Review of International Financing Arrangements for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

Nicole Ball, Dylan Hendrickson


How should disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) be financed? What problems can be encountered and how can these be overcome? This paper constitutes the second part of a review from the Stockholm Initiative on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (SIDDR). It provides a sobering assessment of the capacity of the international community as a whole to finance DDR processes in the context of contested peace processes.

Case studies from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Liberia confirm that DDR financing problems have been evident for at least a decade and are not unique to contested peace processes. While the international community has made some progress in addressing these problems, there is a need for further reforms.

DDR financing cannot be divorced from the wider context of the peace process, which cannot succeed in the absence of political will on the part of all key stakeholders. External actors can foster political will but this often requires the application of  robust political and security mechanisms that international actors are frequently unwilling to employ. Furthermore, institutional and personal turf wars among international actors all too often impede  the process. Findings from this second study focus on three issues:

  1. Anchoring DDR in a wider security transformation process: DDR is only one component of wider restructuring.  Links between security, development and diplomacy are essential. Donors should be flexible in terms of where and how they target support.
  2. Harmonisation and alignment of external assistance for DDR: The use of multi-donor trust funds (MDTFs) has helped harmonise funding sources and agree operating principles. However, MDTFs do not ensure alignment of donor assistance with government priorities unless anchored in a mutually agreed framework. 
  3. Funding DDR: Financing should be available as early in the peace process as possible. Both donors and implementers prefer centralised financing systems. Of the two most common systems, MDTFs and UN assessed budgets delivered through peacekeeping missions, the latter carries more significant problems.

The following recommendations for donors emerge:

  • Decisions on DDR should be based on a thorough assessment of the political and security context. Resources should be targeted on elements which, if not supported, could endanger peace.  Forums for discussing security strategies should be established and key members of the international community engaged;
  • Parties engaged in peace negotiations should be given adequate support. There needs to be agreement on how dialogue and planning will continue after the peace settlements have been signed. DDR should be linked to long-term security and development, with funding arrangements made at an early stage;
  • The most effective mechanisms for rapid deployment of financial and technical support should be identified at the outset of the peace process. National actors need initial support so that they take the lead in discussions on developing security strategy; 
  • In structuring DDR financing, serious consideration should be given to channelling the bulk of financing through a MDTF.  Decisions on institutional management of MDTFs should be made on a case-by-case basis; and
  • Programming can be improved by getting the timing right in recognising urgent needs whilst allowing time for preparation and the development of trust. Any spontaneous “demobilisation” should be carried out consistently and weapons buy-back programmes avoided. Effective, transparent monitoring and evaluation is essential.


Ball, N. and Hendrickson, D., 2005, 'Review of International Financing Arrangements for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration', Phase 2 Report to Working Group 2, SIDDR, Stockholm