Introduction: Security & Public Order Sub-topics

Presentation of subtopics

The Security and Public thematic section of the Peacebuilding Portal consists of the following sub-topics:

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR)

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) refer to a set of activities that aims to disarm and collect small arms and light and heavy weapons within a conflict zone, and de-mine, disband warring factions, and reintegrate former combatants into civilian life. DDR is a highly symbolic and political process that encompasses not only strategies to prevent the likelihood of renewed violence and improve security conditions, but also facilitate a societys transition from conflict to normalcy and development.

The process of DDR has been repeatedly used to stabilize and build confidence in post-conflict situations in the post-Cold War period. Depending on the circumstances of the post-conflict context--political, social, economic and security--influence and shape the decision-making process during the planning and implementation of DDR programs.  Go to DDR

Security sector reform and governance (SSR)

Security sector reform (SSR) is a broad concept that encompasses a wide range of activities associated with rebuilding, reconstructing, reforming or transforming the state's security sector under the framework of democratic governance. SSR is driven by the assumption that an ineffective, inefficient and poorly governed security sector represents a decisive obstacle to sustainable development, democratization, conflict prevention, and post-conflict peacebuilding.1

SSR has become a vital part of peacebuilding activities since post-conflict countries often suffer from fragile political situations, weak or failing institutions, insecurity among various communal groups, oversized and influential armed actors, and precarious economic conditions. In weak or failed states, the security forces are often a major factor contributing to a states demise. The improvement in the security sector is important for improved governance. Inappropriate security structures can contribute to weak governance and instability.  Go to Security Sector Reform & Governance

Small arms and light weapons

The control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) aims to prevent and reduce the social and economic impact of the proliferation of weapon after conflict. The excessive and destabilizing accumulation of SALW have created conditions of insecurity, hindered socio-economic reconstruction and development, as well as obstructed humanitarian aid and other peacebuilding activities in post-conflict situations. In addition, an increasing number of civilians have been killed or injured by SALW both during and after conflict.

There is typically a surplus of weapon that needs to be collected and destroyed after conflict. However, people do not give up their weapons easily. Often, they will want reassurance that someone else will protect their security, some will seek monetary compensation, and still other will be reluctant to turn in their weapons out fear of being punished.  Go to Small Arms & Light Weapons

Mine action

Mine action refers to activities which aim to reduce the social, economic, and environmental impact of anti-personnel landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). It seeks to limit the level of risk from anti-personnel landmines and ERWs so that people can live safely, socio-economic reconstruction and development can take place free from the constraints imposed by anti-personnel landmine contamination, and so that victims needs can be addressed.

Since post-conflict environments are generally fraught with tension and mistrust, mine action activities can be symbolically important to highlight the potential for peace, create confidence building measures, and allow for concrete activities at an early stage of intervention. It can also evolve into a larger role sustaining interaction between former adversaries. Engagement in mine action supports a peace process through its direct impact on peoples daily lives such as eliminating risks, reopening transport routes, or freeing up scarce resources such as land or water sources.   Go to Mine Action

Community Policing

Community policing refers to a philosophy and an organizational strategy that seeks to promote a collaborative relationship between the community and police organizations to prevent and solve the problem of crime and social disorder, and allows community members a greater voice in setting priorities and involvement in efforts to improve the quality of life in their communities. When traditional models of policing have failed, community policing attempts to foster a more active role by establishing trust between the community and local police, opening channels of communication, and understanding the local security fears and needs to improve police services.

The de-militarization of the police forces is one of the central focuses of community policing in post-conflict peacebuilding. In politically volatile and complex post-conflict environments where police forces have catered to various interests other than the public, community policing approaches aim to reform police institutions, refurbish their public image, and instill accountability and effectiveness.
Go to Community Policing

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Articulation of these subtopics on the PBI portal

While the articulation of the subtopics within the peacebuilding portal follows the standard way in which international actors have dealt with the issues related to the maintenance of security and public order, there are still a few points that need to be clarified.

First, security sector reform (SSR) and the rule of law and justice often intersect in the development of criminal justice and policing institutions. The subtopics of judicial reform, transitional justice, and prison reform, for the practical reasons of space concerns are dealt with more thoroughly in the Rule of Law & Justice thematic section. To highlight the linkages between these subjects, the portal provides multiple cross-references between the justice and security thematic areas.

Second, the 'reintegration' aspect of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) in this thematic section deals primarily with former combatants, and to a lesser extent their families and the communities that receive them. While the DDR subsection does touch upon issues concerning of collective versus individual dimensions of recovery, issues of trauma and mental health, and reconciliation, it has been primarily analyzed from the perspective of former combatants. The issues concerning psychosocial recovery and economic reintegration concerning the society at large, is dealt with more specifically in the psychosocial recovery and economic reintegration subsections.

Third, although the term 'demining' is often used to describe activities that refer to the removal of anti-personnel landmines in peacebuilding processes, it was felt that the term mine action better captured the realities of the peacebuilding activities in this field, since it has now come to include the socio-economic dimensions of dealing with the remnants of war and efforts to consolidate peace.

1. Heiner Hnggi, Security Sector Reform, in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: A Lexicon. Edited by Vincent Chetail (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

The news, reports, and analyses herein are selected due to there relevance to issues of peacebuilding, or their significance to policymakers and practitioners. The content prepared by HPCR International is meant to summarize main points of the current debates and does not necessarily reflect the views of HPCR International or the Program of Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. In addition, HPCR International and contributing partners are not responsible for the content of external publications and internet sites linked to this portal.