Seminar ‘Laying down arms: disarmament as a precondition for demobilisation and re-integration in conflict areas’


In 2015, the Flemish Peace Week specifically addresses the topic ‘Opt for Peace! Disarm East Congo’. The Peace Week is an initiative of a group of peace and civil society organizations in Flanders. In keeping with an annual tradition, the Flemish Peace Institute will introduce the theme of the Peace Week to the Flemish Parliament, this year in the form of a seminar about disarmament as a crucial step in any peace process. The notions of ‘Disarmament’, ‘Demobilization’ and ‘Re-integration’ (DDR) are, within that context, often named in one breath. In long-protracted conflicts such as the one we are witnessing in (East) Congo, initiatives towards Peace Accords frequently founder on derailed, unsatisfactorily completed – or never started – DDR processes.

With new elections in the offing in Congo – traditionally a harbinger of extra tensions and violence and, hence, also a dynamic that triggers the use of weaponry – the seminar ‘Laying down arms: disarmament as a precondition for demobilisation and re-integration in conflict areas’ focuses the spotlight on the why, how and what of disarmament and DDR programmes. In the process, we start from a general and international perspective, subsequently to test the general insights gained against the situation in East Congo. Amongst others, the following issues will be examined: how important are disarmament and DDR as factors in the entire peace building chain? How does such a disarmament/DDR process evolve? Are there good practices/success stories? What are the major obstacles? And what role do local actors/administrations play compared to that of third countries and international organisations in the disarmament dynamic in the actual field?


Time & Venue

29 September 2015, 12-2pm - Flemish Parliament (Brussels)

Reception desk will be open at 11.45h at Hertogsstraat 6, 1000 Brussels (main entrance of the Flemish Parliament)



12.00-12.30: Reception with sandwich lunch (‘Zuilenzaal’)


12.30-14.00: Seminar in Committee Room 

  • Welcome address and introduction by Tomas Baum, Director of the Flemish Peace Institute
  • The UN and disarmament/DDR programmes – Rory Keane, Head of the United Nations Liaison Office for Peace and Security
  • The EU and disarmament/DDR programmes – Gianmarco Scuppa, SSR & DDR policy officer, European External Action Service
  • Local possibilities for, and obstacles to, disarmament and DDR in East Congo: reflection from a local perspective – Judith Verweijen, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden & Conflict Research Group, Ghent University
  • Round table discussion
  • Conclusions by Sabine de Bethune, Member of the Flemish Parliament

The seminar will be conducted in English


Admission is free, but please regiser before 28 September via the link below:

Register now