When conflict comes to an end, those who directly took part in fighting may have special livelihoods, economic and psycho-social needs resulting from sometimes years of being engaged in armed violence. Consideration must be given to these needs when communities and nations try to rebuild.
Failing to address the special requirements of ex-combatants may have long-term consequences for sustainable development, compound the conditions for instability and threaten what can sometimes be a fragile peace. Former soldiers may not have the skills or means to earn an income as civilians; the trauma of what they have witnessed may leave them vulnerable to psychological disorders; and disaffected ex-combatants who are left without support networks, other than their former comrades, may seek redress through crime or political violence, especially when the underlying causes of the conflict, such as unemployment, inequity or poverty still exist.
UNDP provides technical assistance to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) initiatives in 20 countries. We operate in peacekeeping missions, special political missions or non-peacekeeping/non-political mission contexts, in collaboration with different partners. In order to be most effective, we take a holistic approach to DDR that goes beyond ex-combatants, focusing on the wider community with programmes on armed violence reduction and weapons management. In support of national authorities, UNDP plays a coordinating role, strengthens national capacities and provides financial and technical assistance to DDR programmes.
Through the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, UNDP seeks to support peace processes and enhance security to facilitate recovery and development. During the transition from conflict to peace, our goal is to support ex-combatants' economic and social reintegration. Rebuilding and sustaining their livelihoods is achieved through training for employability and support for micro and small enterprises/businesses and other initiatives that are important for return to civilian life. MORE >
Projects and Initiatives
Some mornings Espérance Nibigira, who is 35 years old, wonders how she is going to find the energy to begin the day. As a combatant in the north-west of Burundi during the civil war that raged between 1993 and 2005 and resulted in 300,000 victims, she suffered an accident on the battlefield that left her disabled and suffering from amnesia. more
Every year hundreds of Iraqis are killed or maimed by cluster munitions and landmines, due to Iraq’s contamination of millions of explosive remnants of war (ERW). According to Iraqi figures, the contamination claimed 14,000 victims between 1991 and 2007, while in the three Kurdish governorates the estimated number of victims (both injuries and deaths) was 8,174 between 1991 and 2008. more
Juakali project in Northern Uganda’s Karamoja Region has changed the lives of the youths. All group members are former cattle warriors who are now ‘disarmed’, some voluntarily and others forcefully. The group is one of the most impressive groups of beneficiaries among the UNDP-supported groups in Karamoja Region in Uganda. more
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Did you know?
- In Afghanistan, UNDP is helping more than 2,500 former Taliban and anti-government fighters restart normal lives with employment opportunities in public works and infrastructure projects. Ex-combatants have been digging wells; building or ebuilding damaged bridges; and constructing roads, protection walls, canals, and schools.
- In Nepal, in 2012, UNDP’s efforts saw 2,000 former Maoist fighters receive reintegration support, which includes vocational training, and further education opportunities, as well as grants and loans to start up small businesses.
Policy, Guidance and Lessons Learned
- How to Guide – Monitoring and Evaluation for DDR Programmes
- Posters - Monitoring and Evaluation for DDR Programmes
- Practice Note on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-combatants
- The Integrated DDR Standards: Take the Quiz - What are the Integrated DDR Standards?
- Report of the UN Secretary-General on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration