The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programme in Sudan and South Sudan was born out of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. DDR activity began in earnest in 2009, but after the South's secession in July 2011 the programme split and took on new directions in each country.
The CPA's Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements, signed on 31 December 2004, mandated a sustainable ceasefire and the disengagement of the armed forces in Sudan, followed by the implementation of a DDR programme. Only members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) were eligible for DDR. All other armed groups were outlawed and their members were obliged to disband or integrate into the SPLA or SAF before they could be considered for DDR.
To facilitate the DDR process, the CPA called for a National DDR Coordination Council to oversee separate North and South Sudan DDR Commissions responsible for the design, implementation, and management of the DDR process in their respective regions. In the Three Areas (South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, Abyei), Joint DDR Commissions composed of both northern and southern staff members were responsible for DDR programming. International support for the commissions was provided principally through an Integrated UN DDR Unit made up of the UN Mission in Sudan, the UN Development Programme, the UN Children's Fund, the World Food Programme, and the UN Population Fund.
An Interim DDR Programme (IDDRP), launched in late 2005, aimed to 'set up and build the capacity of DDR institutions and civil society, while initiating basic DDR processes for selected priority target groups'. These Special Needs Groups (SNGs), as they were subsequently labelled, included elderly and disabled combatants, children associated with armed forces and groups (CAAFG), and women associated with armed forces and groups.
In November 2007 a National Strategic Plan was adopted that laid out a two-phase approach to DDR in South Sudan, with SNG caseloads in phase 1 and the voluntary demobilization of active soldiers in phase 2. A total of 180,000 participants were to participate in the DDR programme (90,000 each from the North and South). There were also provisions for subsequent phases after the CPA period. Due to numerous difficulties, however, including the challenge of building national institutions from scratch, the IDDRP failed to carry out any DDR operations apart from running a programme for CAAFG. It was eventually superseded by the Multi-Year DDR Programme (MYDDRP).
In June 2009 the MYDDRP began processing the first adult participants in the DDR programme. The programme used a list system to select participants, with army commanders from the SPLA and SAF drawing up lists of eligible programme participants. This was considered a more fair and economical system than cantonment, which had proved unsuccessful in DDR in other parts of the world.
In the end, the DDR programmes in North and South Sudan were largely unsuccessful. Each processed only a fraction of its intended caseload and the prevailing political and security situation during the CPA period meant that neither army had the will or intention to downsize its forces. At a total cost of USD 117 million, the programme had few, if any, human security benefits.
The South's secession in July 2011 ended the CPA period, bringing with it the opportunity to rethink DDR in Sudan. Without the CPA's legal imperative to undertake DDR, the objectives of the programme have shifted. DDR has become more focused on the economic imperative to downsize the respective armies for the purpose of reducing costs. Lessons learned from the last five years are being used to formulate new programmes that may have greater resonance with national and economic requirements. These plans are still under development, however, and donor support has not yet been secured for future DDR efforts.
For an assessment of DDR as of September 2011, click here
To see the final communiqué from the South Sudan DDR Commission's review conference entitled DDR in South Sudan-Lessons Learned and Challenges ahead of the Referendum, 14-16 November 2010, click here
To see the South Sudan DDR Commission audit undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, November 2010 click here
Updated August 2011
Relevant Tables, Maps, and Summaries
Relevant HSBA Publications
Failures and Opportunities: Rethinking DDR in South Sudan, HSBA Issue Brief 17, May 2011
DDR in Sudan: Too Little, Too Late?, by Ryan Nichols, February 2011
Unrealistic Expectations: Current Challenges to Reintegration in South Sudan, by Julie Brethfeld, June 2010
South Sudan and DDR: Adopting an Integrated Approach to Stabilization, Papers from HSBA Workshop, Juba, South Sudan, 25-26 June 2009
Promoting Security in South Sudan: HSBA Workshop Outcome Statement, Juba, South Sudan, 25-26 June 2009