During this quarter, DPO alongside its partners in the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR (IAWG) finalized and published the 4th Secretary General’s report on DDR. The Report takes stock of the increasingly complex contexts in which DDR takes place and draws on the lessons that have been learned from previous experiences, noting that both the landscape of armed conflict and the types of DDR interventions have evolved significantly in the past decade. While DDR processes have never been simple or without challenges, there is now a solid understanding of the conditions necessary for DDR to be as effective as possible. You can find the Report here.
In this Special Edition of the DDR Bulletin, we will highlight the main elements of the SG report through the eyes of the beneficiaries, communities, ex-combatants and government authorities which DDR practitioners have supported and continue to support. While the SG report itself showcases the myriad of ways in which DDR has evolved during the past decades, this newsletter will bring to the fore the concrete impact these interventions have had by harnessing voices from the field.


10 Years since the last Report: The Evolution of DDR

10 Years: Why now?

  • The last Secretary-General report on DDR to the General Assembly was issued on 21 March 2011.
  • In 2018, Member States called for an update through the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34).
  • The C34 then asked the Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive review of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and report back to the committee.


The global landscape of armed conflict has changed

  •  ARMED CONFLICTS have become increasingly protracted and, in many conflict-affected countries, peace agreements are precarious or absent.
  • ARMED GROUPS are increasingly fragmented, continuously proliferating as they identify new objectives, develop new capabilities, and acquire new recruits. Some have links to transnational organized crime and/or terrorism.

UN’s Approach to DDR: Adaptation over Decades

  • Late 1980s – 1990s: DDR was synonymous with DDR programs typically implemented in post-conflict contexts where a peace agreement was signed between a national government and armed groups, and a UN peacekeeping mission was deployed.
  • Late 1990s – early 2000s: UN peacekeeping mandates began to expand, the UN’s approach to DDR also broadened. Rather than focus only on combatants in military structures, DDR began to focus on communities affected by armed violence.
  • 2006: the inclusion of Community Violence Reduction (CVR) into the DDR process in Haiti triggered a rethink of DDR across the UN.
  • 2010s onwards: DDR is no longer perceived as merely an operational and technical exercise contributing to the implementation of peace agreements and is widely acknowledged as a process that influences, and is influenced by, political dynamics.


Towards a Broader DDR: From 2006 onwards

  • DDR processes are no longer only implemented in post-conflict  and during UN Peacekeeping Operation contexts;
  • DDR traverses the entire peace continuum from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping, to peacebuilding and sustainable development;
  • DDR processes have been improved by the cooperation between different bodies through the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR.

Towards more Inclusive Programmes: Gender Sensitive DDR

DDR and CVR Programmes have become more inclusive by addressing specific needs of women, men, girls and boys

Gender-related language has been integrated in Security Council mandates on DDR:

  • MINUSMA: Security Council Resolution 2531 (2020) stressed the need to account for the particular needs of women and children  when supporting and implementing DDR & CVR programmes.
  • MINUSCA: Security Council Resolution 2448 (2018) advocated for the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes the implementation of inclusive, gender-sensitive effective DDR.


CVR Beneficiaries


CVR Beneficiary


A Review of the work in the Field and at the Headqurters


DDR Programmes

The UN has continued to support nationally-led DDR programmes implemented after peace agreements.

DDR Related Tools in the Field

Members of the IAWG-DDR have supported DDR-related tools in various contexts

  • Sudan 2014-2020 UNDP supported the Sudan DDR Commission to implement a Community Security and Stabilization Programme in six states bordering South Sudan.
  • MONUSCO 2016-2021 Supported local NGOs in implementing CVR projects that reached 34,874 participants, including 13.570 women.
  • MINUSCA 2017-2018 Supported CVR programmes for 14,338 community members, including former combatants ineligible for the national DDR programme with IOM and UNOPS.
  • Haiti 2019 Comprehensive arms control framework established with support of the DPO and ODA in collaboration with BINUH, UNDP, UNLIREC and UNIDIR.
  • Mediation Efforts carried out by DDR practitioners taking place in the DRC, Libya, Mali, the Philippines, the Republic of Congo and Sudan.
  • WAM baseline studies 2016-2020 Conducted by UNIDIR in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Central African Republic, Iraq, Ivory Coast, the DRC and Nigeria.


