27 April 2014

Nigeria Seeks Action-Oriented UN Resolution on Security Sector Reforms

Photo: Vanguard
President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) inspecting parade during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Abuja.

Nigeria wants the United Nations (UN) Security Council to adopt an action-oriented resolution that prioritises Security Sector Reforms (SSR) as a key tool in the prevention and management of conflicts.

The proposal is contained in a concept paper entitled 'SSR: Challenges and Opportunities,' which was circulated to members of the 15-member council under Nigeria's presidency for the month of April. A copy of the paper was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, ahead of the council's open debate on SSR on April 28 in New York, U.S.A.

It acknowledged that in 2007, 2008 and 2011, the council issued three presidential statements on the subject, which were adopted under the thematic heading of maintenance of international peace and security.

"The Security Council should therefore, seize the opportunity to make a strong statement in support of UN's role in SSR through the adoption of a resolution. This would follow trends seen in other related areas of UN work such as combating small arms and light weapons control where a first resolution was adopted in September 2013, after a number of presidential statements", the paper read.

According to the text, the key areas to be addressed in the resolution on security sector reform are: strengthening the operationalisation of national ownership and supporting prioritisation in UN missions. In addition, Nigeria would want the resolution to clarify understanding of the UN's approach to SSR, including its comparative advantage and the need to strengthen the review of progress on SSR among member states.

A Nigerian UN diplomat familiar with the subject told NAN the bulk of the international community's assistance in the area of security sector reform took place in post-conflict countries in Africa.

"At the same time, a number of African countries are becoming important providers of such assistance, the official said, citing Nigeria's training of military officers from many countries. Nigeria strongly believes a resolution would among things address current challenges of the UN in supporting SSR processes.

"For instance, there is an excessive focus on hardware issues-relating to training and equipping the security sector. This is in comparison to efforts to enhance delivery of software-related support which would entail a stronger focus on democratic governance and management of the security sector," the diplomat stated.

NAN reports that a Security Council resolution is legally binding on UN member states but a presidential statement is not and it is often issued when the UN Council cannot reach a consensus.

In 2011, Nigeria sponsored a presidential statement on the subject during its two-year stint at the Security Council from 2010 to 2011. That statement emphasised that establishing effective, professional and accountable security sectors was the cornerstone of peace and sustainable development.

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