Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Security Sector Reform (via VTC)

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 3, 2020


Thank you so much. And thank you to our briefers, as well, today. We welcome the discussion as a way to highlight how important it is to reform a country’s security sector to help bring about sustainable peace, development, and good governance.

Effective security sector governance is vital to any nation’s long-term growth, stability, and security. Additionally, successful security sector reform must encompass all elements of a country’s security sector, including the military, the police, border security, and justice systems.

We have seen that effective SSR strengthens institutions, which leads to increased transparency and accountability. On the other hand, we have seen that corruption and insufficient political will undermine reform efforts, especially at the strategic level. It is essential that national leaders show their commitment to long-term security sector reform and the transparency and accountability that is tied to it.

While the UN can, and does, play an important role in promoting security sector governance and reform, we believe that national and local-level ownership of the process is essential. Local governments, civil society, and non-governmental organizations provide key contributions to both initial reforms and to successful long-term governance.

We would also like to underscore that effective SSR requires dedicated resources and follow through. It is important that nations not only express verbal support for improved security sector governance and reform, but align national resources with the promises they make. Without national ownership and sustained financial commitments, SSR can falter. We have seen that when a government’s commitment is consistent and clear, success inevitably follows.

The United States is deeply committed to justice and accountability, to include security sector governance and reform. A good example is Liberia, which, after recovering from 14 years of civil war, has resisted a return to conflict, and is continuing to make progress in rebuilding an accountable, impartial, and functional security sector. The United States has provided more than $4 billion in assistance to support Liberian stabilization and development in the past 20 years. The United States will continue to support Liberia and other states enacting security sector reforms, as well as use our voice on the Security Council to push for strong security sectors that are responsive to their people and help build long-term peace.

I will end by highlighting the essential role that women play in security sector governance and reform. The United States appreciates all efforts to ensure women’s participation in SSR dialogues. This is critical in ensuring successful and sustainable SSR.

Thank you.