[United Nations] UN Security Sector Reforms (SSR): What & Why?

Diplomacy3 Comments

DONOT confuse this topic with UN Security council (Veto-body) reform.


  1. UN carter mandates every member to either troops or equivalent money in UN Peacekeeping operations (PKOs).
  2. The share depends on country’s economy & status in global governance.
  3. While developed countries usually send money, developing countries such as India, Pak, Bangladesh send troops. Because troopers gets more salary in UN, than in Parent country.
  4. We are the largest troop contributor in PKO, have participated in 46 out 70 UN missions, send 1.7 lakh soldiers and lost >150 of them.

Why UN Security Sector Reforms (SSR)?

  1. Security forces play a pivotal role in ensuring human rights and justice to all, particularly during civil war, natural disasters and other humanitarian crisis.
  2. These Security forces include International peacekeeping forces, National troops, police, jail authorities, intelligence agencies, border patrol, and even non state actors such as private security contractors.
  3. 2007: UN Secretary General setup Security Sector reform (SSR) task force to make these forces more accountable to people and to the rule of law.
  4. April 2014: India presented its stand to SSR taskforce. Taskforce released first draft resolution (known as Resolution 2151), accepting most of the recommendations by India.

India’s stand on SSR reforms:

  1. In Africa, the deployment of UN peacekeeping force operations (PKO), is often seen as “Neo-Colonialism”, hence doesn’t get cooperation from locals.
  2. Therefore, UN & (White) donor countries should keep minimum external footprint during peacekeeping ops.
  3. Instead we should ensure “sustainable” national ownership of the SSR process.
  4. In other words, the strife-ridden (African) host countries should decide mandate the functions/mandate of UN Peacekeeping troopers and how much Desi liquor quota should be alloted to those foreign troopers.
  5. (White) donor countries should not be calling the shots. (Poor) Host country should decide their own Priorities.
  6. SSR reform should also focus on post-conflict peacebuilding.
  7. Meaning, After peace agreement is signed (Between xyz African government vs rebels), Peacekeeping operations should focus on maintenance of public order until situation returns to normalcy (instead of immediately packing the bags and leaving- to save UN budget.)
  8. UN peacekeeping mission should be run in cost-effective manner and not with cost-cutting mindset.
  9. Without political reforms at national (African country level) and International (UNSC) level, any police, military reforms/charters will be hollow and unsustainable.
  10. Sometimes soldiers of local ethnic majority dominate the peacekeeping corps, thereby act discriminately and turn blind eye to human rights abuse.
  11. Therefore, we should ensure impartial recruitments in peacekeeping forces.

UNSC Resolution 2151 on SSR

Included most of the points made by India

  1. Bulk of the UN peacekeeping ops take place in Africa.
  2. Here, SSR play crucial role in peace, stability, poverty removal and good governance.
  3. The Sovereign (host African) country should decide the mandate of (international) peacekeeping forces.
  4. If Rule of law is strictly enforced, many civil wars & conflicts can be prevented.
  5. Therefore, UN should help not only during crisis but also for long term capacity building of these (African) armies, police, jail authorities, border patrol, immigration service and judiciary.
  6. UN should also help in rehabilitation of former rebels, child soldiers, victims; disarmament of weapons; arms embargo; combat organized crime and corruption; ensure gender justice etc.
  7. SSR requires broader political reforms with participation of civil society and jholachhap NGOs.
  8. Include more women in security forces, exclude (African) mass rapists, mass murders and child right abusers from joining national security forces (usually after peace agreement between African rebels and bogus government such criminals get plump posting in the army and police.)

Mock Question

Examine the need for Security Sector Reform (SSR), and discuss the stand of India and UNSC on this issue (200 words)
Why need?

  • Security forces are essential to ensure human rights and justice to all, particularly during civil war, natural disasters and other humanitarian crisis.
  • In last decade UN sent nearly a dozen peacekeeping Ops in Africa- they played a pivotal role in peace, stability, poverty removal and good governance,
  • but even after “peace agreements” between government and rebels these African countries have relapsed in turmoil (e.g. South Sudan)
  • To make people’s live safer, these UN missions must become more accountable and effective.
  • Therefore, in 2007 UN Secretary General setup a task force on Security sector reforms (SSR)

India’s stand

  1. To prevent the feeling of Neo-Colonization in (African) host countries, UN should keep its footprint minimal during peacekeeping operations.
  2. We should ensure “sustainable” national ownership of the SSR process- host country should decide the mandate of UN ops based on their political priorities.
  3. UN peacekeeping mission should be run in cost-effective manner and not with cost-cutting mindset.
  4. They should ensure public order until normalcy is brought.
  5. Clean and Impartial recruitment in (national) security forces, to protect the human rights of ethnic minorities.

UNSC Resolution: more points

In addition to above points by India, UNSC resolution in 2014, also includes following:

  1. Long term capacity building of armies, police, jail authorities, border patrol, immigration & judiciary.
  2. Rehabilitation of former rebels, child soldiers and victims.
  3. Disarmament & arms embargo
  4. combat organized crime and corruption
  5. Broader political reforms with participation of civil society.
  6. Gender justice, more women in security forces.

~250 words.
Visit Mrunal.org/Diplomacy for entire list articles on Diplomacy & International relations (IR) for Mains GS2 paper of UPSC Civil service Exam.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

So far 3 Comments posted

  1. Prakash chandra

    I like to your great work free of charge to give good direction for IAS Exam. Thanks

  2. sanjay singh

    Still not cleared why reform is required?

    What are the current failure of UNSC?
    What are the things not represented in UNSC?
    Why more country should get permanent seat?


    Incredible job sir. Really grateful to you.

Write your message!