Global norms for good governance exist, as do agreements to reduce risks in the arms trade or military conduct. But there is no international framework defining what constitutes responsible governance of the defence and security sector. Good governance initiatives often exclude defence on the grounds of national security, while security initiatives are often too narrowly focused or geographically restricted.
Our “Global Standards” initiative aims to address these gaps. The initiative envisages the creation of an international political declaration, which would universalise norms around what it means to be a responsible power in the 21st Century, including commitments to basic transparency and accountability in one of the most opaque and closed off sectors in the world. Such a global consensus would set a clear standard in the international community that militaries should be accountable domestically to people and other institutions of state.
Based on key stakeholder consultations, Transparency International – Defence & Security have highlighted five key characteristics that the Global Standards initiative should uphold:
- The initiative should be state-led and supported by civil-society.
- The declaration should be declarative and voluntary, not treaty-based and legally binding.
- The declaration should be more general and behavioural than technical and specific.
- It should be implemented and monitored primarily through domestic mechanisms.
- The Global Standards should be ambitious in scope to ensure maximum impact.
We are currently working towards bringing together a small group of founding member states to draft the declaration. So far, the initiative has had positive responses from government stakeholders around the world. For more information about this initiative, read our report.