Response to Llaura’s Blog

By: Emil Ismayilov

I agree that well thought out DDR plans is necessary for post conflict plans. Part of determining if plans are well thought out is to measure the effectiveness of various approaches. Emphasis needs to be based on both quantitative and qualitative indicators because for an overall measure of limiting arms, armed groups, and reintegration, but also in order to measure what is occurring in local communities. The macro factors measured by quantitative indicators too often misinform on DDR’s effects locally. Many times, local issues are the ones that lead to conflicts in the first place, and, thus, must be considered when attempting to achieve the goals of DDR.

In order for DDR policies to become more efficient, the indicators used to judge success need to become more streamlined. Various case studies show that different projects have different measures of success. Different examples showcase the importance of qualitative indicators in understanding how the DDR process actually occurs. The importance of community reintegration can be seen in many case studies. How this integration occurs is often overlooked or underreported. By gaining knowledge of the extent of community reintegration through qualitative measures, future DDR missions can apply the methodologies that are measured to work. Each country faces a host of issues, but more measures will allow for the advancement and enrichment of the programs.

One may counter that there is a limit to the indicators that can be measured because of financial limitations. When faced with financial limitations, projects err towards utilizing quantitative indicators in order to appease donors and oversight committees. As the DDR policies shift towards a community, bottom-up, focus, it is an opportune time to begin collecting data from local sources. As the DDR conceptualization adapts towards the third generation, so too must the measures of success to reflect the shifting focus.

The support for qualitative indicators should not lead one to think that quantitative indicators are any less important. The factors that are measured quantitatively are essential. These measures allow for easy comparison across venues. The goals of DDR are also measured in quantitative terms. Disarmament can be clearly measured in terms of armaments collected, Demobilization can be understood through the measurements of standing armies, militia groups, gangs, etc., and reintegration can be measured through employment measures. Although the goals can all be measured, their effectiveness cannot. Certain factors need to be in place to foster this transition. The qualitative measures will allow for effectiveness of policies to be better measured, and, therefore, replicated or avoided.

This brings me to the final point: the need for a universal measure of DDR effectiveness. Although different conflicts require different solutions, there needs to be universal measures in order to form a better framework to better transition future conflicts into sustaining peace. Various qualitative factors will be able to be compared to quantitative measures to see which variables are most efficient in smoothing over the transition to peace. The process for identifying which qualitative factors are important may be expensive at first, but, in the long run, will save resources and better advance the goals of DDR.

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