IDDRS Framework




DDR and Security Sector Reform


DDR and security sector reform (SSR) are inherently political processes that, in a post-conflict environment, are typically closely linked. However, there are important differences in the focus, scope and timeline of DDR and SSR processes. While DDR focuses on finding solutions for armed groups and their members in conflict-affected and post-conflict contexts that have seen high levels of military mobilization, SSR processes aim to develop and rebuild a wide range of institutions, processes and mechanisms that would re-establish the functioning of an effective and accountable security sector under the control and oversight of a civilian government and institutions.

There are many points of natural intersection between DDR and SSR. DDR processes are typically linked to SSR through the integration of former combatants into the security sector in the context of a peace agreement. Equally, DDR-related tools, including community violence reduction (CVR) and transitional weapons and ammunition management (WAM), can provide bottom-up, people-centred complements to top-down SSR processes. Finally, reintegration support can also be provided to former combatants who wish to enter the security sector but are found to be ineligible or for integration into security institutions. The most prominent linkage between DDR and SSR in post-conflict contexts is to be found in integration processes. It is generally accepted that the failure or relative success of any integration process will have a significant impact on the durability of peace accords and the probability of relapse into conflict.

When considering the linkage between DDR and SSR, DDR practitioners shall always seek to understand national and local aspirations, as expressed through political dialogue, rather than attempt to impose externally defined and developed processes on national actors. DDR practitioners shall seek to integrate SSR issues into DDR assessments and, as DDR and SSR often operate on different timescales, shall ensure that DDR processes are undertaken in ways that do not hinder or block subsequent or future security sector reform. One example is the support to the establishment of transitional security arrangements that primarily involve former combatants and that are intended to pave the way for long-term security institutions and governance arrangements. Experience has shown that support to the establishment of temporary and transitional security arrangements, in particular, has to be carefully balanced against the need to use limited political and financial resources to reach sustainable political and security solutions.

Equally, practitioners need to ensure that demands of armed groups that are deemed to reflect root causes of the conflict, such as political and economic exclusion, abuse and discrimination stemming from the security sector, are accounted for when designing the SSR process. The failure of any integration process can significantly impact post-conflict environments by threatening peace and security, and the durability of peace accords.

Importantly, when discussing opportunities involved in DDR with former or current members of armed forces and groups, including women, men, and youth, DDR practitioners shall not imply any individual entitlement to integration into the security sector, especially not merely because of the individual’s status as a former member of an armed force or group. Instead, DDR practitioners should be aware of the existing legal and policy framework, and ensure that they understand the status of the SSR process and how it may or may not relate to demands, grievances and/or questions raised by armed groups. Integration processes are typically based on political agreements. Yet DDR-related tools are sometimes undertaken in the absence of such agreements – making it challenging to develop the right linkages to the SSR process. Even where political agreements exist, provisions on integration and related rights/entitlements of former combatants are often vague and may require additional and ongoing negotiations, if they are to be translated into policies and plans for SSR processes.

Where possible, the peace agreement should outline specific provisions on the integration of both males and females into representative and inclusive security sector institutions. Action should be taken to ensure the full, equal, meaningful and effective participation of women in both DDR and SSR processes and in all decision-making settings, and, when a DDR programme is linked to integration into the security sector, women shall be given the same opportunity to integrate as men.


DDR and Transitional Justice


DDR and transitional justice are closely interlinked. Not only do they share some of the same long-term goals – in particular, preventing further violence and promoting sustainable peace – they may also be understood to be part of each other. From a DDR perspective, transitional justice is one aspect of a holistic approach to reintegrating former combatants into civilian life.1 From a transitional justice perspective, DDR constitutes a component of an effective strategy to prevent a recurrence of further violations and abuses.2 How DDR and transitional justice measures interact in practice can vary widely depending on the country context and the manner in which the conflict was fought, the agreement reached between the former warring parties (if one exists), the level of involvement by the international community and other factors.

This module explores the relationship between DDR and transitional justice and provides concrete guidance on how interventions in the two fields can mutually reinforce each other (see especially section 6). In particular, the module explores ways in which transitional justice can help DDR to achieve its objectives more effectively.

Whatever the contextual conditions, DDR practitioners should integrate a transitional justice perspective into DDR processes – be they DDR programmes, DDR-related tools or reintegration support programmes – in order to contribute to the goals of both DDR and transitional justice. The design and implementation of distinct DDR and traditional justice measures should be closely coordinated so that they complement each other to the greatest extent possible. DDR practitioners should seek to coordinate the timing of DDR and transitional justice processes and promote comprehensive prevention strategies.

