to the Integrated DDR Standards


1. The IDDRS and the aim of the Operational Guide

The United Nations (UN) integrated disarmament, demobilization and reintegration standards (IDDRS) provide direction and guidance to those engaged in preparing, implementing and supporting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes. Although the IDDRS were developed for DDR programmes taking place in peacekeeping contexts, most direction and guidance are also applicable to DDR programmes taking place in non-peacekeeping contexts.

The IDDRS bring together knowledge, lessons and good practice on a wide range of issues from concepts, policies and strategies to programme planning, design, management, and monitoring and evaluation. As well as outlining the basics of each phase of DDR, the IDDRS offer detailed guidance on key issues, such as information and sensitization,1 food aid and food security, women and gender, children and youth, health, and HIV/AIDS.

As the IDDRS can sometimes be long and complex, this Operational Guide (OG) is intended to help users find their way through the IDDRS document by briefly explaining the key guidance contained in each IDDRS module. A CD-ROM containing the full version of the IDDRS can be found on the inside back cover of this Operational Guide.

2. Why were the IDDRS developed?

The UN first became involved in DDR through the UN Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA), which was deployed in 1989. Since then, the UN has carried out and supported DDR programmes in more than 20 countries around the world, both within and outside of peacekeeping operations.

Although considerable experience has been acquired over these years, the UN continued to lack a common strategic framework to carry out and support DDR programmes. Each new DDR initiative had to be developed almost from scratch, relying mostly on the knowledge and experience of DDR programme staff, who often turned to the several reports, studies and works on DDR issues prepared by the UN, donor agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and research institutes. However, guidance could be only inferred, was not always clear and often became difficult to translate into practice.

As a result, DDR was carried out in a fractured way; lacked adequate coordination among the UN peacekeeping mission, agencies, programmes and funds and was compromised by poor planning and support. A consensus has therefore emerged among the UN and DDR stakeholders about the need to improve the Organization’s performance in this area.

3. How were the IDDRS developed?

The IDDRS were developed by the UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (IAWG – DDR) during 2004–2006. Fourteen UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds and the International Organization for Migration are represented in the IAWG – DDR.

Workshop discussions and extensive consultations on the IDDRS were held with DDR practitioners from the UN, member states, NGOs and the World Bank. The IDDRS were approved by all the members of the IAWG – DDR in July 2006.

4. Who should use the IDDRS?

The IDDRS were designed to provide a set of policies, guidelines and procedures to UN-supported DDR operations in peacekeeping contexts. However, the IDDRS are relevant to all those engaged in DDR, whether as a part of a UN programme or not, independently of the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation.

Staff from, and consultants to, the following organizations working on DDR at the Headquarters and country levels will benefit from the IDDRS (these people are also referred to as ‘DDR practitioners’):

  • UN missions, agencies, departments, programmes and funds;
  • national commissions on DDR (NCDDRs) and other national and local authorities;
  • international and regional organizations, as well as national and international NGOs developing and carrying out DDR programmes in their own right or acting as implementing partners;
  • multilateral and bilateral agencies and other donors;
  • and other stakeholders interested in DDR.

5. What are the IDDRS used for?

Apart from being a key document for the formulation of national DDR frameworks, policies, strategies and programmes, the IDDRS are also useful for management, evaluation and staff training. DDR practitioners can use the IDDRS for the following purposes:

  • Framework, policy and strategy formulation: The IDDRS consolidate over 15 years of UN lessons and good practices on DDR issues. The document includes all the necessary information for:
    • a) negotiating and preparing overall DDR frameworks, chapters and sections of peace agreements, as well as national DDR policies and strategies;
    • and b) defining a common and integrated international approach to support national DDR efforts in a particular country;
  • Programme development: The IDDRS can also be used for making informed decisions and developing a single and coherent national DDR programme, from planning to design and from implementation to monitoring and evaluation. The IDDRS can also guide the preparation of what is generally referred to as a DDR ‘operational manual’ or ‘standard operating procedures’ (SOPs). These are more detailed instructions for implementing agencies and partners and their staff on how to carry out specific operational tasks or activities. Organizations responsible for DDR should also ensure that these procedures are respected on a day-to-day basis.