Support to Reintegration

When the preconditions for a DDR programme are not in place, support to reintegration can be:

Cross Cutting Issues

Work has focused the reintegration of women and children formerly associated with armed grous and the prevention of youth recruitment


Many DDR efforts have also included an explicit gender component.


Efforts focused on the prevention of recruitment of children formerly associated with armed groups.


Guided by the Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda, youth has featured prominently in DDR



A New Approach


Traditional DDR Programmes

Viable when preconditions are in place:

            • The sign of a negotiated ceasefire and/or peace agreement providing for a DDR framework;
            • Willingness of the parties to the armed conflict to engage in DDR;
            • A mimimum guarantee of security;
            • Trust in the peace process.

Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration

The New DDR Grammar: Beyond Traditional DDR

  • Integrated DDR Processes today contribute to the entire peace continuum from prevention, to conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development. These are multi-stakeholder efforts that go beyond traditional DDR to comprise interlinked combinations of:
        • DDR Programmes
        • DDR-Related Tools
        • Reintegration Support

  •  Owning to the changing nature of armed conflict, DDR has become synonymous with a broader cluster of activities – DDR-related tools:

        • Pre-DDR designed for those elegible for a DDR programme when its implementation is delayed;
        • Transitional Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) which includes weapons collection and support for its safer management;
        • AGDTO Initiatives meant to prevent individuals from joining Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organisations;
        • Transitional Security Arrangements often designed to facilitate the integration of former combatants into the national security sector;
        • Community Violence Reduction (CVR) to eliminate the main drivers of violence by providing alternatives to recruitment and building social cohesion.


Blandine Kanda
CVR Beneficiary MINUSCA


Guidelines and Challanges on the way forward to DDR

The Secretary General Report has 29 recommendations on the way forward for DDR.
Here is a snapshot.


In regard to Special Political Missions and Non-Mission Settings, the SG encourages Member States to ensure

      • Capacity and resources to address DDR related requests from Special Political Missions and Non-Mission Settings;
      • Political attention to DDR until the reintegration of  ex-combatants is sustainably established;

In regard to Local, National and Regional Dynamis, the SG urges Member States to

      • Support the use of CVR and reintegration to contribute to prevent (re-)recruitment.
      • Ensure linkages between the national, local and regional levels, including through the formulation of multi-level strategies
        and regional DDR mandates.

In regard to Integrated DDR Processes, the SG asks Member States to explore

      • Transitional WAM streamlined into national DDR efforts, including national CVR and community-based approaches;
      • Ways to strengthen the linkage between short-term CVR, reintegration support and longer-term recovery and development programmes;

In regard to Cross Cutting Issues, the SG encourages Member States to bolster

      • Women’s meaningful participation in all stages of DDR processes, with the provision of support to survivors of violence.
      • Youth specific strategies designed and implemented by national authorities;
      • Disabled people participation in inclusive DDR processes in which their specific needs are met.



                                        Planting the Tree of Peace

In practice the Revised Approach to DDR laverages the UN and Practitioners’ ability to support governments and communities in building a sustainable peace

On the linkages between armed groups, the exploitation of natural resources and/or climate change, the SG encourages Member States to

      • Advocate, where necessary and possible, for the inclusion of climate-related issues in peace agreements, such as natural resource management or the impact mitigation of climate change in communities.

On further actions to be taken by the UN, the SG foresees that the IAWG-DDR

      • Endeavours to sensitize practitoners and those involved in the negotiation of peace agreements to the revised UN approach to DDR;
      • Seeks to create and further strengthen partnerships;
      • Incorporates feedback from field practitioners, academics, think tanks and other subject matter experts into the IDDRS.

Official launch of the United Nations approach to DDR  by the IAWG-DDR in 2019.