Security Sector Reform

Literature Review : What is the case for a security and justice focus in development assistance programming?

litreview_Page_01An assessment of existing literature and evidence

Olawake Ismail
Dylan Hendrickson

Printed in the UK by the University of Birmingham, 2009

Prepared for DFID on behalf of GFN-SSR

This literature review on security and justice was commissioned by DFID and is intended to support the preparation of the new DFID White Paper on ‘Securing our Common Future’. The purpose of the literature review is to find evidence to support the ‘case for security and justice’. The key question it asks is why DFID (and other development agencies) should see security and justice as core business?

The Terms of Reference identified three areas of focus:

  1. whether the poor consider security and justice needs as priorities (building on 2000 World Bank “Voices of the Poor” study);
  2. the extent to which security and justice are necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (they underpin them, the cost of wars, effect which insecurity has on development, etc.); and
  3. actual examples of the effect on the poor when security and justice needs are not met (e.g. armed violence statistics, effect on MDGs, etc.)

Security and justice potentially have many different dimensions which affect human welfare, but for the purpose of this review we define security and justice in terms of access to a minimum level of private and public safety and law and order. From this standpoint, insecurity and injustice stem from problems such as crime, violence and weak or dysfunctional criminal justice systems that contribute to the breakdown of law and order and public safety.

The paper is broken down into three sections which address each of these sets of issues. By way of conclusion, the paper identifies a number of key gaps in the knowledge base on security and justice issues and briefly discusses some of the implications of the current state of knowledge in this area for donor assistance programming. This review did not cover the literature on security and justice programming, which is the subject of another review being conducted concurrently.

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