The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan

A Survey of Programs on the Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers

4. Challenges

1. Given the immediacy and magnitude of the issues relating to the reintegration of former child soldiers and the fact that up-to-date sources are few and far between presents a significant challenge.

2. Lack of access to many areas of the countries affected by armed conflict prevent reunification of many former child soldiers in the interim care programs whose families could not be traced. More emphasis was placed on development of alternative care structures to provide long-term care and the expansion of mass tracing programs internally and with bordering countries.

3. High turnover of internationals staff within NGOs partners as well as strategy of excluding of usage of traditional methods of child protection result in delays in the reintegration process. This strategy should be reviewed and new partners involved in education and community development were identified to facilitate the reintegration of separated children into their mainstream programs.

4. The weak economy, continued insecurity and frequent displacements in the former conflict zones has eroded the capacity of many families to take care of their children or to accept foster children.

5. Lack of commitment by the rebel commanders to release children as stipulated in previous agreements.

6. Lack of commitment by the rebel forces to disarm, and the resulting insecurity, would mean that the rebel held areas are still inaccessible to child protection agencies.

7. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants in countries emerging from conflict encompass five distinct features: political, military, security, humanitarian and socio-economic development. It is difficult to integrated DDR of former child soldiers closely into the whole without the consideration of these five dimensions.

8. The challenge too is that it is essential to explore how other partners beyond the parameters of the UN system, including regional organizations, NGOs and the private sector, can make further contributions to the DDR programs dedicated to former child soldiers.

The tables 15-17 below represent various competencies of UN and NGOs in the sphere of the DDR programs.

Table 15. DDR Related competencies, non-field skills and field experience of UN agencies and implementing partners/NGOs.

Entity Core DDR Competencies Funding capacity Non-field skills Field experience
Advocacy for small arms collection and removal; advice on design of weapons collection programs Trust fund for Practical Disarmament Measures; contributions by bilateral donors Regional Centers for Pease; Conventional Arms Branch Albania (Weapon for Development); Central America (workshops); "Practical Disarmament Measures"
Focal point for post-conflict Peace-building in UN system; provides political leadership in pre-negotiations of peace accords; ensuring that DDR implementation meets political objectives Has special fund for political missions under UN regular budget Core functions Involved in preparations for all the Security Council Peace-building, peacekeeping and military observer operations; recently provided DDR related advice in Sierra Leone; supports UN Peace-building offices in the field
Lead Department for peacekeeping operations' SRSG reports to DPKO Budget for peace keeping operations; while occasionally provide seed money for demobilization and reintegration, this component is usually funded from voluntary sources (and implemented with humanitarian and development partners) Core function Responsible for planning, preparation, conduct, and direction of UN operations.
Coordination of financing and implementation for humanitarian elements, including reintegration, within framework of a DDR operation (through Humanitarian Coordinator mechanism) Voluntary contributions through CAP process; assessed contributions for coordination of humanitarian components of the Security Council peace operation. Core functions (Pre-REFORM)
Mozambique/UNOCHAC; Angola/UCAH; Liberia/HACO
Advocacy for child protection in armed conflict; policy and technical guidance in design of DDR plans Mobilizes resources through advocacy. None SRSG visits conflict zones, meets with leaders to obtain child protection commitment; advocates inclusion of child protection measures in peace accords, and child protection staff (e.g., Sierra Leone) in peacekeeping and all kinds of peace operations.

Table 16. DDR Related competencies, non-field skills and field experience of UN agencies and implementing partners

