What was the war about? Have its causes been addressed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)? What are the future prospects for the South after the tragic death of John Garang?
The Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) for Sudan has broken new ground in post-conflict planning by working with key local and international actors to develop a strategic vision for reconstruction and recovery.
In an interview in Khartoum, Dr Taj es-Sir Mahjoub, co-leader of the Government of Sudan’s Core Team during the peace negotiations and State Minister at the Ministry of Labour and Administrative Reform, spoke about the Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) with Dr Christoph T Jaeger, recruited by UNDP to lead JAM’s Cluster 2 (Governance and the Rule of Law).
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement represents a major opportunity for positive change and sustainable peace in Sudan. History shows, however, that the potential for peace breaking down is great. Continued engagement of the international community could prove crucial.
The CPA offers a unique opportunity to resolve one of Africa’s most complicated and protracted civil wars and provide a new basis for national unity based on the free will of the Sudanese people. Will the CPA be sustained? Can it survive threats from Islamic extremists and the impact of the untimely death of Dr John Garang?
Building the capacity of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) is the latest challenge in the transformation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) from rebel movement to governing partner.
The Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) Sudan was an open and consultative process – and has generated an impressive archive for students of post-war reconstruction – but has paid insufficient attention to justice and failed to offer a safety net for marginalised households.
Land policy issues are not fully addressed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. As IDPs return home, and lay claim to land and water use rights, disputes could threaten stability in South Sudan, the Three Areas, Darfur and eastern Sudan.
Some 400 representatives from more than 60 countries and organisations met in Oslo in April 2005 for a donors’ conference on Sudan. Six months on, have expectations been met?
Protocols on wealth and power sharing are at the heart of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and are the key building blocks of the process to build a new Sudan.
If the international community does not confront the hard issues – ending ruling party support for its proxy southern militias, challenging corruption, fostering democracy and broadening participation and transparency (particularly in relation to oil revenues) – Sudan’s respite from war may be short-lived.
The peace agreement and the establishment of a government in South Sudan pose new challenges to established means of NGO coordination.
The main protagonists in Sudan’s conflicts have committed to peace but the obstacles to building good governance are enormous.
Despite continuing insecurity, IDPs in Darfur are starting to return home. UNHCR and other agencies involved in their assistance and protection must ensure that the principles of voluntariness, safety and dignity are adhered to.
The intensive support given by the international community to assist the spontaneous return of IDPs from the camp at Mabia highlights the enormity of the task of providing similar humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousand also on the move home.
The issues involved in supporting the return of internally displaced Dinka Bor communities highlight the complex, and often ignored, challenges of addressing the consequences of South-South conflict.
Urban planning policies – which have led to demolition of IDP housing in and around Khartoum – highlight the need for Sudan to adopt specific IDP legislation and to find durable solutions for those displaced southerners who do not want to leave Khartoum.
With the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement many IDPs are opting to return to their homes or relocate to other areas. They urgently need accurate, reliable information before doing so.
Lack of resources and infrastructure, the volatile security situation and the absence of state structures pose serious threats to the human rights of returnees and IDPs.
The International Rescue Committee and UNDP have embarked on an ambitious training programme to raise awareness of human rights amongst law-enforcement, judiciary and security officials and restore trust between citizens and statutory and customary authorities in Darfur.
Sudanese women are urging the international community and Sudan’s male leaders to do more to promote the inclusion of women in peace building and reconciliation.
As news of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) reached Sudan, women’s ululations filled the air in celebration as war-weary communities breathed in the sweet scent of peace and renewed hope. However, much needs to be done to ensure women are the heart of the post-conflict reconstruction agenda.
In Sudan, as in Afghanistan, the international community is hoping to tie aid to an agenda of gender equality. But have lessons from working with women and gender programmes been learned?
Huge numbers of young people in south Sudan are growing up away from their parents. Research findings suggest many would rather live outside unsupportive family structures and that they are increasingly more dependent on each other for support and comfort than on adults.
Expanding access to education for boys and girls is a critical Millennium Development Goal and peace-building challenge. In southern Sudan, as in other post-conflict societies, many girls remain excluded from schooling opportunities which could help develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to build a peaceful society
Education flourished in refugee camps but young people repatriating to south Sudan are frustrated by a serious shortage of educational opportunities, particularly in secondary education.
While the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is the foundation on which Sudan can grow as a peaceful nation, there is an urgent need to complement institutional reforms with sustainable bottom-up approaches to peace. A school in Eastern Equatoria is showing the way.
Enabling the media to give Sudanese citizens a voice and help them access information required for sustainable livelihoods will require a regulatory paradigm shift and investment in infrastructure and human capacity.
In Sudan, large projects, pipelines and agricultural schemes have created social and ethnic tensions and fueled conflicts contributing to humanitarian disasters. As the peace process triggers expectations of new infrastructure investment, will human rights and the environment be considered?
The Fleet Forum, a group of more than 40 aid agencies, is working to slash by 25% the annual $800 million cost of running some 60,000 vehicles. Darfur has shown the need to work together to achieve more cost-efficient and safe humanitarian transport.
Although challenges remain, the Mexico Plan of Action has made significant progress in addressing refugee and IDP protection needs in Latin America.
Stateless persons do not register on the international community’s radar screen. Recent research suggests that 11 million people lack citizenship or effective nationality. This is a gross violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that every person “has a right to a nationality”.
UNHCR is working to prevent domestic, sexual, physical and emotional violence affecting women in refugee camps along the border between Thailand and Burma.
Misguided policies have displaced millions in the seven states of north-east India. The needs of environmental, development and conflict-induced IDPs have been ignored. India lacks a national IDP policy and the government systematically refers to internally displaced persons as ‘migrants’.
In rural Zambia refugees and host communities are working together to move from relief dependence to self reliance. Could UNHCR’s Zambia Initiative (ZI) be a model for other countries struggling to cope with the protracted presence of refugees?
The Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) has come a long way from its initial coverage of three countries. A decade later, IRIN is a multimedia news service producing daily and analytical reports, news footage and radio broadcasts spanning Africa, Asia and the Middle East.