1. Introduction

The G8 Miyazaki initiative on "Small arms and light weapons" (SALW), emphasised the central importance of "Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration" (DDR) in post-conflict situations. The initiative on "Conflict and development" recognised that peace and democratic stability are prerequisites for economic growth and sustainable development.

DDR is an important example of how this may work in practice. Once combatants cease to be involved in conflict and are reintegrated into society, substantial progress can be made towards the creation of a safe and secure environment thereby enabling poor communities to build better lives and work their way out of poverty. DDR thus makes a key contribution to peace building and sustainable development.

But reintegration is not only the end-result of disarmament and demobilisation. It is also the key to ensuring that disarmament and demobilisation take place in the first place and are maintained in the long term. As the Brahimi Report noted, demobilised fighters "tend to return to a life of violence if they find no legitimate livelihood, that is, if they are not "reintegrated" into the local economy". For this to happen successfully, both ex-combatants and the local community must feel secure, and there must be opportunities for employment that can be sustained in the long term. New work on DDR is beginning to recognise that DDR not only paves the way for development, but also relies on long-term development for its own success.

2. Conditions for successful DDR

Past experience suggests some essential pre-conditions for successful DDR: a peace agreement with genuine commitment from all parties to the conflict; proper co-ordination and clear unambiguous leadership within the group of actors involved in DDR; and the personnel, material and financial resources to make it work. DDR could take place in the context of a peacekeeping operation mandated by the UN Security Council. In this regard, the Brahimi Report recommended improved co-ordination between the relevant UN agencies and a greater role for DPKO in DDR. But there may also be occasions where regional organisations and NGOs can play a valuable role in DDR as part of post-conflict peace-building.

3. DDR

The availability of weapons and the resulting insecurity can have an adverse effect (both humanitarian and socio-economic) on the stability and development of a country. A key part of any DDR process is disarmament; weapons clearly need to be under the strictest of control and where appropriate, destroyed. Previous disarmament initiatives have had varied, often limited success. As part of its Miyazaki initiative on Small Arms and Light Weapons the G8 recognised that the availability of weapons, especially small arms and light weapons is an important factor in exacerbating conflict and that disarmament is therefore a priority. Unless another form of disposition has been officially authorised and such weapons have been marked, effective provisions for the collection, control, storage and destruction of SALW should be included in peace agreements.

But it is also particularly important to ensure that peace settlements include sufficient, preferably non-cash incentives to give parties the confidence to disarm in the first place. Ideally reintegration should offer incentives to soldiers to return to civilian life, including access to health and education programmes. There is a particular need to recognise the special requirements of women and child-combatants. But many who enter post-conflict DDR processes will want to rejoin the security forces, either police or military. Therefore a broader security sector reform is often critical in enabling the development of disciplined security forces accountable to civilian authority. Provisions should also be made for the rehabilitation of victims, many of whom are women and children. Broadly speaking, reintegration incentives should focus on the establishment of a visibly successful, long-term reintegration programme, which goes beyond military intervention and emergency humanitarian assistance into long term development assistance.

4. Conclusions

Recognising that it is important to see DDR in the wider context of peace building and development, the G8 endorses the importance of DDR as a key step in the process of moving from conflict to sustainable development.

More specifically:

  • The G8 strongly supports the Programme of Action adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects held in July 2001 in New York. The G8 supports efforts to ensure strong commitments and concrete initiatives framed in a comprehensive approach when implementing the commitments entered into under the Programme of Action.
  • The G8 recognises the need to support initiatives that are designed to improve the organisational and operational aspects of DDR programmes and to ensure that such initiatives contribute to sustainable peace, security and development.
  • The G8 recognises the pre-conditions for successful DDR and support the need for better co-ordination. A comprehensive plan of action should be drawn up covering the political framework, military operations, economic re-building, public and media services, and funding, as part of the process of improving co-ordination.
  • The G8 acknowledges that peacekeeping missions, where appropriate, should include a post-conflict small arms and light weapons disarmament and destruction component.
  • The G8 recognises the important role which the UN can play in promoting DDR programmes given its experience and activity in the fields of peacekeeping and post-conflict rehabilitation.
  • The G8 recognises the role to be played by regional organisations in supporting DDR, as part of post-conflict peace-building, based on examples which include ECOMOG in Liberia and the potential for such support by OSCE in Nagornyy Karabakh.
  • The G8 accepts that peace-building activities such as DDR require skilled personnel to work on the ground for long periods of time and supports capacity building within both international institutions and non-governmental organisations in order to achieve this.
  • The G8 recognises that lessons have been learnt from past-peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions and undertakes to support the important research and training efforts developed by DPKO and relevant peacekeeping missions including UNTAET. Best practices in approaching the reintegration of ex-combatants include:
    • Taking account of the broad spectrum of political, economic, social, media, public service, civil society, military and other issues;
    • Assessing, as soon as possible, the needs of former combatants and of the conflict-torn society itself;
    • Providing realistic incentives which would also benefit the citizens affected by, but not engaged in, the conflict;
    • Providing better donor co-ordination on activities to support reintegration programmes, including appropriate disbursement of funds.
  • The G8 undertakes to support DDR programmes, through, inter alia, calling upon international institutions involved in DDR to ensure that a coherent and comprehensive plan for any DDR exercise is mandated and developed drawing on the above lessons.
  • The G8 undertakes to offer national expertise as required to strengthen the planning and implementation of activities as part of a coherent and comprehensive DDR plan.

Back to Index