UN DDR Symposium Urges Global Action to Prevent Conflict and Sustain Peace

Conflicts currently affect 2 billion people worldwide. Civilian deaths surged by 72% in 2023, and 40% of post-war countries relapse into civil war within a decade.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 18-06-2024 12:33 IST | Created: 18-06-2024 12:33 IST
UN DDR Symposium Urges Global Action to Prevent Conflict and Sustain Peace
UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of former combatants for sustainable peace. Image Credit:

The UN Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Symposium in Geneva concluded with a call for international cooperation to address the challenges posed by global conflicts. Delegates warned that a climate of growing insecurity could have severe and lasting consequences for humanity without collective action.

Conflicts currently affect 2 billion people worldwide. Civilian deaths surged by 72% in 2023, and 40% of post-war countries relapse into civil war within a decade. Sustainable peace hinges on the successful reintegration of former armed forces members into civilian life.

Held from 3-7 June under the theme “DDR’s Role in Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace,” the symposium gathered over 80 practitioners, experts, and national directors from some of the world's most complex crises. The goal was to generate practical contributions for the Secretary-General's New Agenda for Peace, which will be a central topic at the Summit for the Future in September.

Key outcomes included the necessity for coalition building around investment, national and regional leadership, and diplomatic support for DDR across various contexts. The role of women in DDR processes was highlighted, as provisions for women and girls were included in only six out of 18 peace agreements in 2022. The implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda on DDR has seen a decline, with decreased gender-responsive actions and reporting capacity.

The symposium was co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO), with support from the Swiss government. Experts from countries including Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, the Philippines, and Ukraine participated. Strategic partners such as Germany, Sweden, the European Union, the World Bank, and representatives from the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Training Group (IDDRTG) and the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on DDR also attended.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of former combatants for sustainable peace. “A key part of this approach must be to ensure that those who have lived through and participated in conflict are not left behind,” Steiner said.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, underscored the significance of DDR in peace efforts. He advocated for treating prevention as a political priority, centering national ownership in DDR processes, working with robust regional frameworks, innovating peace financing, and ensuring youth participation while dismantling patriarchal power structures.

The symposium’s outcomes aim to inform and strengthen international efforts to achieve sustainable peace and prevent the recurrence of conflict.

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