DDR and transitional justice practitioners should consult with each other to promote transitional justice mechanisms and measures that incentivize participation in DDR processes. During the implementation of DDR processes, both types of practitioners should regularly interact to promote complementarity and address potential tensions between the two fields.

Affected communities, including local authorities and civil society organizations, particularly those representing victims, marginalized groups and women-led organizations, should participate in and be consulted throughout to tailor DDR and transitional justice processes to their needs. Gender-responsive transitional justice processes can help overcome the barriers women face to participate in DDR and can facilitate the reintegration of women associated with armed forces and groups. Gender-responsive DDR and transitional justice processes also contribute to the transformation of gender inequality, which often is a driver of recruitment into or involvement in armed groups and a root cause of violent conflict.

Child-sensitive transitional justice approaches can help overcome barriers to the reintegration of children associated with armed forces and groups. Children accused of crimes allegedly committed while they were associated with armed forces or groups should be considered primarily as victims, not as perpetrators. Wherever possible, they should be treated in a framework of restorative justice and social rehabilitation, and alternatives to judicial proceedings should be sought.

DDR processes shall not be gateways for impunity for international crimes or create a rewards system for the worst perpetrators, nor should they be, for serious human rights violations and abuses. In contexts where DDR processes are being implemented, there must always be a strong focus on ensuring accountability for serious crimes and justice for victims. UN DDR practitioners should seek to ensure that DDR processes are aligned with the UN’s overall anti-impunity advocacy and support programmes and promote compliance with the State’s international legal obligations to hold perpetrators of international crimes accountable and provide victims of serious human rights violations and abuses with an effective remedy. UN DDR practitioners should assist in the development of strategies to address the possibility that there may be perpetrators of international crimes and serious human rights violations and abuses among those who are otherwise eligible to participate in the DDR process. Together with legal advisers, they shall advise the host State on applicable legal and policy restrictions regarding the eligibility of suspected perpetrators of international crimes in DDR processes and means to ensure full compliance with such restrictions. UN DDR practitioners should seek legal and political advice to determine an appropriate stance, including possible disengagement, when there is a risk of supporting a process that is in violation of the State’s legal obligations or that carries significant reputational risk to the Organization.

DDR programmes can relate in numerous ways to truth seeking, criminal prosecutions and other accountability efforts, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Community violence reduction (CVR) provides various opportunities to complement transitional justice processes, thereby reinforcing its own goals of community security and social cohesion. Linking support to the reintegration of former combatants with transitional justice can help reduce resentment by others affected by the conflict, particularly victims who are inadequately supported. The module provides numerous examples of how DDR programmes, CVR, reintegration support and transitional justice processes can mutually reinforce each other.

DDR and transitional justice can not only complement and bolster each other but can also impede and negatively affect each other. This module emphasizes the importance of close consultation and ongoing coordination between DDR and transitional justice practitioners to minimize the risks of negative interactions and maximize the opportunities for mutual reinforcement.


DDR and Natural Resource Management


The relationship between natural resources and armed conflict is well known and doc-umented, evidenced by numerous examples from all over the world.1 Natural resources may be implicated all along the peace continuum, from contributing to grievances, to financing armed groups, to supporting livelihoods and recovery through their sound management. Furthermore, the economies of countries suffering from armed conflict are often marked by unsustainable or illicit trade in natural resources, thereby tying conflict areas to the rest of the world through global supply chains. For DDR processes to be effective, practitioners should consider both the risks and opportunities that nat-ural resource management may pose to their efforts.

As part of the war economy, natural resources may be exploited and traded di-rectly by or through local communities under the auspices of armed groups, organ-ized criminal groups or members of the security sector, and eventually be placed on national and international markets through trade with multinational companies. This pattern not only shores up the actors directly implicated in the conflict, but it also un-dermines the good governance of natural resources needed to support development and sustainable peace. Once conflict is underway, natural resources may be exploited to finance the acquisition of weapons and ammunition and to reinforce the war econ-omy, linking armed groups and even the security sector to international markets and organized criminal groups.

These dynamics are challenging to address through DDR processes, but should be contended with if sustainable peace is to be achieved. When DDR processes promote good governance practices, transparent policies and community engagement around natural resource management, they can simultaneously address conflict drivers and the impacts of armed conflict on the environment and host communities. Issues of land rights, equal access to natural resources for livelihoods, equitable distribution of their benefits, and sociocultural disparities may all underpin the drivers of conflict that motivate individuals and groups to take up arms. It is critical that DDR practitioners take these linkages into account to avoid exacerbating existing grievances or creating new conflicts, and to effectively use natural resource management to contribute to sus-tainable peace.

