Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program
African Union Adopts 3-year DDR Capacity Program in Addis Ababa
October 2012
Dr. Tarek Sharif (AU), Colin Stewart (UNOAU) and Abderrahim Fraiji (TDRP) open the Validation workshop
Colin Stewart (UNOAU), Dr. Tarek Sharif (AU)
and Abderrahim Fraiji (TDRP) open the
Validation Workshop

On September 29, 2012, the AU Peace and Security Department (PSD), with representatives of member states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution (RMs), endorsed a new 3-year program to strengthen the AU capacity for planning and implementing DDR programs on the African continent.

The AU DDR Capacity Program (DDRCP) is supported jointly by the TDRP and two UN agencies: the DDR section of the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU).

During a two-day validation workshop on September 28 and 29 at the African Union new conference center in Addis Ababa, the AU PSD, representatives of RECs, RMs, AU member states and other DDR partners discussed a draft DDRCP Project Document, which provides a roadmap for the AU to implement the 3-year program.

The main objective of the DDRCP is to support and institutionalize DDR capacity within the AU, in line with the relevant AU policies: the Post Conflict Recovery and Development policy (2006) and the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

Edouard Bawene, DDR/JPN Expert from CAR,  present his country's DDR efforts
Edouard Bawene, DDR/JPN Expert from CAR,
presents his country's DDR efforts

Edouard Bawene, DDR expert from the government of the Central African Republic, was pleased to participate in the validation workshop: “This work should have been done a long time ago, but now, we are on the right track. The level of competency in DDR is uneven, which is understandable at this stage, but eventually the African Union must be at the forefront of DDR efforts on the continent. Because once peace and security are taken care of, development can start”.

The DDRCP has three components:

  1. Institutionalize African Union capacity to support national and regional DDR initiatives,
  2. Establish an AU DDR Resource Center to document national DDR experiences, best practices and develop DDR specific guidance resources,
  3. Foster AU engagement in DDR Activities of Member States.

The initial budget is just below $3 million for the first three years, which the AU PSD seeks to raise from its partners during a donors conference later this year.

Dr. Sulafedeen (Sudan), Cyriaque Agnekethom (ECOWAS) and Evelyn Mbata (DRC)
Dr. Sulafedeen (Sudan), Cyriaque Agnekethom
(ECOWAS) and Evelyn Mbata (DRC)

Dr. Tarek Sharif, Head of the Defense and security Division at the AU, explained the process followed to reach agreement on the DDRCP: “We started in February 21-22 2012 when we hosted an initial consultation, in Addis Ababa with our partners from RECs and RMs to shape the program. We collected suggestions and worked over the following months to draft the Project Document, ensure that it reflect the various views and ideas that were shared with us.  Through this consultative process, we are securing the ownership of the DDRCP.”

Dr. Sulafedeen (Sudan) and Chan Moses 
(South Sudan) are ready to work with each other
Dr. Sulafedeen (Sudan) and Chan Moses
(South Sudan) are ready to work with each other

Earlier in the week, the participants attended a 3-day training session facilitated by DPKO on DDR topics such as risk management, 2nd generation DDR approaches, monitoring and evaluation of DDR programs and psychosocial issues of ex-combatants. The session was highly interactive and most trainers admitted to learning just as much from the audience as they were teaching. Several countries presented their DDR efforts (Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic), as well as the representative of ECOWAS. All agreed that the existing literature on DDR from the UN or the World Bank is valid but that it must be improved by incorporating more examples of African experiences.

Benoit Bihamiriza of the EAC takes notes  during the training session
Benoit Bihamiriza of the EAC takes notes
during the training session

Benoit Bihamiriza attended the event on behalf of the East African Community (EAC), which gathers five nations: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. “The training session was superb” he said, “and the Project Document is excellent. In the EAC, we always struggle with building capacity so this session was very timely. In our region, the DD (disarmament and demobilization) is finished, but there are still many challenges with the R: reintegration.  This requires a long term commitment”.

Sylvia Kabaki, DDR Officer in the PSD, will continue to gather comments on the Project Document until 7 October 2012. The final document, which will incorporate all the suggested comments, will then be presented to donors later this year in order to harness further support for the AU DDR capacity program. The TDRP is committed to continue to support the African Union DDRCP where it has a comparative advantage to do so, and will provide ongoing technical support to the PSD to implement the DDRCP.


Photos: TDRP/Chantal Rigaud




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