National Ownership DDR as a Pre-Condition?

Interestingly enough when one talk about a DDR program many highlighted the importance of “national ownership”. However, in practice most of the DDR program that is implemented across the globe is primarily external driven (i.e. UN). One of the main challenge in regards to national ownership is to fill in the gap that exist between the role of “existing government”, leadership, responsibility and the effectivities in implementing the DDR program.  For that matter it is important to note that national ownership pertaining to DDR is important to achieve success. However, national ownership in DDR is an ongoing process and such progression would have to be adjusted accordingly to obtain the long term goal.

The first step in increasing national ownership of DDR is to define the context and determining the approach. Countries who are torn from conflict would often lack the institutions and foundation towards a DDR program. In doing so it is therefore impediment for international actors to increase capacity building that reinforces leadership and mediation capacities that includes all actors involved in the DDR program such as the Government, civil society and the private sectors.

The second is to reintegrate efforts that ties in closely with a long term goals and objective at the political and strategic level to gain assurance of sustainability of the DDR programs. For example, after the creation of a strong institution, the local government must increase participatory processes that create sense of ownership at the “root level”.  In this regard, community ownership is one way of building such foundation whereby the government help to overcome distrust among former combatants, communities and other parties who are involved.

Third, dialogue and inclusiveness are key to building capacity at the local and national institutions. In this respect it is important that there is a high degree of trust between parties involve in the process. One way of doing this is to determine and underline the definition of roles and responsibilities between the community and the government to ensure that partnership is build and are mutually accountable. This approach is important as ownership within a community based approach would likely contribute in achieving peaceful cohabitation and reintegration because the “context and approach” is determined and noted accordingly by the community itself.

Fourth, there needs to be effective partnership from international and regional actor that continues to monitor the development and fill in the required gap needed in the process. In this regard, the international actor should recognized national capabilities of each respected government and provide support without undermining existing program and capacity. In doing so there needs to be an element of a Monitoring and Evaluation in the DDR program to ensure that reorientation or implementation of the program can be adjusted accordingly. Therefore to be effective in increasing national ownership it is best that international actor’s role be limited to monitoring and technical assistances.

Lastly, as noted above national ownership of DDR is a process that is implemented in adjacent with the program itself thus parties involved should bear in mind that adjustment and reorientation will occur during the DDR process to better suit the situation and the parties involved in the process.


by: Dan KMP

2 thoughts on “National Ownership DDR as a Pre-Condition?

    1. Dear PSRG Colleagues,

      For anyone serious about taking community based reintegration to the next level, I strongly advise taking the time to research and review the work being developed and undertaken by Irma Specht and her team at Transitional International (TI).

      After more than 2-decades of policy and modeling at various country offices and field levels, TI has developed and codified one of the most relevant and innovative models in contemporary post conflict and peacebuilding settings.


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