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Mandates and the legal basis for peacekeeping

Mano River Basin, 25 years of peacekeeping

Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping

Quick Impact Projects for communities

Building Rule of Law & Security Institutions

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

Advancing Political Solutions to Conflict

Promoting women, peace and security

20 Years of Women, Peace and Security

Promoting youth, peace and security

Statements by the Secretary-General

Statements by Under-Secretary-General of Peace Operations

Statements by Under-Secretary-General of Operational Support

Troop and police contributors open data

Building Rule of Law & Security Institutions

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

United Nations peace operations are the leading international partner of national institutions implementing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration initiatives, designing context-specific programmes for members of armed groups.

Through a process of removing weapons from the hands of members of armed groups, taking these combatants out of their groups and helping them to reintegrate as civilians into society, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration seeks to support ex-combatants and those associated with armed groups, so that they can become active participants in the peace process. As an alternative path, allowing some ex-combatants to integrate formal uniformed services of the State allows their status to be regularized and ensures a close link between DDR and security Sector Reform.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration lays the groundwork for safeguarding and sustaining the communities to which these individuals return, while building capacity for long-term peace, security and development.

In situations where it is too early or not possible to carry out disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes,  the UN supports Community Violence Reduction programmes that lead to the right conditions for political processes to progress and armed groups to disband. Those can also run in parallel to DDR programmes complementing them and addressing the needs of communities in parallel to those of combatants.

As of 2019-2020, the team of OROLSIs Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section has been supporting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes in UN Peacekeeping Operations in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), Mali (MINUSMA), and South Sudan (UNMISS).

The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section also supports Special Political Missions inBurundi(OSASG-B),ColombiaEthiopia(UNOAU), theGreat Lakes(OSESG-GL),Haiti(BINUH),Iraq(UNAMI),Libya(UNSMIL),Somalia(UNSOM), andYemen(OSESGY), as well as non-mission settings such as Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Lake Chad Basin, Mozambique, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

The UN is engaging more and more often with armed groups in complex mission environments. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and community violence reduction officers have become the first UN staff deployed on the ground with the mandate and expertise to engage directly with combatants. They are therefore called upon to provide advice on how to engage with armed groups and ultimately contribute to the signing of an agreement.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration support to mediation processes comprises three types of activities that can be undertaken before, during and after the mediation process:

Mediation support: deployment of experts, drafting provision of agreements, and negotiation advice;

Analysis: mapping of armed groups and identification of entry points for programmatic engagement;

Capacity building: strengthening the parties ability to work constructively towards an agreement.

The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section has deployed mediation support to Darfur, Central African Republic, Colombia, Mali and Yemen.

In the last decade, we have seen a shift to UN interventions taking place earlier in the peace process, with operations deployed during intense conflict. Armed groups, which are unlikely to have signed a peace agreement, are often involved in shadow economies and transnational criminal networks. In some cases, armed groups may even be indistinguishable from communities.

In response, the UN has adapted from traditional, sequenced and individual-focused disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to a more community-focused approach, known as Second Generation DDR. At the forefront of this is what we call Community Violence Reduction.

Now mandated in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Mali, the UN has implemented community violence reduction programmes encompassing a range of initiatives from labour-intensive projects, business incubation and community dialogue forums, to direct engagement with members of armed groups, as well as youth-at-risk, to prevent further recruitment. Community violence reduction also plays a key role in reducing tensions at the grassroots level to increase opportunities for social cohesion and conflict resolution.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN has successfully reprioritized its community violence reduction programmes towards sensitization, prevention and the local production of sanitary kits to support national authorities in mitigating the spread of the virus.

As the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, noted during the 10th anniversary of community violence reduction (CVR) on 16 November 2016: CVR has proven useful in many different contexts, precisely because it is agile and people-centeredIt is a watershed example of peacekeeping learning to adapt and innovate.

The 2017 report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations recognizes the role that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes play in managing the disengagement of combatants from violent extremist groups.

The UN in Somalia (UNSOM) is supporting the Government of Somalia to implement the National Programme to assist disengaged Al-Shabaab combatants in reintegrating back into society. This offers a rare window of opportunity to further deplete Al-Shabaabs ranks by offering security and alternative livelihoods. Religious mentoring and ideological rehabilitation represent a crucial component of this process. Four transitional sites receiving (ex-)combatants are currently operational across the country.

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Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION (DDR) AND TRANSITION PLANNING PROCESSES – Lessons Learned from Recent Transition Processes

Gender-responsive DDR: promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda

Operational Funding Overview 2017-18/2018-19

Cradled by Conflict: Child Involvement with armed Groups in Contemporary Conflict

The Changing Landscape of Armed Groups: Doing DDR in New Contexts

Effective Weapons and Ammunition Management in a Changing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Context Handbook for United Nations DDR practitioners

UN DDR in an Era of Violent Extremism: Is It Fit for Purpose?

DDR and Community Violence Reduction (CVR) – Creating Space for peace

The DDR Bulletin, Issue Number 2/2021

United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Resource Centre

Working in Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

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