Entity Core DDR Competencies Funding capacity Non-field skills Field experience
UNICEF Advocacy for child protection in armed conflict; promotion of immediate demobilization of child soldiers; design and implementation of reintegration programs for children leaving armed forces; family reunification; prevention of child soldier recruitment. Voluntary contributions, including resources through CAP. Office of Emergency Programmes Lead role in DDR of child soldiers; Angola, DR Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda
UNDP Formulation and implementation of demobilization initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable environment in communities of return and facilitating the socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants and their families. Facilitate measures to address small arms questions, including the reduction of the presence of small arms in communities of returnees. Voluntary contributions, UNDP Resources; UNDP Small Arms Trust Fund Emergency Response Division (ERD) Mozambique DDR severance pay scheme; Mali light arms collection; Angola support to national reintegration activities in support of DDR; Somalia Civil Protection Programme (DDR and small arms component); Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Reintegration of Ex-combatants and arms collection.
UNHCR Reintegration of former child soldiers; prevention of their recruitment; reintegration programs for entire communities, including ex-combatants advocacy for "human dignity" of returnees. Solely Voluntary contributions. Reintegration and local Settlement Section Reintegration programs for major refugee and IDP crises worldwide have often benefited former soldiers.
World Bank Lead agency support, technical and financial assistance to government's DDR programs; focus on the demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration phases. Bank's own resources; CG/roundtable co-financing with donors Post-Conflict Unit. Lead agency for DDR in Uganda, Cambodia, Djibuti, Chad, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, DRC and Bosnia-Herzegovina; technical and/or financial support for Rwanda, Mozambique, Guatemala and South Africa.
WHO Public health advice in the design of the programme, cantonment areas, epidemiological surveillance, health care delivery, including reproductive health and psycho-social care for soldiers and dependants. Facilitating re-absorption of military medics in civilian health services Voluntary funding including CAP process. Division of Emergency and Humanitarian Action Angola, Cambodia, Central America, Bosnia-Herzegovinia Kosovo and Mozambique

Table 17. DDR Related competencies, non-field skills and field experience of UN agencies and implementing partners/NGOs.

Entity Core DDR Competencies Funding capacity Non-field skills Field experience
FAO Resettlement and Reintegration of ex-combatants, and integration of ex-combatants in target groups for agricultural assistance projects, including training. Funding through UNDP or voluntary trust funds, including through CAP. Special Relief Operations Service. Philippines (specific projects for ex-combatants); Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tajikistan (broader beneficiary target group); Angola; Guinea-Bissau
WFP Support to cantonment, demobilization and reintegration, Food aid for disarmed military personnel, their dependents, vulnerable groups and other affected civilian populations in the context of comprehensive DDR programs; transport, communication and logistic support; support to return, social reinsertion and reintegration into civil society. Funding as implementing agency in CAP framework, WFP own resources. Focus Program on Crisis and Reconstruction. Mozambique, DRC (with World Bank funding), Sierra Leone (Employment for Peace Program), Cambodia, East Timor, Central America.
ILO Support for employment and socio-economic integration of ex-combatants. Funding as implementing agency or through voluntary trust funds. Emergency and Post-Conflict Unit. Angola, Cambodia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Haiti, Philippines, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Mali and Mozambique.
IOM Resettlement and reintegration of former combatants, including establishment and management of assembly areas, profiling and data base development, logistic support for transportation, promotion of employment, reintegration grants projects, setting up of information, counseling and referral services. Funding as implementing partner in CAP framework; IOM reintegration Fund. Emergency and Post-Conflict Unit. Angola, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Cambodia, Guatemala, East Timor, Philippines, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Mali and Mozambique.
GTZ Overall scenario planning for DDR; consultancies to national coordination bodies; planning and implementation of encampment, registration, pre-discharge orientation, transport and settling in packages; support to national reintegration authorities.. Funding as implementation partner; FRG bilateral resources. Emergency and Refugee Aid Division Angola, Eritrea, Uganda and Mozambique (GTZ Open Reintegration Fund), Northwest Somalia.
ICRC Humanitarian support to people affected by conflict, including demobilized soldiers and their dependents, e.g., family reunification and "tracing" services; reintegration. Own funding through voluntary government contributions. None; post-conflict issues often addressed by the International Federation of Red Cross Movements. Balkans, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Daghestan and Chechnya.

Given this tremendous challenge regarding the implementation of DDR and programs for former child soldiers, a robust analytical and planning capacity at country level will be needed in order to ensure that the support activities developed by the international community/NGOs reflect the needs and competencies of the national institutions responsible for the DDR process, as well as the realities on the ground. NGOs and UN agencies intending to take a major role in the DDR program should make available qualified staff for this purpose. It is essential that effective partnerships with NGOs and donor Governments beyond the confines of the United Nations system need to be developed and strengthened. Adherence to the principles and directives noted above requires effective coordination and integration of agency mandates, non-field skills and, field experience and other competencies. To strengthen coordination and the assignment of DDR responsibilities may include: 1) the context of no Security Council and 2) Security Council engagement24.

24 Where the Security Council is not engaged, and no peace-building or peacekeeping operation is deployed, but the United Nations system is providing support to a DDR process.

Back to Index