Despite widespread insecurity, the loss of flight access to a number of key locations and a more complex working relationship with parties to the conflict, Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) maintained relatively extensive access to populations in need during 1995. The overall number of approved locations increased from the 77 destinations made available through the May 1994 Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) Agreement to, at one point, an unprecedented total of 115.
Among key interventions most visibly successful in 1994/95 were those in the household food security sector and ongoing OLS activities in the health, water, education and livestock sectors, which contributed to a general improvement in humanitarian conditions in areas where OLS was present.
However, increasing fragmentation of the southern factions, and the rise of semi-autonomous militia leaders and extensive in-fighting, caused major disruptions to relief activities during the past year. Similarly, Government military activity has also seriously disrupted relief activities in certain areas.
There were more than 40 evacuations of relief workers from locations in southern Sudan from January to November 1995, with varying degrees of danger involved for relief personnel. In some places, such as northern Bahr-el-Ghazal and large areas of Upper Nile, OLS (southern sector) had not resumed operations by mid-November 1995. Moreover, an alarming trend developed in 1994/95 towardss abductions of relief personnel and hostage-taking for political ends, mainly by southern factions and militia.
During the first half of 1995, the number of flight clearances denied by the Government increased. By June, OLS was regularly denied flight access to a monthly average of 12 locations. Moreover, in the latter half of 1995, lack of clearances, mainly by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), prevented the delivery of food and non-food relief to populations along the river corridors. In addition, protracted negotiations with the Government failed to lead to clearance for an OLS train to carry food and non-food relief assistance to war-affected areas of northern Bahr-el-Ghazal.
Failure of the warring parties to provide the necessary clearances for OLS barge activities in 1995 constrained UNICEF's ability to access up to 126,000 children under five years of age in the river corridors. However, over 41,000 children under five years were immunised for measles and the first dose of polio between January and June 1995. Basic outpatient clinic services have also been provided to populations which would otherwise be bereft of any regular assistance. UNICEF views the barge programme as a crucial delivery mechanism for EPI and related mobile PHC services for populations least serviced by OLS.
From WFP's side, there were only four barge convoys during 1995. The first barge convoy delivered 390 MTs to the lower Sobat area. Two additional barge convoys (carrying full WFP/UNICEF assessment teams covering health, nutrition, education and household food security sectors) delivered 2,926 MTs to Juba and Tonga/Fanjak. A fourth convoy to the Renk-Malakal departed Kosti in November carrying 450 MTs. Some 500,000 beneficiaries in 76 locations were served by these operations.
Some positive developments had, however, been registered before the mid-year mark, in the form of a special cease-fire between the Government and rebel movements mediated by former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, in consultation with IGADD. During two successive cease-fire periods (from late March to late July), relief agencies were able to take advantage of opportunities for accelerating primary health care programmes, despite sporadic fighting. Further efforts to renew the cease-fire in late July did not meet with success.
For 1995, the United Nations Agencies requested, through the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal, an amount of US$ 101.1 million to address the needs of an identified 1.2 million war-affected persons requiring food assistance. The United Nations Appeal also included non-food aid programmes targeting a total of 4.25 million accessible war-affected persons.
Regrettably, the early part of 1995 showed only a limited response to the US$ 101.1 million requested for the year. By mid-July 1995 a considerable shortfall (73 percent of the total requirements) seriously compromised the United Nations's ability to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis. By the end of December, circumstances had somewhat improved, as 50.1 percent of total requested funds had been pledged.
The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs for the Sudan has continued his activities on behalf of OLS with representatives of the Government, concerned southern movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the donor community. In December 1994, relations among United Nations Agencies, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and the Government of Sudan were reviewed during a mission to Khartoum. These talks paved the way for discussions in Geneva on the 1995 United Nations Appeal with donor representatives in January 1995. A similar mission, though more focused on the situation of INGOs, took place in April 1995 and was preparatory to a second donor consultation held at Geneva in early May 1995, which focused on the lack of donor funding for the 1995 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal.
In June, the Special Envoy returned to Khartoum to address the repercussions of the "Pariang incident", which eventually led the Government of Sudan to call for immediate, unilateral structural adjustments to OLS. Subsequently, as a result of discussions between representatives of the Government of Sudan and the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), it was concluded that the proposed OLS Review (cf. below) would afford the opportunity for an impartial examination of these concerns.
Two further missions took place in 1995 with the objective of establishing an agenda and, if possible, a date for the resumption of proximity talks on humanitarian access among the United Nations and the parties to the conflict in Sudan. Whereas a first mission in late July/early August was not entirely conclusive, a second mission in early November resulted in the submission of preliminary discussion points from all sides and a commitment to forward the dialogue in the near future.
The Special Envoy was slated to return to the Sudan in early 1996 to discuss more detailed agenda items and hopefully establish a tentative date for resumption of talks. The last proximity talks, under the auspices of IGADD, occurred in May 1994 and brought forth an agreement which was instrumental in expanding the field and scope of OLS operations. The prospect of further negotiations focusing on the unresolved issue of access in conflict zones was, however, seriously affected when regional peace negotiations mediated by IGADD stalled in September 1994. Since that time, the Friends of IGADD group has been working to re-establish a forum for continuing peace negotiations.
