UNDP and Japan Collaborate on Ethiopia’s Ex-Rebel Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration

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Japan has pledged $6.7 million to support Ethiopia’s National Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) in disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating (DRR) ex-combatants. Managed by the UNDP, the funds will enhance the commission’s operational capacity, particularly upgrading facilities, training, and supporting demobilizing ex-combatants. Additionally, health facilities in rural areas of the Tigray region will be rehabilitated.

Expressing gratitude for Japan’s contribution, NRC Commission Temesgen Tilahun emphasized the need for accelerated efforts in Ethiopia’s peace-building endeavors. The partnership agreement between Japan and UNDP was signed by Ambassador Shibata Hironori and UNDP’s Resident Representative for Ethiopia Mr. Samuel G. Doe at the Ministry of Finance, underscoring Japan’s commitment to sustainable peace and development in Ethiopia.

According to Ambassador Hironori, Japan’s support will facilitate the prompt launch of ex-combatant demobilization efforts in cooperation with the Ethiopian government. Mr. Doe highlighted the positive impact of the DDR in fostering peace and hope for Ethiopia.

The signing ceremony, attended by NRC Deputy Commissioner Mr. Tesfalem Yihdego and MoF State Minister Semereta Sewasew, emphasized Japan’s longstanding partnership with Ethiopia. State Minister Semereta expressed gratitude for Japan’s continuous support and urged adherence to the DDR timeline for effective demobilization.

Established in November 2022, the NRC oversees the demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of approximately 371,971 ex-combatants across eight regions of Ethiopia, including, Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, and Ben Shangul. In addition to Japan’s contribution, the UNDP-managed multi-partner DDR programme has received support from the EU, which signed a €16 million agreement in February 2024.

DDR is a key clause of the Pretoria Peace Agreement, which ended war between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). It had a slow start due to political impasse as well as resource shortfalls. Inability to swiftly implement DDR has caused deep divisions in Ethiopia, in part contributing to the continuation of conflict beyond Tigray. Recent stepped-up efforts by the International Community to provide resources for DDR is a step in the right direction, but more is needed to sustain and expand provisions and rehabilitation for to Ex combatants. Expanding the hard-won peace depends on it. 

UNDP manages the DDR programme alongside a broader Peace Support/Stabilization Programme, supported by Germany, Japan, and UNDP’s Funding Windows, focusing on local governance, human rights, social cohesion, basic social services, economic revival, and durable solutions for internally displacement people.

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