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In February 2012, the African Union Commission, through the Peace and Security Department (PSD), initiated the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Capacity Program (DDRCP) by holding a Consultation Seminar on DDR with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RMs). The purpose of the DDRCP is to strengthen capacities within the AU, its Member States and regional partners, namely the RECs and RMs, to support national and regional DDR initiatives on the continent.

Strengthening capacity within the AU regional security architecture to provide effective support to DDR initiatives 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 processes was made in the 2004 CADSP and then subsequently in the 2006 PCRD and the 2010 African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) Roadmap.

The AU Commission designated the DSD, which is the body responsible for cross-cutting security issues and developing the CADSP, as the main implementing body for the DDRCP. The DSD collaborates closely with the other sections of the Commission including the Peace Support Operation Division (PSOD) and the African Stand-by Force (ASF).  Throughout this DDR capacity enhancement process, the AU is being supported by the World Bank Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program (TDRP), the United Nations Office at the African Union (UNOAU) and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO).  Both the UN and the World Bank view the enhancement of AU capacity to address security needs on the continent as being strategic to achieving sustainable peace and security on the continent.

DSD has developed an AU DDR capacity project document which was reviewed and validated in September 2012, by the RECs/ RMs and selected Member States. This document sets out a three-year programme, to be implemented between 2013 and 2015, which will achieve the following objectives:

1. Institutionalize DDR capacities within the African Union;
2. Establish an AU DDR Resource and Research Centre; and,
3. Facilitate AU engagement and assistance to DDR activities of Member States. 

These objectives form the three main programmatic components of this project document. Together these three components will operationalize the ability of the AU to identify gaps and challenges in DDR processes on the continent and respond to those needs by providing timely technical, political and/or resource assistance. The AU is particularly well placed to provide this assistance due not only to its ability to mobilise the regional security architecture but also in its capacity to address cross border and cross cutting issues as well as act as a continental forum to harmonise and develop African DDR modalities. 

The DDRCP was launched in January 2013 and the AU is already providing assistance to national DDR processes pursuant to requests made by Member States. Under this program, the AU Commission was able to undertake DDR assessment mission and provide capacity assistance to South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and The Union of the Comoros. Based on a recent request received from them, the AU is currently in discussions with Sudan on how to engage on their current DDR activities.

This type of timely assistance will progressively expand as the capacity of the AU is enhanced and will strengthen the relationships on which the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is built.

Related Resources:

AU DDR Newsletter
1st Edition of the DDR Newsletter AU DDR Newsletter, Volume 1, 2nd Edition Third Edition Cover Thumbnail Newsletter image 4th edition 8th Edition: DDR Newsletter
First edition
January 2014
Second edition
July 2014
Third edition
January 2015
Fourth edition
August 2015
Eigth Edition
September 2017