Support to Policy
Development and
SSR/G Implementation

ASSN seeks to support policy development in the broad area of security  
This includes:

  • Working with the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to promote African approaches to SSR;
  • Working with national governments and security actors to build the policy and institutional capacity to address security issues within a democratic and accountable framework;
  • Working with African parliaments and rule of law institutions to improve their security oversight capabilities
  • Working with civil society and the media to equip them with the skills (political as much as technical) to engage (and transform) the security sector;


  1. Support to the African Union Commission (AUC) and RECs

The African Union

The ASSN provided technical support to African Union Commission (AUC) in the drafting of the African Union Security Sector Reform Policy Framework (AU-SSRPF) which was adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2013. As part of the background to the above project, the ASSN:

  • Established an independently funded advisory office at the African Union headed by a Senior SSR Advisor and consisting of a Gender and SSR Officer and two research assistants;
  • Held a major workshop on an ‘African SSR Strategy’ at the AU in Addis Ababa in October 2007, resulting in extensive recommendations to the AU on SSR;
  • Provided background facilitation to the UN-AU Regional SSR Consultations in Addis  (22-25 March 2009), by sourcing for Canadian funding (DFAIT) for the event and providing experts for the workshop;
  • Delivered a number of Policy Briefs to support the AU SSR Policy process under contract to the AU; anchored an SSR Validation Workshop at the AU on 9-11 December 2009; conducted a review (collaboratively with the UN SSR Team) of the Zero Draft of the AU SSR Policy Framework in Addis Ababa in May 2010; and funded a workshop in Ghana in October 2010 to finalise the policy draft;
  • Anchored the ‘Civil Society Consultations’ on the AU SSR Policy draft in Abuja in November 2010 and supported the ‘AU Member States Experts Meeting’ on the same draft in Addis Ababa in May 2011;
  • Several ASSN experts were subsequently deployed to harmone the main AU language versions (English, French, Portuguese and Arabic) of the final draft of the AU SSR Policy Framework (AU SSR-PF) in Addis Ababa (February – March 2012), prior to its adoption by the Assembly on the Union in January 2013


The adoption of the AU-SSRPF was followed by the launching in May 2013 of the multiyear programme ‘Building African Union Capacities for Security Sector Reform (SSR): a Joint United Nations/European Union Support Action’, under which ASSN is a technical partner.  Under a funding agreement with the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS), ASSN was tasked to develop seven (7) Operational Guidance Notes (OGNs), handbooks and manuals for the implementation of the AU SSR-PF:

AU Guidance on Developing National Codes of Conduct for African Security Institutions

Handbook on SSR Lessons Learned and Good Practices

Operational Guidance Notes on Harmonization of National Security Policy and Legislation

Operational Guidance Notes on SSR Needs Assessments Missions

Operational Guidance Notes on Gender and SSR

Manual on SSR Training

SSR Monitoring and Evaluation Template

ASSN also partnered with the African Union, United Nations, the Government of the Slovak Republic, and the International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) to host a High Level Panel on the Challenges and Opportunities of Security Sector Reform (SSR) in East Africa in Nairobi in November 2012. This was followed by the first Africa SSR Forum in Addis Ababa November 24-26, 2015

The network also participated in Joint Assessment Missions with the programme partners to the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Guinea Bissau and Mali.


The ASSN worked with ECOWAS (in November 2009) on the first phase of the Security Sector Governance (SSG) component of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Strategy (ECPS), with funding from the GIZ. ASSN also collaborated with DCAF in the development of the ECOWAS-DCAF Guide to Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector, and currently a ‘Toolkit for Security Sector Reform and Governance’ for use by ECOWAS.


  1. Support to National Governments and Security Institutions
  • Madagascar

In October, 2015, the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) provided a team of experts to support the Madagascan government at the National Seminar on Security Sector Reform which took place at the Ivato International Conference Centre under the high patronage of his Excellency the President of the Republic, Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA and the Prime Minister, Jean RAVELONARIVO. This National Seminar was organised by the Technical Organisation Committee for Security Sector Reform (CTO-RSS), which was formed specifically for this occasion, with support from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF), the South African Development Community (SADC) and the ASSN.

