From arms to farms, from bullets to ballots

Camilo Miguel Montesa

Senior advisor Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Interim Chief Minister of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).

The impact of DDR is highly political in that its success or failure tends to impact the prospects and sustainability of a broader peace agreement and conflict resolution efforts


Ugo Solinas

On behalf of the Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific

DDR should be systematically integrated into a political process aimed at creating an environment conducive to peacebuilding and long-term development


H.E. Mr. Adom Kacou Houadja

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire to the United Nations


In the past few years, the context in which DDR processes take place has been increasingly complex due to the proliferation and fragmentation of armed groups, the regionalization of conflicts, the rise of violent extremism and the lack of ceasefire and peace agreements. All these conditions have challenged the traditional conception of DDR and led to the creation of a new UN approach to DDR thanks to the revision of the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS), a joint policy and guidance for entities of the UN system. This new approach introduced new tools such as Community Violence Reduction (CVR) and transitional Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) that have been deployed in many contexts ever since.

In this new context, the risk for the resurgence of conflict has also increased, thus highlighting the need for ensuring sustainability of peacebuilding initiatives. To foster effective coordination and coherent approaches, integrated DDR processes should aim at creating a value chain[1]. To set a positive momentum for the establishment of such value chain, DDR practitioners need to shift their mindset to develop DDR/CVR initiatives as building blocks aiming at (i) facilitating a seamless transition between DD and R, (ii) supporting political transformation of armed groups, (iii) setting CVR as a pathway to long term reintegration, (iv) enhancing synergy between DDR and SSR and (v) linking DDR to Transitional Justice as well as other peacebuilding initiatives. All these efforts should aim at developing and setting in motion a value chain towards the establishment of sustainable peace.

[1] « A value chain is a sequence of target-oriented combinations of production factors that create a marketable product or service from its conception to the final consumption. This includes activities such as design, production, marketing, distribution and support services up to the final consumer. The activities that comprise a value chain can be contained within a single firm or divided among different firms, as well as within a single geographical location or spread over wider areas. » Source: ILO (2006): An ILO guide for value chain analysis and upgrading, Geneva

In the context of DDR, a value chain is a sequence of target-oriented combination of interventions/initiatives that create a momentum for sustainable transition of ex-combatants into civilian life and sustainable peace.

The revised UN Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) provides system-wide  policy and guidance on various tools and approaches DDR practitioners could use for planning and implementing interventions as well as contributing to the development of a value chain towards sustainable peace. During the Annual Chiefs Meeting, the DDR Section promoted in-depth exchange among practitioners both from the field and HQ as well as strategic partners on the complementary, sequencing and coordination across interventions. Practitioners were invited to reflect on current initiatives and how to enhance their sustainability. All participants agreed on the need for more cooperation between actors in the field whether they are national or international actors. Stronger partnership and linkages with entities of the UN system and other strategic partners such as the European Union, the African Union or the World Bank would contribute to establish such value chain and foster sustainable peace.
The DDR Section has been working to enhance the value of its activities in the global chain toward sustainable peace and the value chain will only be enhanced by further cooperation and integration between the key stakeholders of DDR processes.


From June 20-24, the DDR section held its second annual DDR Symposium, bringing together DDR Chiefs and practitioners from around the world, as well as various partner organizations such as UNDP, IOM, AU, EU, FBA, BICC, OECD, ARN and the Berghof Foundation. The Symposium offered participants the opportunity to come together and discuss current practices and lessons from the field, while simultaneously exploring the future of DDR processes. 

Day 1&2 – High Level Events on political transformation 

The week began with two high level events, on June 20 and 21, exploring various aspects of political transformation. The first, focusing on Voices of Witnesses, featured former combatants and a peace mediator. Guests spoke about their respective transformations from armed struggle to political action, highlighting the crucial role played by political transformation in peace processes, and how DDR could lead to such a transformation. The second high-level event, co-organized with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) addressed the importance of combining research and field perspectives, as well as the need for further research on DDR topics; lessons learned in Northern Ireland; and the role of women in rebel-to-party transitions. This event was followed by a small event in which the Politics After War (PAW) network researchers shared and discussed their research papers. This event fostered important connections between researchers and DDR practitioners and will guide future collaboration with FBA and PAW. 

Day 3-5 – Technical Sessions 

Day 3: Current initiatives, typology of armed groups, and CVR and reinsertion as a path to reintegration 

June 22 to 24 featured technical sessions, the first one focusing on current initiatives within the DDR section. It focused on three initiatives that the DDR section is working on namely on artisanal mining in the DRC; Climate Change Risks in DDR Settings; and Misinformation and Disinformation in DDR contexts. Through this session, the DDR Section collected further suggestions of improvements to the projects and will pursue, in some instances, wider implementation across a variety of DDR environments.  

