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18.9.2021 : 10:19 : +0200


NEW: Sudan Issue Brief 17: Failures and Opportunities: Rethinking DDR in South Sudan

With the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s mandate for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) set to expire in July 2011, discussions are now underway between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the South Sudan DDR Commission, and international actors on how the programme can be extended and possibly retooled in the post-independence period.

Failures and Opportunities: Rethinking DDR in South Sudan, a new Issue Brief from the Small Arms Survey’s Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) project,  reviews the serious limitations, as well as some of the modest successes, of the current programme. Based on field research and interviews with ex-combatants women associated with armed groups going through reintegration training, it examines the consequences of conflicting conceptions of DDR among key stakeholders. The Issue Brief also looks ahead to the prospects for DDR in an independent South Sudan

It finds that:

  • DDR participants routinely fail to meet the programme’s eligibility criteria because they joined the SPLA too late (after 2005) or left the army before entering the programme.
  • The SPLA remains significantly disengaged from the ongoing DDR programme, primarily because it regards DDR benefits as insufficient compensation for its ex-combatants and has never felt ownership of the civilian-led process.
  • The DDR programme has had no discernible impact on security in South Sudan.
  • Although it publicly agreed to downsize the army through DDR, the SPLA leadership did not intend to undertake the necessary steps prior to 2011.
  • The SPLA’s target DDR caseload of 90,000 ex-combatants was determined through a bargaining process that bore little relation to the genuine capacity or needs of the SPLA.
  • As a result of an early focus on female combatants, women SPLA members have enjoyed significant livelihood training benefits from the DDR programme.
  • Despite concerns that many global DDR ‘best practices’ may be inapplicable to the Sudanese context, the programme continues to prioritize lessons from other DDR programmes rather than the specific context of South Sudan.
  • Plans under discussion for reconfiguring DDR in Sudan will only succeed if the partners have a shared understanding of its purpose.

Failures and Opportunities is the 17th Issue Brief from the HSBA. All HSBA publications can be downloaded from (please refresh your Internet browser to ensure that the latest updates load). For interviews related to this publication, or general inquiries, contact Acting HSBA Project Manager, Emile LeBrun.

Download Failures and Opportunities: Rethinking DDR in South Sudan

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