Humanitarian assistance to Sudan

No.: 33/03

On 17 February Minister of International Development Hilde F. Johnson announced that Norway is allocating NOK 24 million to the UN Consolidated Appeal for Sudan for 2003.

The money will go to support the UN's humanitarian efforts in Sudan and will assist the implementation of the MoU of 15 October 2002, which provides for unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas of the country. "As well as alleviating distress, this will highlight the positive consequences of the peace process and thus strengthen it," said the minister.

The main focus of Norwegian humanitarian assistance to Sudan in 2003 will be to support the peace process by fully integrating humanitarian assistance with peace and reconciliation measures and more long-term development measures.

Notes for editors

The humanitarian situation in Sudan in 2002 was characterised by fresh flows of internally displaced persons fleeing from the intensified hostilities between the parties, especially in the Western Upper Nile/Unity State, Bahr El Ghazal and East Equatoria. At the same time access for humanitarian organisations became considerably worse.

The parties to the conflict, the SPLM/A and the government of Sudan, agreed on 15 October on a temporary cease-fire. When the parties concluded their negotiations on 18 November 2002, this MoU was extended until 31 March 2003. The MOU included an obligation to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to the entire country.

Norway is supporting the peace negotiations, which are being headed by a regional organisation called the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and participates in the negotiations as an observer together with the US, the UK, Italy, the UN and the AU.

The peace negotiations on Sudan have been going on since 17 June 2002, and the third round ended on 6 February. The negotiations are expected to resume on 1 March. So far they have resulted in agreement on the Machakos Protocol, which was signed on 20 July 2002. The protocol marked a breakthrough as regards the clarification of some of the key issues of the peace process, primarily the question of self-determination for Southern Sudan and the relationship between state and religion.

However, the MoU was violated a number of times between November and January, with serious humanitarian consequences. This was the main topic in the third round of negotiations, which concluded on 6 February. The parties agreed among other things on measures to intensify monitoring and verification of the implementation of the cease-fire.