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Development Donors and the Concept of Security Sector Reform. DCAF Occasional Papers 4

Release date: 2003-10

This paper aims to clarify some of the aspects of the discussion on security sectorreform, its origins, strengths and weaknesses.
The emphasis is on the concept of security sector reform, the ideas behind it, and its links to other discourses. Security sector reform has its roots in the development donor debate, an ongoing discussion among various groups of practitioners and theoreticians on how best to target and implement development assistance.
This paper traces the diverse origins of this debate and how it contributed to the emergence of the concept of security sector reform. It critically analyses the strengths, but also the inconsistencies and deficiencies, that the concept of security sector reform has inherited. It then looks at how the concept of security sector reform has evolved in development donor discourse.
Furthermore, the question is asked why security sector reform is so difficult to implement in practice, despite wide acceptance of its principles. Finally, some suggestions are provided on how to develop the concept of security sector reform further, in respect to both its place among other concepts used in development discourse and in development donor practice.