Although no further progress was made towardss the resumption of peace negotiations, a symposium on the fundamental problems of the Sudan, organised in September 1995 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in the framework of its Culture of Peace Programme, and in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), brought senior officials of the Government and the rebel factions together in Barcelona, with positive results.
Towards the end of 1995 both the Government of Sudan and the southern movements called for structural reforms of OLS to rectify perceived disparities between the execution of the OLS mandate and the actual mandate itself. The reforms, called for by all sides, revolved around similar issues concerning the OLS principles of transparency, neutrality and accountability, and more specifically focused on the control of OLS access.
In late November, for reasons relating to the escalation of fighting in the South, the Government of Sudan imposed a suspension of all United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGO aircraft flights into or over southern Sudan. Although the suspension was lifted in early December, an exclusion zone was established south of Juba. The suspension and similar denials of clearances and access from the parties to the conflict underscore the urgent need for continued measures to bring the parties into dialogue.
A major independent review of OLS, originally planned to begin in August 1995, was re-scheduled for the period November 1995 through June 1996. The Review will serve to analyse key questions regarding the OLS mandate, coordination mechanisms, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness.
As per the established OLS methodology, United Nations Appeal programmes are developed on the basis of the findings from a number of annual joint assessment exercises. These include: assessment missions for both the OLS northern and southern sectors; the December joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Food Programme (WFP) Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission; other specific sectoral analyses formulated over the course of the year (such as the FAO/United Nations Children's Fund-UNICEF household food security assessment and World Health Organization (WHO) assessment missions in July and in September).
Based on a combination of the OLS and FAO/WFP assessments, it is projected that the overall food supply situation will worsen during 1996. It is therefore foreseen that further relief interventions in southern Sudan and the transitional zone will be necessary in 1996. Some 2.1 million beneficiaries will be targeted at various times of the year, for varying durations and ration levels, in order to sustain these widely dispersed populations through the 1996 harvest season. In this regard, it is projected that relief needs would peak in the lean season period between April and August 1996. The overall food aid needs are projected at 61,395 MTs, including a small contingency to cater for unforeseen food shortfalls occasioned by fighting and new displacements.
Overall, the general scope of OLS activities in 1996 will remain very much aligned with last year's programmes. However, some special areas of concern to OLS, pertaining notably to conflict-resolution and the protection/dissemination of humanitarian principles, are reflected in new project proposals for the 1996 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal. For 1996, United Nations organisations are requesting through the present Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Sudan, a total of US$ 107,574,977 for 28 projects in seven priority areas. These include:
- Emergency food aid for an estimated
2.1 million war-affected persons in the South, within the transitional
zone and Khartoum, in addition to the establishment of a contingency food
aid reserve to assist additional persons displaced by hostilities.
- Nutrition, health and water activities
will target an estimated affected population of 4.25 million accessible,
war-affected persons, of which 3.6 million are in the southern states,
350,000 in the transitional zone and 300,000 in camps around Khartoum.
The number of children under five years of age within this figure
of 4.25 million persons is estimated to be 850,000.
- Agriculture, livestock and fishing activities
focus on the emergency supply of food production inputs (seeds, hand tools,
fishing gear) to 220,000 war-affected households in the geographical areas
of Equatoria, Upper Nile, Bahr-el-Ghazal plus the transitional zone; an
emergency supply of drugs and vaccines for control and prevention of livestock
diseases (for pastoralists in southern Sudan and in the transitional zone);
provision of seeds to 205,000 farming households in drought-prone areas
of Kordofan and Darfur; and finally, inputs in the form of seeds, tools,
veterinary and fishing supplies and equipment to 440,000 households in
southern Sudan and the transitional zone.
- Other relief activities are designed
to provide: basic educational services to 1.3 million primary-school-age
children; specialised treatment and care for 10,000 children in difficult
circumstances (mainly street children and unaccompanied minors); relief
and shelter for 40,000 displaced families; logistics for various non-food
interventions (primary health care, education, household food security)
for 700,000 persons in the Juba, Tonga-Fanjak, Renk-Malakal and Sobat corridors;
information to promote awareness of and adherence to humanitarian principles;
reintegration efforts for female-headed households; conflict-resolution
- Refugees and Returnees projects will
include: multi-sectoral assistance to 312,000 refugees of various origins;
voluntary repatriation of 80,000 Eritrean refugees; voluntary repatriation
of 30,000 Ethiopian refugees.
- Inter-Agency Coordination and Support
will include the activities of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordination
Unit (UNHCU) in Khartoum plus capacity building projects for both the Government
department overseeing humanitarian assistance activities and the humanitarian
assistance offices of the principal southern movements.
- Monitoring and Evaluation relates to
activities intended to improve the quality and flow of information feed-back
for OLS programme planning and external relations components.
The attached summary of project activities provides a comprehensive listing of the 28 projects comprising the 1996 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Sudan. The table categorises projects by United Nations Agency (FAO, UNDP, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO), indicating funding requirements for each project. Tables II and III provide funding summaries by major sector and by Agency, respectively.
Table I: 1996 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal For Sudan (Listings of Project Activities - By Agency)
Table II: Total Funding Requirements for the 1996 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan (By sector)
Table III: Total Funding Requirements for the 1996 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan (By Agency)