6 March 2013
UNOG-DCAF Seminar: "The United Nations and Security Sector Reform: The Way Forward"
Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“The United Nations and Security Sector Reform: The Way Forward”
Palais des Nations, Room XII
Wednesday, 6 March 2013 at 09:00 a.m.
State Secretary Burian
Assistant Secretary-General Titov
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I welcome you to the Palais des Nations. I believe that today’s seminar on “The United Nations and Security Sector Reform: The Way Forward”, organized jointly by the Slovak Republic, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and the United Nations Office at Geneva is extremely important. This discussion follows on from our official Geneva launch yesterday of the United Nations Security Sector Reform Integrated Technical Guidance Notes, and will provide an opportunity for a more in-depth discussion of how to operationalize and optimize the guidance.
The presence of many Member States this morning is an encouraging reminder of the growing interest in the Security Sector Reform agenda. For the United Nations, it represents a core pillar of our work to strengthen the rule of law, based on justice and security. It is an essential element in our efforts to help fragile countries through delicate post-conflict transitions. Where the security sector has in many contexts been part of the problem, we need to make it part of the solution through reform.
I appreciate the strong collaboration with the Slovak Republic and our partners in the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces in organizing these unique events in Geneva. And I thank today’s excellent panellists for taking the time to share their expertise and experience with us on the important topic of security sector reform.
The Slovak Republic has shown commendable leadership in bringing security sector reform to the top of the United Nations peace and security agenda. Slovakia chairs the Group of Friends of Security Sector Reform, which now counts 31 Member States and is steadily growing. In close collaboration with the Security Sector Reform Unit in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the United Nations Development Programme and the Geneva-based DCAF, Slovakia has taken the lead in convening regional workshops and open debates to translate the vision into practical implementing tools and mechanisms that deliver measurable results. I thank you for these important efforts.
Part of this process was a seminar we held in this very room in March 2008 following the first report of the Secretary-General on security sector reform. Our focus then was on regional perspectives and partnerships. Today, our emphasis will be on how to make the new Guidance Notes an active and integral part of our security sector reform efforts – in the field and at Headquarters.
The Guidance Notes represent a crucial element of the implementation of the Secretary-General’s first report on SSR. They embody a common United Nations approach, providing coherent system-wide guidance on support to SSR.
The process of compiling the Guidance Notes also represent an innovative partnership in its own right – across the United Nations system and with partner organizations. The collaborative effort highlights the cross-cutting nature of the security sector reform challenge, and the need to work across institutional and thematic boundaries. I greatly appreciate the role that the United Nations system in Geneva has played in this regard.
Recent developments in the world and the situation in conflict zones have once again demonstrated the importance of and need for holistic, systematic security sector reform. All too often, we have experienced how in-transparent and unaccountable security actors, have disregarded the fundamental rights of those they should have protected. It is my hope that the Guidance Notes will help to strengthen our common work also in those complex contexts.
The ultimate objective of the Guidance Notes is to improve the delivery of United Nations SSR support on the ground where it matters. Against this background, the aim of our exchange today is to examine how Member States can contribute to translating the key messages into practice, and to provide substantive input for further development of a comprehensive United Nations approach to SSR in the context of the forthcoming Secretary-General’s second report later this year.
Allow me now to hand over the floor to my co-host, Ambassador Winkler, the Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, who will deliver a few introductory remarks and moderate the opening high-level segment of our discussion today.