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Call for Proposals: Conceptualising the Role of the Security Sector in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

August 30, 2022 by bsc

The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy is pleased to invite you to submit papers for Academic Event, which will take place during the Belgrade Security Conference (October 27-28, 2022).

As a result of a two-year-long global process that included public consultations, engagement with civil society, and multi-stakeholder negotiations, in 2015 the United Nations have adopted the 2030 Agenda with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs are the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a global campaign from 2000 to 2015 aspiring to fight a variety of poverty-related issues. Comparing with the MDGs, which were spearheaded by UN agencies and donor countries and focused on developing countries, the SDGs are intended to foster development through a universal, integrated, and indivisible approach. The ultimate goal of the 2030 Agenda is to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The Agenda recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda seeks to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It clearly states that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. A key novelty in the 2030 Agenda is a focus on the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice.

The nexus between security and development has been made particularly explicit through the inclusion of SDG-16 in the 2030 Agenda. Where do people face disadvantage due to ineffective, unjust, unaccountable, or unresponsive national authorities? Who is affected by inequitable, inadequate, or unjust laws, policies, processes, or budget allocations? Who is less able or unable to influence or participate meaningfully in the decisions that impact them? These questions lie at the very heart of SDG-16, which stresses the need for strong, transparent, and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights, effective rule of law, and good governance at all levels.

Factors which give rise to violence, insecurity, and injustice, such as corruption, poor governance and illicit arms flows, are also addressed inSDG-16. Heads of states have pledged to redouble joint efforts to resolve or prevent conflict and to support post-conflict countries, including through ensuring that women have a role in peacebuilding and state-building.

After initial enthusiasm and positive results, progress towards realizing the 2030 has stagnated, particularly with respect to SDGs concerning the reduction of violence, eradication of inequality, lowering of carbon emissions and tackling of hunger. The Covid-19 pandemic has further compounded these negative trends. As noted by António Guterres (2021: 2), Secretary-General of the United Nations, had the paradigm shift envisioned by the 2030 Agenda been fully embraced, the world would have been better prepared to face the pandemic – with stronger health systems, expanded social protection coverage, the resilience that comes from more equal societies, and a healthier natural environment. Indeed, according the 2022 Oxfam International’s research, the impacts of COVID-19, rising global inequality and soaring food prices caused by the war in Ukraine are set to send more than a quarter-billion more people into poverty by 2023. Their combined effect may result in a total of 860 million people living on less than $2 a day by the end of 2022, or 263 million more than projected prior to the pandemic.

Despite these challenges, there remains time to reverse these worrying trends. It is in this spirit that the Academic Event within the Belgrade Security Conference will be dedicated to exploring the links between security and development by concentrating on the role of the security sector in achieving the SDGs. The specific aim of the Academic Event is to unpack how good governance of the security sector can contribute towards achieving the aspirations of SDG16, a topic which has hitherto received scarce attention by the scholarly community.

With this in mind, we invite both contributions that provide conceptually and theoretically novel understandings of the relationship between security, human rights and development, as well as those analysing empirical cases or sets of similar cases. Multi-disciplinary approaches and case studies exploring regional patterns or containing cross-regional comparisons are especially welcome.

While welcoming proposals conceptualising the role of the security sector in achieving SDGs, we are particularly keen to receive those fitting into one of the following thematic clusters:

  1. Exploring the nexus between security and development
  • Theoretical conceptualisations of the security-development nexus
  • Strengths and weaknesses of using the concept of human security to analyse the fields of security and development
  • The security-development nexus in an era of profound geopolitical change
  • The locus of human rights in the security-development nexus
  • Comparing the principles of good governance, the principles of good security sector governance and the principles of effective governance for sustainable development
  1. Just, peaceful and inclusive societies – SDG16
  • Achieving equitable security provision in diverse and conflict-affected societies
  • The role of informal justice/conflict resolution mechanisms in widening access to justice
  • Responsive security sector governance in the post COVID-19 age
  • The transversal nature of security sector governance in the context of the 2030 Agenda
  • The meaning of “leaving no one behind” in the security sector context
  1. Security providers and SDGs
  • The role of security providers in assisting civilian authorities in fighting natural and man-made disasters
  • Securing cyberspace and critical infrastructure
  • Specialized state agencies/intelligence services as a threat or opporuntity for the SDGs
  • Reaching out to those left behind – community policing and marginalized and vulnerable groups
  • The use of specialized police agencies and armed forces in securing controversial development projects (e.g. mining sites, land expropriation)
  1. Security overseers and SDGs
  • Effective grievance mechanisms as early warning signs and/or tools for the prevention of violent (internal) conflicts
  • The role of independent oversight bodies in making the security providers accountable, transparent and inclusive
  • Overseeing the overseers – mutual interdependence of independent oversight bodies
  • Independent human rights bodies (ombuds institutions, human rights commissions, data and information commissioners, equality bodies) as SDG data providers and implementation monitoring bodies
  • Independent oversight bodies as bridges between the government and society

Academic Chair

Luka Glušac, PhD, Assistant Director and Research Fellow, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade and Member of the Board of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.

Application process

Participants will be selected based on the quality of their paper proposal. All submissions are required to include the applicant’s short biography (up to 400 words) attached to a paper proposal (up to 400 words). Submissions should be made electronically to with the subject line “CfP BSC 2022”, by 31st July 2022.

All successful candidates will be contacted by 15th August 2022. Incomplete applications will be excluded from our review.

Successful participants are required to send their papers to conference organisers by 10th October 2022.

Conference format

The Academic Event of the Belgrade Security Conference will be held in-person in Belgrade during the Belgrade Security Conference (October 27-28, 2022).

Why to apply?

The organizers will cover the travel and accommodation expenses of selected participants for the entire duration of the Belgrade Security Conference (October 27-28, 2022).

After the Belgrade Security Conference, all selected papers will be peer-reviewed for a special issue of the Journal of Regional Security, guest edited by Luka Glušac.

For any inquiries, please send an e-mail to: