Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
DDRnet: An information network for DDR practitioners
October 2010
Anton Baaré, Conseiller DDR Principal, est responsable des activités de DDRnet.
Anton Baaré, Senior DDR Adviser,
leads the DDRnet activities.

DDRnet is a mechanism for professionals working on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) activities to exchange views and experiences, and to learn from each other. The network focuses on topics related to the transition from DDR activities to broader development.

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One of the objectives of the Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program (TDRP) is "to facilitate a platform for dialogue, information exchange and learning on demobilization and reintegration (D&R) in the Great Lakes region." To fulfill this objective, the DDR network, or DDRnet, was launched earlier this year. The TDRP Program Paper explains that "the forum [DDRnet] seeks to help to address the regional and cross sectoral aspects of conflict, improve the quality of ongoing D&R efforts, reduce duplication of efforts across the region, strengthen coordination on D&R policy and programming, and generate policy advice for future programs" .

These efforts are led by Anton Baaré, Senior DDR Adviser in the TDRP team, who answers a few questions about DDRnet.

Q: Anton, could you please describe in a few words the objectives of DDRnet?

The idea behind DDRnet comes from the observation that very often, DDR operations are carried out in emergency mode with little emphasis on monitoring, analyzing, or creating linkages with other sectors. Moreover, relationships between different organizations working in DDR operations and their linkages with actors in other disciplines, and in particular with those working on wider dimensions of human security and peacebuilding, remain under-developed.

So DDRnet offers an opportunity for professionals in DDR and related fields to come together and focus on questions they may not otherwise consider. That's the objective of DDRnet: to increase and share knowledge on DDR and the transition from DDR to peacebuilding and development.

Q: Who can participate in DDRnet events?

DDRnet events gather a wide variety of actors, from government officials to UN agencies representatives, donors, international experts and researchers. Participation at DDRnet seminars is directly derived from the topic being discussed. The intention is to bring together a diverse group of participants with the most relevant knowledge and experience on the issue at hand.

Because we want to foster rich discussions, we try to keep the numbers of participants low. However, the outcome of the seminars, including presentations and preparatory papers, will be documented in dissemination notes and other types of publications available to all on the TDRP website.

Les séminaires de DDRnet tel que celui-ci en avril 2010 rassemblent des participants de tous bords.
DDRnet seminars such as this one held in Brussels in April 2010
gather a wide range of participants.

Q: Similar networks of DDR practitioners already exist. For example the Inter Agency Working Group, IAWG, on DDR, led by the UN, or the Cartagena DDR forum, led by the Colombian government. What differentiates DDRnet from these other networks?

First of all, the TDRP will contribute to the IAWG co-chaired by UNDPKO and UNDP. Whereas the TDRP is focused on the Great Lakes Region, the IAWG has a global perspective. DDRnet obviously builds on the knowledge base already available in these networks and outside, but it also adds to the discussions by bringing together people who may otherwise never be in the same meetings. Its very flexible structure allows groups to come together around a topic rather than based on membership. So we can easily invite university researchers, high level UN officials, civil society advocates or even ministers. This is what makes the richness of the network. Our events follow Chatham House rules so they allow for candid discussions and exchange of ideas.

Q: What events has DDRnet already organized, and what were the outcomes?

DDRnet hosted three events in 2010. The first one, in April, was on "the politics of demobilization in the Great Lakes region". The seminar focused on the policy and practice around engaging with non state actors and armed groups in negotiations and peace processes after the conflicts of the late 1990s/early 2000s. The outcome of that event will be a full chapter on the same topic in an upcoming MDRP publication as well as a shorter dissemination note (see a summary of that event)

We held two other events (in April and June) on the foreign armed groups based in eastern DRC and in other countries in the Great Lakes. These rebel groups still represent a destabilizing factor in the region, so we wanted to help foster an international discussion on the topic, first to create a common understanding, and second to evaluate opportunities for collaboration. Both events were very well received and resulted in the creation of international working groups to continue the collaboration.

Q: Looking forward, what do you see as important areas to be covered by DDRnet?

We are preparing two other important events, in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in South Africa and international organizations. These seminars examine the sustainability of DDR in the context of the shadow economies that we know are the lived realities for many ex-combatants. What options do DDR programs offer for reintegration in the formal economy, and what the informal economy may offer.

The other topic is related to this one and focuses on youth employment. We are partnering with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to prepare that event.

Visit our DDRnet page

 

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