It is vital to emphasize that the IDDRS are the UN’s policies for DDR programme development, implementation and evaluation, and as such should be followed. However, they will of course need to be adapted to local and regional circumstances, and field realities. Likewise, tools available in the IDDRS, such as checklists, tables and matrices, should also be adapted to reflect national and local circumstances and needs.

  • Programme management: The IDDRS bring together the knowledge and guidance needed to manage DDR programmes more efficiently and effectively. The IDDRS also provide guidance on mission and programme support, finance and budgeting, and personnel and staffing;
  • Programme evaluation: The IDDRS lay down DDR standards, and should therefore be widely used and referred to by evaluators when assessing whether programme outcomes have been achieved;
  • Staff training: The IDDRS are an excellent resource for training, and should be widely used and referred to in induction, orientation and training initiatives. At the country level, these initiatives should provide an overview of the IDDRS before introducing DDR staff to specific national DDR policies, strategies and programmes.

6. Where can the IDDRS be found?

The first edition of the IDDRS document was released in 2006, and is available in printed and CD-ROM formats. The latest version of the IDDRS document, which may contain changes that do not appear in the CD-ROM version, can be found at the UN DDR Resource Centre.

The UN DDR Resource Centre is an online platform where policy makers and practitioners can find all DDR-related information, such as overviews of DDR country programmes, UN programme documents, tools, research reports, a directory of institutions working on DDR and relevant training centres.

7. How can information in the IDDRS be found?

The topics covered in each IDDRS module are often interlinked. Therefore, the user may need to consult several IDDRS modules to fully understand a particular issue. For example, information on DDR participants and eligibility is found in IDDRS 2.30, 3.20, 4.10 and 4.20.

However, the Operational Guide (OG) often covers all the information on key topics in a single module, and then refers users to the relevant IDDRS modules dealing with a particular topic though cross-references. For example, the Operational Guide gives guidance on participants and eligibility in its module entitled OG 2.30: Participants, Beneficiaries and Partners, but cross-refers readers to IDDRS modules 2.30, 3.20, 4.10 and 4.20.

Apart from hosting the most recently updated version of the IDDRS, the UN DDR Resource Centre (http://www.www.unddr.org) will also feature an online search tool that will help DDR practitioners find information in the IDDRS.

8. How will the IDDRS be reviewed and updated?

The IAWG – DDR will continue to be responsible for the periodic review and updating of the IDDRS. The IDDRS is a living document, and needs to reflect lessons learned, good practice and new guidance. Members of the IAWG – DDR will continue to identify those lessons and good practices that will contribute to the emergence of new DDR standards. DDR practitioners are encouraged to send comments on the IDDRS and the Operational Guide to the Secretariat of the IAWG – DDR via the DDR Resource Centre web site.

9. The IDDRS ‘levels’ and modules

The IDDRS document consists of 23 modules and three submodules divided into five ‘levels’ to make it easier to use. Each level deals with a different aspect of DDR:

  • Level 1 consists of the introduction and a glossary to the full IDDRS;
  • Level 2 sets out the concepts of an integrated approach to DDR;
  • Level 3 explains the structures and processes for planning and implementing DDR at the Headquarters and country levels;
  • Level 4 offers substantive guidance on DDR operations and programmes, as well as information and sensitization, and the supporting roles of UN military and police;
  • and Level 5 covers the UN approach to vital cross-cutting issues affecting DDR, such as gender, youth and children associated with armed forces and groups, cross-border population movements, food assistance, HIV/AIDS and health.
  • Level 6 provides guidance on how DDR is linked to other ongoing post conflict issues such as Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Transitional Justice (TJ).

A list of all the IDDRS is set out in the IDDRS Framework.

Each IDDRS module is intended to serve both as part of the overall IDDRS framework and as a freestanding document. In the published version of the IDDRS, all modules are therefore collected in a ring-binder so that they can easily be taken out and used separately.

10. Technical language in the IDDRS

In the IDDRS, the words ‘shall’, ‘should’ and ‘may’ are used to indicate specific levels of obligation. This use is consistent with the language used in International Standardization Organization (ISO) standards and guides:

“a) ‘shall’ is used to indicate requirements, methods or specifications that are to be applied in order to conform to the standard.

b) ‘should’ is used to indicate the preferred requirements, methods or specifications.

c) ‘may’ is used to indicate a possible method or course of action.”

A complete list of terms and definitions used in the IDDRS and in this Operational Guide is provided in IDDRS 1.20. 11.

Under revision