BICC Report

Addressing Regional Dynamics of Armed Conflict

Outcomes of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Integrated DDR Training Group, 6-7 July 2023 in Kenya

The regionalisation of armed conflicts and groups, including ethnic ties, alliances between armed groups and the nexus between conflict, terrorism and organised crime, continue to pose a threat to regional stability and hamper regional cohesion. Moreover, the interlinkages of these threats with cascading risks, such as the reverberations of climate change and existing vulnerabilities, are particularly evident today in fragile and conflict-affected settings across the African continent. Sub- Saharan Africa continues to epitomise the interplay between these threats, with the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and Horn of Africa regions experiencing multi- dimensional crises and requiring multi-dimensional and regional responses.

Zooming in on the nature of armed groups in contemporary conflicts, including those designated as terrorist organisations, it shows that the complexity of their operational capacities and structures is growing. Non-state armed groups no longer operate in caves and have grown to control territory and exercise governance functions that were traditionally a state’s strict purview. Today, many of these groups aspire to—and succeed in—creating new forms of transnational statehood that lie outside the existing international legal order and challenge the very notion of the nation-state.

Additionally, it is not uncommon for many of them to engage in trans-border illicit activities, as outlined in the previous sections. The evolution of armed groups is thus an integral part of understanding regional conflict dynamics. Viewing armed groups and organisations as static actors that do not change or evolve over time paints a very narrow picture of the dynamics and complexity of the landscape in which armed groups operate today. The prominence of certain types of group structures has shifted, and it is possible to observe transformations from centralised group structures to decentralised, community-embedded and transnational armed groups.

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Publications

Amin, N., & Berks, M., & Breitung, C., & Raafat, L., & Philipsenburg, A.

Addressing Regional Dynamics of Armed Conflict - Connecting DDR Policy, Research and Practice

bicc , Bonn (2024)

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Staff

Dr Claudia Breitung

Technical Advisor/Senior Researcher

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Milena Berks

Researcher / Project Officer

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Dr Boubacar Haidara

Senior Researcher

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Dr Oyewole Oginni

Researcher

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Amelie Philipsenburg

Student Assistant \ Sahel project

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