This module aims to contribute to DDR processes that are grounded in a clear un-derstanding of how natural resource management can contribute to sustainable peace and reduce the likelihood of a resurgence of conflict. It considers how DDR practition-ers can integrate youth, women, persons with disabilities and other key specific needs groups when addressing natural resource management in reintegration. It also includes guidance on relevant issues related to natural resource management, including public health, disaster-risk reduction, resilience and climate change. With enhanced intera-gency cooperation, coordination and dialogue among relevant stakeholders working in DDR, natural resource management and governance sectors – especially national actors – these linkages can be addressed in a more conscious and deliberate manner for sustainable peace.

Lastly, this module recognizes that the degree to which natural resources are in-corporated into DDR processes will vary based on the political economy of a given context, resource availability, partners and capacity. While some contexts may have different agencies or stakeholders with expertise in natural resource management to inform context analyses, assessment processes, and subsequent programme design and implementation, DDR processes may also need to rely primarily on external ex-perts and partners. However, limited natural resource management capacities within a DDR process should not discourage practitioners from capitalizing on the opportu-nities or guidance available, or from seeking collaboration and possible programme synergies with other partners that can offer natural resource management expertise. For example, in settings where the UN has no mission presence, such capacity and expertise may be found within the UN country team, civil society and/or academia.


DDR and Organized Crime


Organized crime and conflict converge in several ways, notably in terms of the actors and motives involved, modes of operating and economic opportunities. Conflict settings – marked by weakened social, economic and security institutions; the delegitimization or absence of State authority; shortages of goods and services for local populations; and emerging war economies –provide opportunities for criminal actors to fill these voids. They also offer an opening for illicit activities, including human, drugs and weapons trafficking, to flourish. At the same time, the profits from criminal activities provide conflict parties and individual combatants with economic and often social and political incentives to carry on fighting. For DDR processes to succeed, DDR practitioners should consider these factors.

Dealing with the involvement of ex-combatants and persons associated with armed forces and groups in organized crime not only requires the promotion of alternative livelihoods and reconciliation, but also the strengthening of national and local capacities. When DDR processes promote good governance practices, transparent policies and community engagement to find alternatives to illicit economies, they can simultaneously address conflict drivers and the impacts of conflict on organized crime, while supporting sustainable economic and social opportunities. Building stronger State institutions and civil service systems can contribute to better governance and respect for the rule of law. Civil services can be strengthened not only through training, but also by improving the salaries and living conditions of those working in the system. It is through the concerted efforts and goodwill of these systems, among other players, that the sustainability of DDR efforts can be realized.

This module highlights the need for DDR practitioners to translate the recognized linkages between organized crime, conflict and peacebuilding into the design and implementation of DDR processes. It aims to contribute to age- and gender-sensitive DDR processes that are based on a more systematic understanding of organized crime in conflict and post-conflict settings, so as to best support the successful transition from conflict to sustainable peace. Through enhanced cooperation, mapping and dialogue among relevant stakeholders, the linkages between DDR and organized crime interventions can be addressed in a manner that supports DDR in the context of wider recovery, peacebuilding and sustainable development.


Armed Groups Designated As Terrorist Organizations

*Module under development


As part of the comprehensive review of the IDDRS that began in 2017, the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR agreed on the structure of the new IDDRS that included the development of eight new modules: IDDRS 2.11 Legal Framework for UN DDR, IDDRS 2.20 The Political Dimensions of DDR, IDDRS 2.30 Community Violence Reduction, IDDRS 2.40 Reintegration as part of Sustaining Peace, IDDRS 3.11 Integrated Assessments, IDDRS 6.30 DDR and Natural Resources, IDDRS 6.40 DDR and Organized Crime and IDDRS 6.50 DDR and Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organizations. Seven of these modules have since been developed and validated. The development of IDDRS 6.50 DDR and Armed Groups Designated as Terrorist Organizations is ongoing. Following extensive consultations with IAWG-DDR members, the module was validated conditionally in July 2021. Work towards the full validation by all IAWG-DDR members continues. An update of its completion will be reflected here.

level 1

General IDDRS

level 2

Concepts, Policy and Strategy of the IDDRS

level 3

Structures and Processes

level 4

Operations, Programmes and Support

level 5

Cross-cutting Issues

level 6