A Regional Approach to Strengthen Private Security Governance

Private security companies are a growth industry and a significant source of employment in the Pacific yet the industry is largely unregulated and unmapped across the region.

To begin addressing the issue, a one day workshop focused on identifying key stakeholders, the issues, and possible policy or legislative solutions, is being held today at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

“The private security industry can play an important role in reducing crime, enhancing community safety and contributing to sustainable economic growth,” says Andie Fong Toy, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “But as the demands for the privatisation of security increases, the absence of a comprehensive regional regulatory framework to manage this industry may have the potential to weaken regional security governance. This workshop will provide a beneficial platform to work together as a region and identify the way forward for a strengthened private security governance.”

Jointly hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme, and in cooperation with Massey University and the Australian National University, the workshop brings together governments, private security companies, academics, practitioners, policymakers, and civil society organisations to map out ways of working with the private security industry.

Senior Peace and Development Advisor in UNDP, Sonja Bachmann said “We are pleased to partner with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Massey University and ANU on this timely workshop to identify common issues, good practices and challenges to enhance private security governance in the region and within the context of advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16.”

Photo caption: Participants at the Workshop on Mapping of Private Security in the Pacific Islands Region.


Background information:

Private security companies are a growth industry and significant source of employment, across the Pacific Islands region. They vary in size and capabilities.

This growth has been driven by multiple factors including the devolution of security from the state to the private sector, rising crime rates and perceptions of insecurity, weak state institutions, ineffective law enforcement, the security demands of extractive industries which are often located in remote areas, high levels of economic growth in some countries a growing private sector and the increasing need to secure public spaces and private property.

Worldwide, the civilian private security industry was estimated to be worth $165 billion in 2009, and is likely to be worth $244 billion by 2016, with annual growth in the region of seven per cent. The fastest growing markets are likely to be in developing countries.

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Click here for the opening remarks at the workshop by Acting Secretary General, Andie Fong Toy.


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