Extending the focus on special initiatives currently implemented by the DDR section, the following session was dedicated to the DDR Section’s work on developing a typology of armed groups. This led to various debates on the usefulness of such a typology for day-to-day work, government involvement in such exercises and resources needed. Following the session, the lead consultant leading the efforts to develop the typology tool will update his work plan and define the target contexts, which will be used to develop, test, and fine-tune the future typology tool which will be developed before the end of 2022. 

To end the first day of the Chief’s Meeting, the third session focused on reimagining CVR and reinsertion as a pathway to reintegration with participants discussing operational challenges, as well as opportunities in supporting long-term reintegration. The discussions led to the conclusion that there was a need to change the mindset in which DDR practitioners think about CVR and work together to make sure that it contributes to the complete reintegration of ex-combatants in society.  

To end the first day of the Chief’s Meeting, the third session focused on reimagining CVR and reinsertion as a pathway to reintegration with participants discussing operational challenges, as well as opportunities in supporting long-term reintegration. The discussions led to the conclusion that there was a need to change the mindset in which DDR practitioners think about CVR and work together to make sure that it contributes to the complete reintegration of ex-combatants in society. 

Day 4: Joint DPO-ODA project on weapons and ammunition management in a changing DDR context, voluntary disengagement from armed groups, and the emergence of regional DDR efforts 

The fourth day of the Symposium covered the technical assessment mission that was deployed to Haiti in 2019 as part of a joint DPO-ODA project on effective WAM in DDR settings. The session showcased the progress on WAM that has been seen in Haiti, with a particular focus on the potential to complement CVR and DDR-related activities. Participants shared concerns regarding institutional challenges in Haiti pertaining to SALW and WAM and calls were made for enhanced tracking and data collection mechanisms and broader capacity building efforts for national ownership. In closing, an appeal was made for DDR components to reach out to HQ if opportunities arise to leverage WAM to generate traction with national authorities. 
The next session focused on the voluntary disengagement from armed groups with a particular focus on armed groups designated as terrorist organizations (AGDTOs). The discussion highlighted the need for clear legal, policy, and institutional frameworks to foster voluntary exits, with various approaches to achieve the latter being presented. During the session, experts reiterated the need to consider all the actors taking part throughout the DDR process and enhance local ownership.  Many aspects discussed in the session will feed into the new IDDRS module on AGDTOs. 

The final session of the day focused on the emergence of regional DDR efforts. Participants heard from experts working in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin regions on the potential for future DDR efforts in those settings, using the Great Lakes Regions as an example for the strong ongoing work. During discussions, the importance of collaboration between national governments was emphasized and comments were made on the topic of refugee camps and their role in armed group recruitment methods. The elements brought up during the session will directly inform the development of an engagement strategy for foreign armed groups in the east of DRC. These elements will also feed into the revision and finalization of the IDDRS module on cross-border population movements. 

Day 5: Synergies between DDR and SSR, and linkages between transitional justice processes and DDR 

The final day of the Chiefs’ Meeting began with the seventh session exploring the synergies between DDR and SSR and how these could enhance the sustainability of reintegration at the community level. In this regard, the need for SSR to focus on communities and public sector administration was highlighted, in addition to the importance of linking DDR and SSR on the issue of community security. The challenges and opportunities raised during the presentations and exchanges will be explored through the revised IDDRS module on DDR and SSR and should be the subject of future research.  
The last session focused on the linkages between transitional justice processes and DDR with participants expressing their vision on the former. Many highlighted the importance of reparations and the involvement of victims as part of an integrated DDR process. From the discussions stemmed the conclusion that former combatants eligible for DDR processes should be seen as having rights and responsibilities towards sustaining peace. All these aspects will be considered and included in the revised IDDRS module on transitional justice. 

Bringing DDR Chiefs, practitioners, and partners to New York provided the opportunity for discourse, networking, and knowledge sharing. The ideas generated as a part of the Symposium will be embodied in the new or revised IDDRS modules, in the work of UN missions, and through the support of the DDR Section.



You can find more information and highlights from the field in our interactive map below. Engage with the features in the map to explore the DDR mandates in different contexts.  

*The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on the maps on this site do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. See Terms of Use.

* The star icons represent field updates from May 1st to August 31st.

* The pin icons represent DDR activities between July 2021 and June 2022.



The Symposium is an important platform to exchange ideas, information, networking and deal with pertinent issues most of us grapple with.

Making sure we work in tandem with the UN to align our efforts is important.

