Prof. Timothy Edmunds, University of Bristol.
Security sector reform (SSR) has become an important component of international peacebuilding, stabilisation and democratisation efforts since 2000. However, and until recently, its impact on the maritime sector has been limited. This paper explores the lessons learned from past or ‘mainstream’ SSR initiatives, and considers their relevance for maritime capacity building and the Capacity Building Coordination Group (CBCG) of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). It argues that the maritime sector presents some novel challenges to the SSR project, including the transnational nature of the maritime security environment, its jurisdictional and organisational complexity, and the often fragmented nature of the political communities in which it is conducted. Even so, it argues that important lessons can be learned from SSR experiences elsewhere. These include the importance and meaning of local ownership, the inherently political nature of the reform process itself, the dangers of externally-driven and overly technocratic responses, and the consequent need to work with rather than against local governance structures and practices. Ultimately, it argues for an adaptive, politically sensitive and ultimately problem-driven approach to Maritime SSR, and warns against the adoption of formulaic models of ‘best practice’, imposed from outside. Read the full paper here: Maritime Security Sector Reform