Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in a Peacekeeping Environment

TitleDisarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in a Peacekeeping Environment
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
VolumePrinciples and Guidelines
Number of Pages112 pp.
PublisherUnited Nations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Lessons Learned Unit

The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants is essential to political stability in post-conflict settings. The United Nation’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations has acquired extensive experience in this field over the last decades. This report outlines some of the main lessons learned from recent disarmament programs undertaken by the United Nations. The broad guiding principles outlined in the report are drawn from the experience of 14 UN missions, as well as reviews of theoretical literature on disarmament programs and interviews with UN officials who have been involved in disarmament, demobilization and reconstruction programs. The report emphasizes the need for disarmament programs to be part of an integrated approach toward post-conflict recovery: DDR programs must be included in the overall post-conflict strategy, as early as possible in its planning. Moreover, the consent of the parties is crucial. The issue of timing is also key: ‘where disarmament terminates, demobilization begins, and where demobilization ends, reintegration commences.’ The report further highlights the role of non-governmental organizations and civil society in effective disarmament, as well as the importance of monitoring and public information capacities. It deals with the more specific needs of child-soldiers, and addresses the question of the funding of DDR operations. While the report addresses the broad questions of DDR programs, it also tackles some of the more technical aspects of DDR: disarmament planning, weapons management, supervision and verification and the integration of DDR programs in the post-conflict economy.

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