The History of DDR

By: Emil Ismayilov

Since the inception of the UN conflict has evolved in response to changing global situations. First generation DDR attempted to address the needs of the post-World War II world. The global political arena was one which was torn between both sides of the Cold War. This time period was also one in which colonial powers were stripped of their colonies and newly independent nations had to carve out governments from the remains that were left to them. The original DDR approach addressed conflict zones that had already begun the peace process. As stated in the IDDRS, “the objective of the DDR process is to contribute to security and stability in post-conflict environments so that recovery and development can begin,” (IDDRS, UN). The original mandate was designed in a framework identifying major actors. This approach utilized governmental structures and opposition groups as the main foundation for DDR processes. Although this approach addressed certain issues when there were two major actors to integrate, it ignored the issues facing the more local populations. After these initial conflicts were addressed or were handled independently, a new set of problems emerged.

The second generation DDR attempted to confront the new problems that arose from the previous conflicts. The focus became more on development as a basis for long term peace. This process looked more at institutions as a means for providing this basis. This approach still looked at larger actors ( governments, opposition forces, major powers). The furtherance of the DDR’s goals better addressed the needs of the countries in need of support, as opposed to addressing the interests of the global powers. Whereas the first generation DDR was simply a means of transitioning governments so as to better work with the global community, the second generation DDR concentrated more on development and long term stability for the country in need.

A newer form of DDR is slowly evolving, attempting to confront the issues from a more bottom-up approach. This is in response to the lack of success of engaging solely large-scale actors. The transitions to new governments did not challenge issues that faced the more local problems. These more localized issues created new areas of conflict that have been more pervasive in the last thirty years. One of the first major cases to display the inability of first generation DDR to address comprehensive peace building is in Somalia. Attempts at transitioning the government from Civil War failed drastically because of the frameworks focus on major actors. The transitional government that was established was incapable of representing the local populations concerns, and thus was not a good starting point for encouraging DDR. With the rise of al-Shabaab, the importance of engaging tribal leaders became clear. Second generation DDR attempts to evolve the functioning of DDR to adapt to the changing political climates seen around the world. Second generation DDR tries to move the focus from national actors to more localized communities. The bottom-up approach is beginning to address the concerns and struggles that are pertinent to long-term peace development. By tackling the problems that are facing local communities, second generation DDR is attempting to lay the framework for preventing the rise of future conflicts. Also, this focus provides local actors with agency over their futures, giving them all a stake in following through with various mandates and promises.

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