The Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) – in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) of Sweden –conducted a foundational training course on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) during the period of 7-10 December 2020.
The training brought together 21 participants – including representatives of national DDR commissions, government ministries, UN peace missions (in Darfur, CAR, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Mali), and regional organizations, as well as United Nations agencies (IOM, UNDP and CTED) - from 12 African countries, namely Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi, Uganda, Tunisia, Ghana and the Senegal.
“DDR is an integral tool, relied upon by the United Nations and African Union, which contributes to the entire peace continuum, from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping, to peacebuilding and development” noted CCCPA’s Director General Ahmed Abdel-Latif, adding that the training course aimed to “operationalize the African Union (AU) normative framework in this area, including the recently developed AU Operational Guidance Notes (OGN) on DDR.”
The AU OGNs are a set of 7 policy-oriented field manuals targeting different aspects of DDR in Africa in mission and non-mission settings, including Children, Women, National Frameworks, Reintegration, Detention, Foreign Fighters and Countering Violent Extremism. The overarching aim of the OGN is to promote African ownership in DDR programs in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and Silencing the Guns Strategy.
The training was also designed to strengthen the UN-AU partnership in DDR, by ensuring the synchronization of international and African DDR standards, as well as to advance operational coherence. Coinciding with the ongoing review of the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS), the training provided a unique opportunity to reflect the development of new and updated guidance. As a member of the Integrated DDR Training Group (IDDRTG), CCCPA played a significant role in the review of the IDDRS and the development and review of key AU OGNs.
The final component of the training featured a high-level panel titled: “DDR in Asymmetrical Conflict Environments: Operational Challenges and Opportunities”. The panel brought together a number of officials and experts including: Thomas Kontogeorgos, Chief of DDR Section at the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) in the Department of Peace Operations (DPO); Glaucia Boyer, Global Focal Point on Reintegration at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Peter Otim, Acting Head of the Defense and Security Division at the African Union (AU); Nathalie Gendre, DDR Program Coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and Randolph Rhea, Specialist on DDR at the Folke-Bernadotte Academy (FBA). The panel discussion was moderated by CCCPA’s Director General, and May Salem, Programme Manager for DDR and Preventing Radicalization Leading to Extremism at CCCPA.
The panelists discussed a number of policy and operational issues, including: the importance of creating a balance between attaining justice (for terrorism-related crimes) and laying the foundations for sustainable peace; the imperative of engaging with key national stakeholders to develop a comprehensive legal framework and design feasible, well-resourced programmatic interventions; and finally, the importance of utilizing existing African mechanisms and tools as well as harmonizing African and United Nations frameworks on DDR.
The training is an activity of the project on “Consolidating Peace, Security and Stability in Africa – 2019–2020”, which is funded through the generous support of the Government of Japan, through the UNDP.