UNITAR is supporting the African Union activities related to strengthening the capacity of its Member States to provide effective support to implement emerging as well as classic DDR through the operationalization and dissemination of the AU Operational Guidance Notes (OGNs). UNITAR, also a member of the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR (IAWG-DDR) and the Integrated DDR Training Group (IDDRTG), is well-positioned as a link to the main actors working on DDR, therefore connecting the work of the AU and the UN.
The initiative launched in 2019 will contribute to enhancing the African Union’s role as a hub for DDR in Africa, strengthen capacities of stakeholders on the African continent and contribute to regional cooperation and partnership building in the area of DDR.
In the framework of such initiative, UNITAR provides training assistance to the World Bank Global Program for Reintegration Support (GPRS) 2019-2022 Programming Framework in support of the African Union. The collaboration is designed to support the operationalization and dissemination of the AU OGNs and it is made possible by the essential role played by the African Centres of Excellence (CoEs), who are strengthening their collaboration through the development, adaptation and delivery of a blended training programme on AU OGNs on DDR designed by UNITAR in close collaboration with the AU Commission and the World Bank.
DDR and the African Union
Strengthening capacity within the AU regional security architecture to provide support to DDR is viewed by the AU as integral to its objective of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa. The importance and mandate of the AU Commission to support DDR made in the 2004 Common Africa Defense and Security Policy (CADSP) and then subsequently in the 2006 Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development Policy (PCRDP). The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) Roadmap (2011-2013) specifically recognized that DDR must “Be integrated into the entire peace process, from the initial peace negotiations through peacekeeping and follow-on peace building activities”. It also recognized that whilst, historically, many DDR programmes have often fallen under the auspices of the UN that there has been increasing demand for a strengthened role of the AU with a growing number of Peace Support Operations AU led and including DDR activities.
For more, see the DDR page at: http://ddr.peaceau.org/en/
The Operational Guidance Notes on DDR
As part of efforts to strengthen APSA capacity the AU Peace and Security Department (PSD) through its DDR and SSR Division has developed a series of Operational Guidance Notes (OGNs) covering several aspects of DDR. The OGNs aim to provide African stakeholders with practical guidance to assist in the planning and implementation of individual DDR programmes. While drawing from experiences in Africa and catering to the specific needs of stakeholders on the continent, they are also compliant with international best practice and complementary to existing DDR frameworks including the UN Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS).
As well as being compliant with international standards and best practice the AU OGN series is also cognisant of the aspirations contained within Agenda 2063 on peace and security and work related to the African Governance Architecture (AGA). Specific efforts have been made to ensure that human rights issues are considered and integrated into the OGN’s in line with international and African Human Rights instruments and standards. The following DDR OGN’s have either been produced or are under development:
- DDR and Children
- DDR and National Frameworks
- DDR and Reintegration
- DDR and Foreign Fighters
- DDR and Women
- DDR and Detention
- DDR and CVE
- DDR and M&E
Completed OGNs can be downloaded below in English and French.
The Blended Training Programme
The blended training aims at building capacity of DDR practitioners to implement emerging as well as classic DDR-responsive processes in line with the AU OGNs on DDR and the UN IDDRS. Moreover, the training programme explores the linkages between Early Warning and DDR. The programme includes an online and a face-to-face component.
The Online Component
The online course provides a baseline level of understanding of basic concepts, definitions and legal frameworks on DDR. The course focuses on the OGNs as a whole and it was designed as a participatory learning experience for practitioners in the field. The course is composed of three online modules, covering key aspects of the AU OGNs and including elements from the IDDRS and other DDR standards.
The Face-to-Face Component
The face-to-face training agenda, designed by UNITAR, encourages engagement and participation of participants, including group sessions and tailor-designed experiences, as well as scenario-based activities.
As an essential component of the initiative, UNITAR applies the training of trainers approach to strengthen the capacity of the African Centres of Excellences to deliver training courses on the AU OGNs on DDR. The Centres of Excellence are also involved in the active design and customisation of the face-to-face training programme.
In 2021 UNITAR trained 6 trainers from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix – Alioune Blondin Beyé (EMP ABB) and supported them in the multiplication of the training for practitioners and stakeholders working in DDR in Mali.
In 2022, continuing its support to the African Union and the World Bank, UNITAR will liaise with other two African Centres of Excellences to customise the face-to-face training course to encompass key thematic areas for DDR practitioners and will support the multiplication of the blended training in two different African contexts.
See below the video of the initiative.
This online course has been designed to introduce the content of the African Union Operational Guidance Notes on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration.
The course is composed of three online modules, provides a baseline level of understanding of basic concepts, definition and frameworks of the AU OGNs and includes elements from the IDDRS and other DDR standards. The online course also highlights the linkages between Early Warnings and DDR.
The three modules are:
- DDR and the African Union
- Legal and Institutional Aspects of DDR
- Planning and Implementing DDR
To request access to the course, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘’Access to UNITAR Online Course -Introduction to the AU OGNs on DDR”, with the following information:
Title and/or position
A brief sentence to state the reason why you are interested in applying to the course.
The email address you want to be enrolled in.
You will receive the instructions to access the course. The course is available in English and French.