The ones who moved to the town: Informal DDR through urbanisation
Date and Start Time 29 June, 2017 at 09:00
Demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) are common and yet contested approaches in African post-conflict environments. Most DDR programmes fail to offer credible alternative livelihood options. This panel explores how urbanization has created an informal DDR programme.
Demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) are common and yet contested approaches in African post-conflict environments. They also mostly do not work for a number of reasons: Lack of political will, the fact that DDR programmes become an exploitable resource for conflict actors and the dearth of credible alternative livelihood options that DDR programmes offer. DDR programmes can become a livelihood in itself. Reintegration of former combatants is tricky, not just because their livelihood options are limited, but because they are often not welcome in their former communities. Many of them seek a life in town.
This panel seeks to explore the extent to which processes of urbanization interlink with DDR. Several examples show that formal DDR can contribute to urbanization—in Liberia, for example, 45 per cent of ex-combatants chose to move to Monrovia instead of returning to their home areas (Kim-Westendorf 2016). In South Sudan, urbanization and DDR connect because particularly young men move between urban livelihoods and violent rebellion to then enter near-town DDR programmes. Other possible links to explore are the presence of guns in town and how these shape both the urban space as well as the flexibility of participation in DDR. The panel further seeks case studies exploring the experience of former combatants of utilizing urban spaces for their own—informal—DDR. With urban spaces, particularly in African post-conflict settings, increasingly insecure, and DDR programmes in disreputation, this panel seeks to explore how informal DDR processes might interlink with urbanization in peaceful ways.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Settling in the city: how can urban economies support ex-combatants' return to civilian life?
This paper discusses ex-combatant migration to urban areas and the reintegration opportunities which cities can provide. This paper asks whether DDR programmes could be effective if they focus on supporting urban economic development and ex-combatant access to livelihoods to cities.
DDR programmes typically aim to support ex-combatants to return to civilian life and build new livelihoods which do not involve violence. However, the limited success in implementing DDR is well documented and few studies have found evidence of impact (Blattman and Ralston, 2015). Ex-combatants are not a homogenous group and for some, returning to their home communities is not possible. This means that like many others displaced by conflict, ex-combatants may migrate to urban areas. Urban settlements usually have a higher concentration of economic opportunities and offer more anonymity and social mobility than in their home communities (Peters, 2007).
This paper discusses the specific phenomenon of ex-combatant migration to urban areas following a conflict and asks what kind of reintegration opportunities urban areas can provide. Drawing on secondary sources, this paper takes Sierra Leone and South Sudan as case studies and examines the barriers and opportunities which migration to urban centres presents for ex-combatants needing to establish civilian life. Focusing on their access to work in their host city, this paper aims to compare research into employment support programmes in developing cities with studies of ex-combatant reintegration. Focusing on ex-combatants access to work, this paper asks whether DDR programmes could be effective in supporting ex-combatants, businesses, and city governments to improve urban economic opportunities and so facilitate a productive reintegration process and stronger post-conflict economy.
Anonymous livelihoods: reintegration and recovery after conflict
This paper examines livelihoods and survival strategies in post-conflict cities and the informal economy’s role in poverty-reduction and economic recovery. Based on studies of Hargeisa and Cairo, the paper argues for a re-evaluation of the informal economy in supporting post-conflict livelihoods.
This paper examines livelihoods and survival strategies in post-conflict cities and the role of the urban informal economy in poverty-reduction and economic recovery. The focus is both on displaced people moving into the city, including former combatants, migrants and refugees, and on host communities. Based on a comparison of findings in Hargeia, Somaliland, destroyed by civil war in 1988, and Cairo in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the paper draws on current DFID-ESRC research on Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict Cities: the Role of the Urban Informal Economy, to examine the how the informal economy responds through conflict and its role as a refuge for conflict-affected communities.
Political upheaval or violent conflict is often characterised by a fundamental failure of governance and economic collapse. An immediate impact of crisis is the destruction of livelihoods and local economies, leading to insecurity, poverty, hunger, and frustration. Problems are often compounded an influx of urban migrants, who may find integration into urban life difficult. For instance, after the 2011 revolution, Egypt experienced soaring inflation and unemployment, with migrants moving from Upper Egypt to Cairo to work informally.
Using a pathways framework, the paper will examine structural inequalities of politics, governance, ethnicity, religion, and gender, and individual strategies e.g. drawing on kinship or trade networks, or gang monopolies, and the anonymity afforded by working in the city, to examine different livelihood trajectories. The paper argues that both government initiatives and humanitarian assistance miss the potential of what people are already doing to help themselves. (this paper was developed in collaboration with Peter Mackie)
"We need our soldiers to protect our borders": Understanding Popular Expectations of the State in the Central African Republic
The paper challenges classifying the CAR state as weak by giving voice to citizens and state agents in secondary towns: They portray trust in state institutions. Building on notions of legitimacy and authority, this paper links these opinions to the state-building efforts pursued from the capital.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is seen as a particularly fragile state, especially beyond its capital, where it is considered nearly non-existing. Although many of the prefectural capitals are supposed to fulfill important regional functions, their means for governance are indeed extremely weak, and state agencies rely on external actors for logistics, security and the provision of services in their towns. This paper aims to challenge the external portrayal of the CAR state as weak by giving voice to citizens' and state agents' opinions and analyses in the three secondary towns Bangassou, Obo and Paoua. The countless appeals for the army to 'return' and control the border, the public discussions with prefects and mayors provoking local public accountability and the intrinsic motivation of some officials despite the absence of means project a contrasting picture of the state and its variegated relations with its citizens. Building on notions of legitimacy and local authority, this paper analytically links these popular opinions to the state-building efforts pursued from the capital. It argues that these local images and expectations should contribute to determining the type of interventions to build the state in the provinces, rather than to dismiss the state as notoriously weak.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.