Lina Imran

DDR officer, African Union

Starting from the needs of the people, the ARN provides a wide offer of goods and services who enable ex-combatants to reassume their position as civilian and citizen.

The institutional evolution of the DDR process in Colombia helped recognize and learn that we need a compromise from the national government, to adapt to the number of exits from armed groups and to adapt to conflict dynamics.

Andres Stapper

Director, Colombian Agency for Reintegration and Normalization (ARN)

The situation in the Lake Chad is a regional issue so addressing it at a national level without a regional lens does not allow for a comprehensive approach.

The ownership of the process will always have to remain with the people, with the region.

Chika Charles Aniekwe

Head of secretariat for the Lake Chad Basin regional strategy for stabilization, recovery and resilience , Lake Chad Basin Commission

DDR and transitional justice should be appropriately coordinated with each other to maximize their potential.

DDR contributes to the prevention of renewed violence and human rights abuse.

Sebastiaan Verelst

Human Rights Officer and Transitional Justice Adviser, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Weapons and ammunitions management

Weapons and Ammunition Management in Haiti

Violence perpetrated by armed criminal groups in Haiti stifles economic growth and development, and threatens not only the lives of Haitian citizens, but also their most fundamental human rights. Many weapons and ammunition used by these groups are procured through illicit channels, including international and regional trafficking routes, and diversion from national stockpiles. In 2019, a multi-partner UN assessment mission was deployed to Haiti under the auspices of a joint Department of Peace Operations (DPO)-Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) project on weapons and ammunition management (WAM) in DDR settings. This mission catalyzed various initiatives to advance WAM-related legislative and policy frameworks in Haiti led by UN partners in close cooperation with national authorities. In May and July 2022 two respective follow-up missions were deployed to Haiti under the leadership of the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), with the support of the joint DPO-ODA project.  These missions focused on the provision of legislative support to the finalization of national firearms legislation, and on the development of a national action plan and associated baseline assessment tool to support national authorities in meeting their commitments under the Roadmap for Implementing the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap. The missions also allowed for brainstorming on the role of WAM in community violence reduction (CVR) and potential partnerships that may further strengthen Haiti’s capacity to stem the illicit flow of weapons and ammunition.

Building on momentum generated by collaborative approach, the annual DDR Symposium sought to shine a spotlight on the role that WAM has played in Haiti, unpacking its potential to stem violence and build momentum with national partners, including in contexts in which no formal DDR process is underway. The event featured interventions from Mr. Thomas Kontogeorgos, Chief, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section, DPO; Ms. Bernice Veronica Angela Robertson, Political Affairs Officer, DPPA; Mr. Milos Krsmanovic, Chief DDR/CVR Unit, BINUH; and Ms. Katja Boettcher, Officer-in-Charge, UNLIREC. The worrying proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as its humanitarian impact on the country, was discussed, as were the various responses underway including efforts under the auspices of the joint DPO-ODA project and UNLIREC to support Haiti’s implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap. WAM’s potential to support CVR was a focus of the symposium, with participants citing both opportunities and challenges in relation to the prospect of integrating WAM activities, such as community-level weapons collections, into CVR programmes in Haiti. Nonetheless, various opportunities for collaboration on “upstream WAM” were identified, primarily through a prospective scale up of efforts to both understand and stem the illicit flows of weapons and ammunition into the country. Amid the political tensions in Haiti, WAM was identified as a middle ground in which actors may be able to build trust and create openings for further engagement. Ultimately, the event served not only to sensitize lessons learned from WAM cooperation with Haitian national authorities among DDR chiefs and practitioners, but also created space for brainstorming on the ways in which WAM could be further leveraged across DDR and CVR activities taking place in both mission and non-mission settings.

Ms. Katja Boettcher, Officer-in-Charge, UNLIREC, presenting at the DDR Symposium 
Mr. Milos Krsmanovic, Chief DDR/CVR Unit, BINUH at the DRR Symposium 

Standard Operating Procedure on WAM in DDR processes

Effective weapons and ammunition management (WAM) is paramount to safety and security in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes, which is why, in early 2022, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on WAM in DDR processes was developed to provide practitioners with a blueprint to implement efficient, safe, and secure disarmament operations in DDR settings. With many DDR activities ongoing in francophone countries and missions, the SOP was translated into French to enhance accessibility with the support of DPO’s Division of Policy Evaluation and Training (DPET).

