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William Deng Deng
National DDR Commission (NDDRC) of the Republic of South Sudan
Happy New Year to all staff members working for institutions of the Government of South Sudan, partners and International development agencies. I wish all South Sudanese from different parts of our beloved Nation peaceful and prosperous 2015. As we commemorate a decade since the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), I want to remind everyone that DDR is an integral component of the country’s progress toward establishing sustainable peace and socio-economic development. South Sudan’s DDR Programme, which was primarily targeting National Organized Forces (NOFs) as a platform for military’s transformation and professionalization remains one of the Government top priorities.
However, as a result of the present conflict, dynamics on the DDR process have enormously increased; its potential client base has enlarged and changed as DDR will need to include members of other armed groups such as the SPLA-In opposition, ‘white army’, Children Associated with Armed Forces (CAAFs), South Sudan Defence Fences (SSDF)/Cobra Faction and other armed militia groups.
As the DDR Pilot Project ended in December 2014, my Commission is working with partners in planning DDR Programme in much-changed and complex situation in South Sudan. Despite apparent security challenges, NDDRC is working with authorities of Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA), key ministries in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to facilitate the release, demobilization and family unification of CAAFs. NDDRC will also work with the SPLA to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate to the communities members of SSDF/Cobra Faction who are not eligible to be in the army.
Apart from planning for DDR Programme implementation in GPAA, I would not want the repeat of 2005 negotiations in which there was Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) without detailed and realistic DDR framework. A peace agreement without actionable DDR framework is a recipe for conflict. As such we have formally requested the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to consider DDR Programme as one of the agenda for negotiations when the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa proceed to technical discussions on specific topics (especially Security Sector Reform). With the support of partners, DDR Technical Committee is on standby for advisory role on Security Sector Reform (SSR) and DDR to all parties in the negotiations.
The third issue we are embarking on in 2015 is DDR/SSR sensitizations among all the stakeholders, donors, military personnel and the general public. Through workshops, radios, TVs, posters and all media communications; awareness will be intensified in South Sudan so that our people especially men and women in uniform understand the importance of the DDR Programme. We cannot build viable nation without vocational skills. Military is just one career path and if all South Sudan young people walked on that; we would not have mechanics, engineers, doctors, teachers, farmers, carpenters, electricians just but to mention a few. National DDR Programme creates alternative career options.
The lessons learned from the last year Pilot Project in Mapel, Western Bahr el Ghazal, will inform the DDR Programme for Greater Pibor Administrative Area; South Sudan’s Addis Ababa Peace Talks and DDR sensitization Campaigns. Last year’s successful DDR Pilot Project was joint efforts of the Government of South Sudan and international development partners. As we begin new DDR era, I would want to take this opportunity to thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for funding the Pilot Reintegration Project; the Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program (TDRP) of the World Bank for funding the systems development, staff training and technical assistance on the management of Pilot Project.
NDDRC is indebted to the BICC for long standing support to South Sudan’s DDR Programme. African Union (AU), UNMISS, and UNESCO have contributed significantly to the successful implementation of the DDR Programme in the Republic of South Sudan.
And finally but not the least, the Pilot would not have succeeded without the support of H. E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and C-In-C of the National Armed forces, the SPLA; the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs. I want to thank my comrades for recognizing that DDR is essential for the stabilization, security and peace in the Republic of South Sudan and the wider region.I wish you all peaceful and prosperous 2015! _____________________________________________________________________
Under the most difficult circumstances in South Sudan because of the finances and security environment, National DDR Commission has never stopped the much-needed reintegration support to 290 ex-combatants demobilized in September 2013 in Mapel, Western Bahr el Ghazal State.
The Commission is now embarking on further training of this batch of ex-combatants starting in June, 2014. Hence, staff members of National DDR Commission (NDDRC) are being trained as trainers.
NDDRC in cooperation with the TDRP of the World Bank and UNICON International has been conducting training of trainers from June 16th – 26th, 2014. The trained staff has acquired skills in:
The training Modules were designed within the framework of the South Sudan’s National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Programme.
Dear Partners and Readers,
I am pleased to share with you positive strides the National DDR Programme has made following its inauguration and graduation of 290 ex-combatants at Mapel Training Centre by H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, on September 18, 2013:
Within a month of the demobilised ex-combatants’ return to their communities, we launched the programme to offer reintegration assistance to them. We have provided additional and intensive enterprenuership training for ex-combatants including in business association or cooperative formation. We have also timely distributed reintegration (business) packages for demobilised ex-combatants in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Lakes States. The State leaders officiated at the distributions demonstrating their ownership and support for the reintegration of ex-combatants. Each demobilised ex-combatant received a package (worth at least USD$800) related to the business she or he chose to be trained in at Mapel Training Center. For example, demobilised ex-combatants that chose to be trained in agricultural production received agricultural tool kits; those that chose to be trained as vehicle mechanics, received vehicle mechanics tool kit, etc. Therefore at this point, the psychosocial, life and basic livelihood skills obtained from Mapel Training Centre supplemented with advanced livelihood training and business packages received in State of return will enables the ex-combatants to start and operate their chosen civilian enterprises in the coming months.
All the four State Governments have gone further to provide agricultural land for ex-combatants in line with National Government policy. The National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resource & Fisheries has donated three tactors in support of demobilised ex-combatants’ agricultural associations in Greater Bahr el Ghazal. The Government of South Sudan has honored its pledge and continues to regularly pay monthly salaries of all demobilised ex-combants except for five of them in distant locations cut off by the recent flooding in Lakes State. In South Sudan’s context of urban-limited and few micro-credit institutions, the ex-combatants’ salaries will help finance their business/ enterprises to some extent.
While the pilot National DDR Programme progressively unfolds, we are diligently taking stock of emerging lessons with a view to improve on the processes for the subsequent caseloads of DDR candidates. Hence my Commission and partners (UNMISS, BICC, World Bank, UNESCO and UNDP) have put their heads together to distill key lessons learned from the profiling, disarmament, and demobilisation processes for the first pilot caseload of 292 DDR candidates. We are now planning to conduct in January 2014 a multi-partners’ independent and external evaluation of the disarmament and demobilisation processes of the pilot. Meanwhile, the mid-term evaluation of the German Government funded and World Bank implemented pilot reintegration project is already in progress, with the final evaluation planned for June 2014. We will make the results of all evaluations public to our partners and supporters.
In conclusion, the pilot National DDR Programme is making progress in the right direction, with the support of our partners. As 2013 draws to its close, I take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your readership in 2013. In particular, I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the Federal Republic of German Government, UNMISS, World Bank, UNESCO and UNDP for their financial and/or technical support to the National DDR Programme in 2014. We look forward to your continued partnership in 2014!
I warmly wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!
William Deng Deng
Chairperson National DDR Commission