1 May 2013, New York, US – Members of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) met in New York for its annual retreat from 29 to 30 April 2013. The UN IAWG and DDR was formally established by the UN Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS) on 31 March 2005. Its purpose is to work towards developing a strategic framework on DDR for the UN and improving the effectiveness of DDR programmes at the country level. The IAWG membership is comprised of 22 entities including UN departments, agencies, funds and programmes, the International Organization for Migration, and the World Bank. It is jointly chaired by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

One of the most important achievements of the IAWG has been the development of the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS) and the supporting Operational Guide and Briefing Note for Senior Managers. These documents are hosted on the UN DDR Resource Centre, an online platform where policy makers and practitioners can find all DDR-related information. In 2010, the EU contributed to the Joint Project DDR (IAWG on DDR) under the crisis-preparedness component of the Instrument for Stability (IfS). The Joint Project, which ended in June 2012, focused on three areas: knowledge management, capacity development, and support for the IAWG Secretariat.

In the field, the context in which DDR, or related programmes, are being initiated is changing. The UN is increasingly being asked to support DDR programmes in areas of active conflict, to deal with new types of armed movements and to assist with downsizing of security forces through the implementation of a DDR programme. The political and legal frameworks of the new DDR operations are also increasingly unclear, and in some cases the beneficiaries are members of rebel groups with little command and control and linkages to hardline jihadist organizations. New thinking, guidance, and support are required from the IAWG for the IAWG to support successful DDR and achieve its purposes in this changed, and changing, context.  

The focus of the annual retreat was on setting clear direction for the IAWG for the next three years, drawing on an analysis of its work, member experience, priorities and possibilities. The specific objectives of the retreat were to:

  • Take stock of the last two years of IAWG work and support to DDR operations globally, in light of context changes that directly affect DDR programming;
  • Decide on any changes necessary to improve on delivery of IAWG’s mandate from 2013 onward;
  • Review the current IAWG membership and structure;
  • Establish current top priorities for IAWG policy development and support;
  • Establish key elements of an IAWG work plan and a completion timeline with leads. 

The annual retreat was an opportunity for the UNITAR Peacekeeping Training Programme to reiterate its commitment to contribute to the activities in the IAWG and confirm its support to training programmes on the ground, especially in the area of Training of Trainers.