Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs convened the research workshop ‘Recidivism, Recycling or Reintegration?: Revisiting DDR’ in Stockholm, Sweden on 3-5 November 2018. The workshop was hosted by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, where Dr Kovacs is the head of research.
In countries and regions emerging from armed conflict, the successful transition from violence and insecurity to demilitarisation and peace is often associated the procedure of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of combatants. Such programmes have consequently played an increasing role in peacekeeping missions and “non-mission” post-conflict reconstruction process around the world. The disarmament of fighters and collection of weapons, the disbanding of non-state armed groups and the reintegration of former combatants into civilian society are all assumed to help reduce the risk of renewed conflict and establish sustainable peace. At the same time, the experiences on the ground as well as emerging research findings from last couple of decades have at times challenged some of these core assumptions, and have pointed to new aspects and issues that should inform DDR programming. In addition, the conflict contexts in which such programmes are being planned and carried out have also partly changed over time and presented new challenges surrounding the preconditions and traditional approaches to DDR.
In the face of these so called “new contexts” there are many questions to be resolved. DDR has traditionally been a post-conflict tool, but is increasingly implemented in contexts of ongoing violence. Does the underlying logic of DDR still hold in cases of ongoing conflict? How does DDR relate to the broad spectrum of interrelated activities such as Community Violence Reduction (CVR)? What implications do emerging approaches to Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PVE/CVE) hold for DDR? What role can DDR play in contexts of widespread criminal violence? What opportunities are there to integrate DDR into political processes? How can DDR be used as a preventative tool? How to frame DDR in light of key guiding approaches such as the UN Sustaining Peace Approach and UN/World Bank Pathways for Peace Report, and Sustainable Development Goals? How to build joint approaches to assessments, planning, and monitoring that can provide a robust empirical base to steer DDR programming?
For the purpose of both supporting the growing body of scholarly work on this topic, and promote evidence-based policy and practice which could inform the IDDRS review process, FBA hosted a two-days Research Workshop, bringing together scholars of diverse disciplinary backgrounds, who work on issues of relevance for this theme, broadly defined.