  • South Sudan

In February 2012, the ASSN signed an MOU with the Ministry of National Security in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) to provide support for Security and Justice Reform. ASSN helped to forge a strategic partnership between the Government of South Sudan and the African Union in the area of SSR, and facilitated the state-level consultations for the new National Security Policy. ASSN (together with its regional hub the CPRD) was a member of the consortium implementing the UK-funded Security and Defence Transformation Programme (SDTP).

  • Liberia

The ASSN worked with the Governance Commission in Liberia through our Security Sector Transformation Advisory Group to design a National Security Policy Framework and SSR Strategy for the Government of Liberia. The ASSN also funded or otherwise facilitated the Liberia Security Sector Review by the Governance Commission (this covered a review of the National Bureau of Immigration and development of an Integrated Border Management Strategy, and a workshop on Integration of Veterans).


  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

In partnership with Development Associates International (DAI), the ASSN was responsible for designing and implementing the ‘External Accountability’ component in the DFID-funded ‘Security Sector Accountability and Police Reform Programme (SSAPR)’ in the DRC. The ASSN also had a limited role in the ‘Internal Accountability’ component managed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

  • Guyana

The ASSN conducted three missions in 2006-8 to advise the Government of Guyana, South America, on an SSR Implementation Action Plan and the Strategic Defence Review of the Guyana Defence Force.

  • Other

In July and September 2012 ASSN assisted Burundi to develop Strategic Force Options as part of its Defence Review. ASSN affiliates have supported the Defence White Paper process and the drafting of the National Security Policy framework in South Sudan (CPRD); Police Reforms in Kenya (SRIC), Ghana (ASDR), and Nigeria (CLEEN); Prison Reform in Nigeria (PRAWA); the Performance Improvement Programme (PIP) of the Ministry of Defence in Ghana (ASDR); and the documentation of the Defence Review process in Uganda (led by Kings College London).

As part of our work with Francophone states and parliaments, the ASSN held a Francophone SSR Experts workshop in Lomé, Togo, on 28-29 May 2009 with funding from the OIF. The workshop addressed the peculiarities of the Francophone security system and the particular challenges posed by SSR. The workshop also inaugurated a Francophone component within the ASSN network.

  1. Work with National Legislatures
  • From April 2006 to March 2010, ASDR (the Ghana affiliate and West African regional hub of the ASSN) conducted capacity-building training for the Select Committee on Defence and Interior of the Parliament of Ghana, with funding from the UK Government. Please see reports
  • The ASSN commenced similar capacity-building programmes from 2009 with Parliamentary Defence and Security Commissions in several West African Francophone Parliaments (Mali in July 2009, Benin and Togo in August 2009). These were followed by regional parliamentary workshops in Ouagadougou (June 16-18, 2010: hosted by the National Assembly of Burkina Faso and funded by the OIF), as well as workshops in Mali in November 2011, Niger in February 2012, and Burkina Faso in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in collaboration with DCAF. ASSN is currently working with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and DCAF to strengthen the capacity of the Malian Parliament;
  • In collaboration with Kings College London and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the ASSN provided capacity-building for the Defence and Security Committees in the Liberian Legislature (House and Senate) from March 2006 to July 2009 (published reports are available at and;
  • Southern Africa: The Southern African Defence and Security Management Network (SADSEM) – which is the ASSN’s Southern Africa affiliate – has mounted a series of Executive Courses in ‘Parliamentary Oversight of Defence and Security’ in cooperation with national parliaments in several Southern African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe;
  • In 2007-2008, ASDR and SADSEM respectively conducted a ‘Feasibility and Needs Assessment Study’ of nine ECOWAS and ten SADSEM Parliamentary Defence and Security Committees under contract to DCAF;
  • The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and DCAF, with the assistance of ASSN scholars and experts, developed and published the ECOWAS-DCAF Guide to Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector, launched at a regional ECOWAS Parliamentary Workshop in Bamako, Mali, on 28-29 November 2011.
  1. Support to Civil Society

Whilst Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have a critical role in security sector oversight, a number of them either shy away or lack the capacity to deliver on this mandate. ASSN consequently, works with CSOs to equip them with the skills (political as much as technical) to engage (and transform) the security sector, engage with SSR/SSG and to better conduct their Security Oversight responsibilities. ASSN’s erstwhile gender focal point, WIPSEN-Africa, has over the years, supported CSOs in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone to effectively engage gender-mainstreaming within the SSR/G agenda.