In the last couple of decades, debate within the international community and the Pacific has centred on the challenges posed to socio-economic and political development by insecurity and conflict. This focus has also resulted in a shifting understanding of security, which now includes the safety and well-being of people and communities as well as the security of the state.
The Pacific, like other regions, is dealing with a difficult and diverse set of law enforcement, governance and security challenges. The region has witnessed violent conflict, civil unrest and political crises. This has led to a growing recognition of the critical role of law enforcement agencies and security institutions. However, in recent years, there have been concerns that these institutions lack capacity to meet the challenge of providing security to the general public; that governments do not have the necessary civilian security expertise to manage them; that legislatures are not empowered to oversee them; and that security forces are not held accountable under the law for their actions. Effective governance of security institutions is vital for the Pacific region. In the context of conflict and violence, it supports the efforts of state institutions to stabilize the security situation, begin the road to recovery and reduce the potential of relapse. In non-conflict contexts, it ensures security institutions fulfil their mandate to combat insecurity. This creates an enabling environment for poverty reduction and sustainable development.