CCCPA conducted its flagship Foundational Training Course on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) with a special emphasis on asymmetrical contexts, from 25 August - 9 September 2021.
The virtual training brought together 32 participants from 13 African countries - including government officials from Burkina Faso and Nigeria, representatives from the national DDR commission in South Sudan, the African Union, and regional organizations including the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Multinational Joint Task Force, the Southern African Development Community, the Neem foundation, as well as different UN missions in Africa.
Ambassador Ahmed Abdel-Latif, CCCPA’s Director General, emphasized that DDR is a critical tool to sustain peace, particularly in the context of the ongoing implementation of a number of peace agreements in Africa, acting as a bridge between immediate security and longer-term recovery priorities. He added that the Center's DDR courses aim to enhance the national ownership of these programs by building and strengthening African capacities.
The course seeks to reinforce the AU-UN partnership by strengthening the operational coherence between international and African DDR standards. Coinciding with the ongoing review of the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS), the training provides a unique opportunity to reflect the development of new and updated guidance and discuss how they apply in asymmetrical conflict environments. As a member of the Integrated DDR Training Group (IDDRTG), CCCPA played a significant role in the review of the IDDRS.
Aiming to bridge the gaps between policy and practice, the training also featured a high-level panel titled “Comprehensive Approaches to Handle Individuals Formerly Associated with Terrorist Groups,” moderated by Ambassador Ashraf Swelam, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Uganda.
In his opening remarks at the panel, Ambassador Osama Abdel Khalek, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN and Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, emphasized the importance of anchoring DDR interventions in wider political strategies and peacebuilding processes. He also referred to the role of Egypt, as the Co-Chair of the UN Group of Friends of DDR and through its presidency of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, in deepening the Commission’s understanding of DDR and mobilizing its support for DDR processes.
The panel discussion featured a number of leading experts from a range of UN and AU agencies, including Department of Peace Operations (DPO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the African Union Commission (AUC), as well as the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).
The panel shed light on recent developments and how the aforementioned entities are responding to the challenges of dealing with individuals formerly associated with terrorist groups, while highlighting the existing guidance on this issue. Meanwhile, training participants were given the opportunity to engage with policymakers working in the field of DDR.
The panelists put forward a number of policy recommendations including (i) the need to achieve greater linkages between existing policy frameworks; (ii) the imperative of emphasizing the mutually-reinforcing relationship between DDR and traditional reconciliation and transitional justice mechanisms; (iii) the significance of enhancing partnerships, including achieving better interagency cooperation as well as ensuring that DDR interventions are designed in a matter that corresponds with national capacities and initiatives; (iv) the need for giving greater attention to social reintegration as a critical component of designing sustainable interventions; and finally, (v) the importance of strengthening the role of local communities in the process of reintegration.
This training is part of Egypt’s efforts to enhance the AU peacebuilding architecture as outlined in the AU-PCRD strategy. Furthermore, it serves to advance the implementation of the Aswan Conclusions on Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa, especially in its effort to promote African ownership, foster resilient institutions and enhance social cohesion.
The training comes as part of the project on “Enhancing Peace, Security, and Stability in Africa”, funded by the Government of Japan, through the UNDP, and co-funded by the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development.