Organized by the Politics After War Research Network and the Folke Bernadotte Academy in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO)/Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI)/DDR Section
The recently published revised Integrated Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS) with its new module 2.20 on The Political Dynamics of DDR provide new policy and guidance on the intersection between DDR and politics for the United Nations System, including how DDR can contribute to broader peace processes. This new module is a reminder that DDR processes need to be firmly anchored in politics in order to effectively contribute to long-term security and stability at regional, national, and local levels.
In recent years, we have seen a growing body of research on the political dynamics of non-state armed groups, including research on rebel-to-party transformations, armed group’s electoral participation, ex-combatant and veterans’ political engagement and other post-war trajectories, as well as research analysing the long-term impact of armed group inclusion on politics and governance. The introduction of the new IDDRS module The Political Dynamics of DDR provides an opportunity to strengthen the link between research, policy, and practice in this field. More knowledge on the intersection between DDR and politics in different settings, inside and outside the context of formal peace processes, as well as the links between the different levels of analysis – individual leaders and combatants, groups and networks, as well as communities and societies – can help explain how and under which circumstances formerly armed actors can be peacefully reintegrated and contribute to the overall political process.
The linkages between politics and DDR processes is crucial in understanding conflict transformation in different contexts and is at the heart of this newly initiated Research-Policy Dialogue initiative. The latter is organized by the Politics After War Research Network and Folke Bernadotte Academy in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO)/Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI)/DDR Section.
The Research-Policy Dialogue aims to provide research perspectives and scientific evidence on the intersection of DDR and politics as well as concrete reflections on how DDR can contribute to broader peace processes, with a particular emphasis on the transformative dynamics of armed groups and combatants in such contexts. Apart from identifying implications and deriving considerations for DDR practitioners, the dialogue will also aim to strengthen and sustain linkages between the research community and DDR policymakers/practitioners in view of enhancing the evidence base for UN engagement on DDR from a political perspective.
Format and Submission of Abstracts
For the first part of this Research-Policy Dialogue, we invite papers reflecting ongoing or recently completed research on this broadly identified theme to be presented in two-hour virtual seminars in November-December 2020. Based on the submissions, a series of specific sub-themes will be identified, and the exact timing of each seminar will be determined in cooperation with the selected participants. In addition to academic feedback on the papers, there will be opportunities for the presenters to engage with and receive feedback from practitioners from the Folke Bernadotte Academy and the UN DPO/OROLSO/DDR Section and other relevant offices.
Selected contributors to the virtual seminar series may also be invited to present their work at a face-to-face event in New York in 2021 in conjunction with the Annual DDR Senior Managers Meeting and DDR Symposium.
We invite scholars of diverse disciplinary backgrounds and regional expertise who work on issues of relevance for this overarching theme. We strongly encourage contributors to identify different entry points, perspectives, and layers of analysis in assessing the transformation from armed to non-armed politics. These may include different types of armed groups and their varying political ambitions including reflections on armed groups otherwise labelled as terrorist organizations whose political dimensions are often marginalized. We encourage researchers to actively reflect on how the research may offer perspectives that strengthen and inform the current IDDRS.