11/08/2012 @ 13:32
par Alwin van den Boogaard

Good afternoon,

I am actually doing my Masters, dealing with the subject of Sustainability of SSR in post-conflict Africa. As sustainability should be a transversal issue (somewhat like the mainstreaming of sustainability) I am dealing now with SSR and DDR.

DDR often is executed before SSR starts. However DDR has an impact on the starting situation of SSR. The size of the remaining security forces after DDR and also the potential and capacities (yes or no an integrated security force/ mobilisation of the oldest members leading to loss of experience) are products of the DDR process.

Actually I am reading a paper where it is stated that DDR and SSR should be more coordinated, upon which I agree. However it states: the size of the security forces (which is an issue within SSR) should not be decided during DDR without studying its impact. There is nothing wrong there, but it means in a post-conflict situation that DDR cannot start before a SSR assesment has been executed and even a reform study has been executed. We all know that post-conflict conditions are difficult to asses, to understand and can change overnight. I takes time to understand the context and to study a reform.

My experience here in Burundi is that DDR is always a process that is executed under financial pressure. Although I understand the reasoning I cannot imagine donors funding the combatants.

Perhaps someone could help me out.


15/08/2012 @ 12:32
by Thammy Evans

Hi Alwin,

Thanks for starting this discussion here. Demobilisation (mostly usually of the opposing force) does not necessarily imply a draw down of the armed forces in total, although it often does eventually draw down because armed forces in conflicts have usually escalated. Demobilisation and reintegration therefore, regardless of where the SSR process is, can look to returning combatants to their previous occupations. This reintegration (in which the dynamics of previous occupation employment may have shifted) is what donors can fund.

In addition, SSR will usually look at moving armed forces from traditional military employment to a civilianised border guard, police functions and customs. For this, both former opposing combatants and state military personnel will have to be re-evaluated, vetted and retrained. Donor funding is often applied here.

Finally, reintegration and the wider SSR piece should look at the gender, ethnic and religious balance of a representative armed forces, as well as civilian oversight - all long term goals which need to be communicated at the initial DDR stage. Again, donor funding can play a part here.

I must admit, that I'm not entirely sure what your specific questions are, so if you can come back with these, I'm sure others more qualified than I will wade into the debate.

Good luck with the Masters.

18/08/2012 @ 19:14
by Alwin van den Boogaard

My question is about linking DDR and SSR. There is a strong
connection: DDR enters the security sector and influnences the
starting point of SSR by decisions upon numbers of combatants to be
demobilized(leaving sec forces with a certain strength) and also who
will be demobilized. This influences highly the supply side of SSR.

The process of DDR influences the security situation. In this way it
contributes to the security needs: the demand side of SSR.

Ideally DDR should be based on a SSR program/ assessment. In this way
the desired strength of sec forces is known and the needed capacities
of its members. However SSR assessment in post conflict takes time.
There is a lot of pressure of donors to start quickly. The longer the
combatants stay in assembly areas the more expensive the program is.
And the vulnerable women and child soldiers will leave the program
even before the DDR starts.

My conclusion that there is hardly a way to arrive at this ideal
situation is it right?

My 2nd question where to find literature describing the effects of
donor pressure on DDR to start as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies a bit the question.

17/09/2012 @ 09:52
by Teohna Williams

Hi,Yes, you are absolutely right. It is very rare to manage the ideal situation for a DDR process and for this to fall within an ideal wider SSR process. As you clearly appreciate, both are highly political processes, not just technical. Both are therefore sensitive and full of challenges; not least among those challenges is the the need to manage both short and long-term needs.Whether it comes from a SSR process or is directly part of the preparatory work for a DDR programme, there does need to be clarity on the intended parade strength (size of the armed forces). Ideally, a DDR programme would be informed by a national security policy or strategy for a country. The real challenge in all of this is how we (nationals responsible for DDR/SSR and internationals - both donors and operational staff on the ground) can best manage the reality, which is seldom the same as the theory.In addition to what Thammy said about donors funds, there are more diverse projects within a DDR process than there used to be. This has come about since the 'birth' of so called 'second generation DDR' (UNDPKO terminology). This gives a stronger focus on the broader stakeholders, including the communities receiving ex-combatants. Other types of initiatives that can be funded include such elements as armed violence reduction or small arms control projects. I hope others may be able to point you towards literature re donors.