qui se produit sur le continent. D’où les travaux lancés à Berlin les 25 et 26 novembre avec le RESDAL (Red di Seguridad y Defensa De America Latina/Latin American Security and Defence Network) et le Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) pour réfléchir à une meilleure prise en considération des perspectives et visions locales (africaine, latino-américaine, asiatique et centre-européenne) de la sécurité des populations et des Etats à l’échelle nationale, régionale et internationale.

Ci-dessous la note conceptuelle:
The concept for initial meeting for development of
Global Community of Practice (CoP) of Civil Society Organisations
specialised for Security Sector Reform (SSR)
Berlin, 24-26 November 2019
Background
The initiative for this gathering came from RESDAL who in last two years facilitated a number of consultations
with civil society organisations interested in SSR from different continents and contexts. The first consultation
workshop was organised in July 20171
for civil society organisations and academia from Africa, Asia and the
Middle East in Panama City with the support of National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The purpose of
that meeting was to introduce civil society organisations from other continents to Latin America’s
experience in security and defence reforms. In addition to showing the interest in learning more from Latin
American civil society’s experience, the participants noted the existence of common factors across all regions.
They had proposed that RESDAL, developed a global initiative to work on “south-south approach/exchange”
to the security and defence sector reforms, including, among others, a list of relevant common issues which
could be worked on as a group.
Over the course of the two years since then RESDAL conducted five other workshops – with participants from
all regions – in Argentina (September 2017), Liberia (May, 2018), Morocco (August 2018), and Malaysia
(December 2018 and August 2019), which allowed for further exploration of issues raised in Panama in 2017
and identification of particular needs of civil society organisations working on SSR in different continents.
Through the consultation with twenty of CSOs, the following issues were identified for further exchanges:
a. Specific findings of needs relevant to different contexts are:
i. In the case of the Asian region, there is an observed need for links with organisations
beyond their national boundaries, and for greater inclusion of the regional and
global contexts in its sphere of action and thought.
ii. Organisations in Africa observe increasing difficulties in terms of obtaining funds, and
some of them appear to consider whether and how to develop projects that go
beyond advocacy.
iii. Eastern Europe and Latin America share similar and even parallel developments over
time, especially when it comes to transitions and working with the security sector.
The major institutions within the security sector in Latin America were militaries, while in
Eastern Europe, these are intelligence services and police.
iv. In the MENA region, the organisations struggle in difficult national contexts; there is
a focus on relations with security institutions (military and police), and how best to
work with information to develop this relationship.
b. In every workshop, the same question was posed by participating organisations: how, in
practice, does RESDAL manages to influence SS.
2
In particular, there is an interest of learning
from more experienced CSOs (such as RESDAL) on:
i. How to develop relations with official political and security institutions,
ii. How to develop and implement original information tools/products that are
influential and used as an entry-point for development of relations with governments
(e.g. Defence Atlas).3
It is a two-way road.
c. In the world dominated by the concepts and instruments promoted by the global North, it
would nurture ad present the knowledge and experiences from the Global South, or the
countries in which most of SSR efforts took place in last two decades.
Launching Meeting in Berlin, 24-26 November 2019
RESDAL hosts the meeting in Berlin from 24 to 26 November 2019 with the support of Sonja Stojanovic Gajic
(Belgrade Centre for Security Policy – BCSP) from the Western Balkans/Eastern Europe and financial
sponsorship of National Endowment for Democracy. The small group of practitioners from civil society from
different continents will plan at this meeting how to proceed with development of global community of
practice that could respond to the possibilities and needs of civil society organisations interested in security
and defence issues in different regions.
The objectives of the meeting are:
1. Analyse common and unique trends in SSR and civil society involvement in different continents and
at the global level
2. Define a “list of common issues of concern for civil society organisations that want to influence
security sector reform” in accordance with needs and contexts
3. Define the concept for Global Community of Practice:
i. Mission and vision
ii. working mechanisms and basic organisation
iii. Define actions, including priority issues
4. Agree on potential short-term pilot global action – Design a first example of a product that will help in
the future to identify this initiative on a global level.