The Security Sector’s Role in Responding to Health Crises - Lessons from the 2014–2015 Ebola Epidemic and Recommendations for the Mano River Union and Its Member States

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The Security Sector’s Role in Responding to Health Crises representatives from key regional organizations involved in the Ebola response, including the African Union (AU) and the Mano River Union (MRU), as well as additional researchers, Ebola Task Force coordinators at national and regional levels, and representatives of the diplomatic and international community based in Freetown. Participants shared practical recommendations to facilitate better preparedness to mitigate future epidemics.

The discussions focused on practical lessons learned from the Ebola crisis and generated recommendations for security sector actors’ contributions to future preparedness and response capacity from the perspectives of the armed forces, police services, intelligence services, border management, local security actors, international security arrangements, national governments, societal actors, institutional and legal frameworks, and security sector reform (SSR) activities. The participants worked together in break-out groups and practical exercises on the relationship of health and security sectors; the roles played by security institutions; and the roles of bilateral, regional and international actors.
The workshop culminated on the second day with a plenary during which the results from the parallel group meetings were presented and discussed, highlighting key lessons, challenges and recommendations from the interactive sessions. This report outlines the most important findings and suggestions that emanated from this expert meeting.