Reintegration and SSG/R: Evolution and Current Practices from Mali and Somalia

Reintegration is the process through which former combatants become established in their communities and gain sustainable employment and income. It is a social and economic process with an open timeframe, primarily taking place at the community level.  It is part of the general development of a country and a national responsibility that often requires long-term external assistance. Since the 1990, traditional DDR had to include the following preconditions in order to take place:

  • A trusted and inclusive peace agreement providing the political commitment and legal framework for programming;
  • A willingness of the parties to engage in Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR);
  • A minimum guarantee of security and safety.

Traditional DDR was designed to address the needs of ex-combatants in post-conflict situations and were focused on organized military units and armed forces. There was a fixed sequence to follow: (i) disarmament, (ii) demobilization and (iii) reintegration. There was often a definitive victory of one party, or an internationally mandated peace operation was put in place. Examples of traditional DDR programmes include El Salvador DDR, Guatemala, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Cambodia, Haiti and the Philippines. While results were mixed, such programmes were relatively straightforward to implement and followed a defined sequence. After receiving modest benefits and possibly a veteran’s pension, ex-combatants were expected to return to their home communities as civilians. A smaller selection of those passing through DDR initiatives were eligible to re-apply for entry into newly formed security entities, including the armed forces.

In the 2000s, the link between security and development was codified in the Brahimi Report, adding a development dimension to DDR. By 2015, ground experiences pointed towards the need of placing communities at the center of the reintegration process through increased civic engagement. This in turn led to what is now known as “second generation DDR”.

In parallel, DDR interventions have increasingly been called for in complex security and political environments where responses often must be undertaken in situations where security remains fragile, and that many of the historically stated preconditions for DDR are not present. These environments often include armed groups engaged in violent extremism.

This new Thematic in Practice document explores the implementation of DDR programmes in violent extremist environments, the differences between traditional/second generation DDR and next generation DDR programmes, highlighting some case examples and key challenge. You can download the full document here: