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News: EU pledges 16M euro to Ethiopia DDR program for estimated 370,000 ex-combatants

Addis Abeba – The European Union today pledged 16 million Euro for National Rehabilitation Commission’s (NRC) works that seek to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate an estimated 370,000 ex-combatants in eight regions in Ethiopia.

The EU made the funding available at a signing ceremony today at the Ministry of Finance in the presence of State Minister Semerta Sewasew, Ambassador Teshome Toga NRC Commissioner, Roland Kobia, Ambassador of the European Union to Ethiopia.

The UNDP is managing the DDR program in Ethiopia as one of five windows within a wider Peace Support Program that has been rolled out in Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions with support from Germany, Japan and UNDP’s Funding Windows, among others.

The Ethiopian government is “committed to cover 15% of the National Demobilization and Reintegration Program,” according to State Minister Semerta. She expressed the government’s hope that “EU’s contribution would invite other potential partners that are showing interests” to support the NRC.

Although NRC’s first national consultation on demobilization and reintegration was held in Mekelle on 10 March last year, Getachew Reda, President of Tigray Interim Regional Administration said in a recent media interview that the Tigray regional state was waiting for the full implementation the program for about 270,000 of its ex-combatants, making the region a scene of the biggest DDR program in Ethiopia.

The NRC was established by the Ethiopian government in November 2022 for a period of two years to assist with demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants across the country. But lack of funding to cover the initial estimated cost of more than 29.7 billion Br remain the commission’s biggest challenges.

“I hope and expect other friends and partners to do good at their political commitment as we are finalizing our preparation to launch the first Demobilization,” Ambassador Teshome said after the signing.

“The EU support to DDR comes from our firm belief that Ethiopia possesses the capabilities and potential to find pathways for dialogue and consensus, and ultimately for peace and progress in all areas, politically, economically and socially,” EU’s Ambassador Roland Kobia said today. AS

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