Excellencies, Distinguished principals of the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards, Esteemed guests and colleagues,
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I am delighted to welcome you to this high-level event marking the official launch of the United Nations revised Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards – the IDDRS.
DDR has been a key component of the UN’s efforts to build peace in the aftermath of war since the United Nations supported its first such process in Central America in 1990.
From that time, DDR practitioners have helped members of armed groups to lay down their weapons and return to civilian life in DDR processes across the globe.
Today, UN DDR support is provided to more than 200 thousand beneficiaries in five peacekeeping missions, 10 special political missions and eight non-mission settings.
For more than a decade, DDR practitioners – both within and outside the UN system – have been guided in their work by the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards.
The Standards were originally developed in 2006 by the 15 UN departments, agencies, funds and programmes that, at that time, comprised the UN Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR.
They represent a repository of best practices and lessons learned, and provide for a collective UN approach, with a common set of policies and guidelines to facilitate coordination and the efficient delivery of support.
Today, membership of the Inter-Agency Working Group has grown to include 25 UN members, with the African Union participating as a much-valued permanent observer.
In recent years, DDR practitioners have been increasingly faced with the challenges of engagement in contexts where armed conflict is ongoing and where multiple and diverse armed groups are present.
In some cases, violent extremist armed groups refuse to come to the negotiating table.
In others, local armed conflict continues even as national peace agreements are signed and are being implemented.
The practice of DDR has evolved in response to these challenges, making the revision of the DDR Standards even more essential.
This evolution has now been consolidated in the revised IDDRS.
The new standards are in line with the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, launched last year to help strengthen peacekeeping for today’s challenges.
They acknowledge the important role that DDR plays across the peace continuum, including by recognizing that DDR practitioners
- make invaluable contributions to sustaining peace;
- support mediation efforts;
- prevent recruitment in ongoing conflict;
- and provide reintegration assistance to individuals voluntarily leaving active armed groups.
DDR processes can also support stabilization efforts through Community Violence Reduction approaches, transitional weapons and ammunition management, and support to transitional security arrangements.
Indeed, the range of activities that now fall under the heading of DDR underscore that its scope is far from a merely technical, sequenced intervention.
The new IDDRS recognize the highly political nature of DDR and the need to firmly anchor it in overall political processes.
Such is the breadth and complexity of DDR processes, that partnerships within and beyond the UN system are indispensable.
The “whole-of-UN” approach that the Working Group embarked upon two years ago to revise the IDDRS is a prime example, and in line with the current UN reform efforts.
In closing, I would like to congratulate the members of the Working Group, including its co-chairs, the Department of Peace Operations and the UN Development Programme, for an important achievement that will ensure that UN DDR remains fit-for-purpose for years to come.