Measuring Security Progress: Politics, Challenges and Solutions

Measuring security in fragile contexts is both politically laden and operationally challenging. The expert event explored both facets while providing an opportunity to showcase examples of innovative practices from the field.

Session I: How do measurements reflect the politics of security? [9:00 – 12:45]

At the core of this discussion is the reality that the measurement of security, just like its definition, its provision and its oversight, is innately political. That is, it can be configured to serve particular interests and ambitions. So when discussing how to measure security, we begin with the question: To what end? Who is demanding this ‘evidence’ of progress, and for what purpose do they intend to use the information gathered? The first session will took a candid look the distinct audiences that different indicators serve, and how this influences the selection or promotion of certain measures.

Session II: Current, innovative practices for measuring progress [14:00 -17:15]

Moving from the conceptual to the practical, the second half of the day will showcase innovative ways of capturing security progress. The unpredictable collection environment typical of most post-conflict contexts requires practitioners to employ an element of creativity and comprehensive context awareness in designing ways to measure security progress. It is likely that – compared to externally designed programs – locally defined methods for measurement will have a better understanding of what is feasible, what is relevant, and can prompt useful (and, ideally, locally-driven) responses. This is not to assume that local populations are monolithic or security is equitably distributed; attention must also be given to understanding how certain groups’ security perceptions may be promoted, while others’ are neglected.

Session I:


  • Shirley Goeders – Deputy Permanent Representative to UN
  • Megan Price – Clingendael Institute, Conflict Research Unit

Keynote Remarks

  • Mila Cerecina – Harvard, Criminal Justice Policy & Management
    An introduction to indicators as political constructs

Speaker Presentation

  • Anna Alvazzi del Frate – Small Arms Survey
    Indicators designed for advocacy and agenda setting
  • Andrés Rengifo – Rutgers University
    Measurements to support national capacities for action
  • David Smith – Radio Okapi
    Shaping public discourse, the role of the media

Closing Reflections

  • Rachel Kleinfeld – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Session II:

Welcoming Address

  • Megan Price – Clingendael Institute, Conflict Research Unit
    Introduction of KPSRL, speakers; Summary of Session I

Keynote Remarks

  • Gary Milante – Security & Development Programme, SIPRI
    The practical and applied challenges of measurement

Speaker Presentations

  • Todd Foglesong – Munk School of Global Affairs, Toronto
    Designing public perception surveys for improved impact
  • Deborah Isser – Justice for the Poor, World Bank
    Measuring non-state justice & rule of law provision
  • Anahi Ayala Iacucci – Technologies Specialist
    Crowd sourcing strategies for collecting security data

Closing Reflections

  • Henk-Jan Brinkman – Peacebuilding Support Office
    Implications for Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Further Reading

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