The Political Transformation of Armed and Banned Groups - Lessons Learned




The Political Transformation of Armed and Banned Groups - Lessons Learned

April 14, 2016

This study was commissioned by UNDP as part of its ongoing reflection regarding the transformation of armed and banned groups towards actors engaged in peaceful political activity.


The paper seeks to answer several key questions: how can we define and explain successful political transformations on the part of armed and banned groups, and how can we account for varying degrees of success regarding integration into the formalised political landscape? What factors help or hinder armed and banned groups in the process of transitioning into actors capable of engaging in peaceful political activity, and willing to pursue their goals through peaceful means? Are there particular strategies or actions that international actors can pursue in order to help support such groups to undertake this transition? What are the lessons learned from past engagements by external actors, and which approaches/instruments can be nurtured to support such transitions, notably by UNDP?


The paper begins by clarifying some key terms that will be used throughout this work, before analysing the factors that support or impede such transitions, including: the nature of the actors under scrutiny; the characteristics of the conflict and its settlement; and, the international context. It then concludes with key implications and recommendations for external actors –and more specifically UNDP –concerning how to effectively support these transitions.