In order to raise awareness and knowledge related to the SOP, a webinar was held in partnership with Policy, Evaluation and Training Division (DPET) on 19 April 2022. Through presentations from the Ammunition Management Advisory Team (AMAT) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the webinar underlined the role this SOP will play in guiding the development of mission-specific operating procedures tailored to the challenges faced in the field. A particular focus was placed on enhancing safety of peacekeepers and local communities through adequate storage of weapons and ammunitions, and on promoting security by lessening diversions risks. The webinar also focused on the integration of transitional weapons and ammunition management (TWAM) into DDR processes, drawing from examples of the leveraging of TWAM in Mali in 2013 to support the establishment of a ceasefire, which eventually paved the way to presidential elections and the return of public services in the North of the country.

IDDRS Updates

The Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) are a comprehensive and detailed set of policies, guidelines and procedures for undertaking DDR. Thanks to the joint work of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) members, they are built on lessons and best practices drawn from the experience of all UN entities involved in supporting DDR and are the subject of broad consultation before becoming accepted as guidance. In order for the IDDRS to remain relevant, they need to be constantly updated and that is why the IAWG launched a revision of the IDDRS to take into consideration the changing nature of conflict. 

The work on the Integrated Disarmament Standards (IDDRS) is progressing steadily and should be completed by the end of the year. The modules in level three, focusing on practical guidance for the planning, design, and assessment of DDR programmes, have all been validated in the past years. The remaining modules to be revised are part of level four on reintegration, level five on cross-cutting issues such as gender, health and disability, and level six on linkages with other processes such as Security Sector Reform and Transitional Justice. So far 26 modules out of the total 34 have been validated which brings us to 84% completion of the project. In addition, the newly validated modules are currently being summarized so that we can include them in a revised Operational Guide and make the policy more accessible to all practitioners.  

IDDRS Modules Status




level 1

General IDDRS


Introduction to the IDDRS


Glossary: Terms and Definitions

level 2

Concepts, Policy and Strategy of the IDDRS


The UN Approach to DDR


The Legal Framework for UN DDR


The Politics of DDR


Community Violence Reduction


Reintegration as Part of Sustaining Peace

level 3

Structures and Processes


Integrated DDR Planning: Processes and Structures


Integrated Assessments


DDR Programme Design


Participants, Beneficiaries, and Partners


National Institutions for DDR


Mission and Programme Support for DDR


Finance and Budgeting


Personnel and Staffing


Monitoring and Evaluation

level 4

Operations, Programmes and Support




Transitional Weapons and Ammunition Management






UN Military Roles and Responsibilities


UN Police Roles and Responsibilities


Public Information and Strategic Communication in Support of DDR

level 5

Cross-cutting Issues


Women, Gender and DDR


Children and DDR


Youth and DDR


Cross-border Population Movements


Food Assistance in DDR




Health and DDR


Disabilities and DDR

level 6





DDR and Transitional Justice


DDR and Natural Resources


DDR and Organized Crime


DDR and Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organisations



Handbook for United Nations DDR Practitioners

Effective Weapons and Ammunition Management in a Changing Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) context – Arabic translation





The United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, with generous support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, IrishAid and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – along with the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO), UNICEF, the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – have partnered to enhance our understanding of conflict transitions: how and why individuals exit armed conflict and which interventions are effective at encouraging transitions away from the battlefield.

The MEAC initiative has conducted multi-year studies and recently released several reports and policy memos to inform on the results of this study. They include looking at the impact of climate change on recruitment, consequences of the pandemic and other challenges that have risen in managing voluntary exits in the past decade.

Technical Assistance Handbook on Appropriate Use of Non-custodial Measures for Terrorism-related Offences


The “Technical Assistance Handbook on Appropriate Use of Non-custodial Measures for Terrorism-related Offences” was developed by UNODC and published in September 2021 in Arabic and English. The Handbook aims to respond to a pressing need identified by criminal justice officials and other national stakeholders for more practical and operational guidance in implementing non-custodial measures, including for terrorism-related offences. It serves as reference material and a technical training tool for the delivery of technical assistance, relevant recommendations and principles already identified.

English version:

Arabic version:


Training Opportunities

Regular training opportunities are vital to ensure that staff are equipped with the skills and knowledge to address ever-changing challenges effectively. Upcoming opportunities include:
Pilot course on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration within the EU Integrated Approach, in Brussels, Belgium 
OrganizerFolke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) and the European Security and Defence College
Format: In person, Brussels (Belgium)
Date: 11-13 October 2022
LinkPilot Course on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration within the EU Integrated Approach
Course on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
OrganizerFolke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) and Barcelona International Peace Centre (BIPC)
Format: In person, Barcelona (Spain)
Date7-18 November 2022
LinkCourse on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
Effective WAM in a changing DDR context Training Course
Organizer: Department Of Peace Operations (DPO), Office of Disarmament Affairs (ODA), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Format: In person, Accra (Ghana)
Date: 5-9 December 2022