First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all supporters of Mine Action in Sudan for their continuous assistance up to date. As the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed and our country will move towards economic recovery and sustainable peace, we are ready to accelerate the Mine Action activities to support the implementation of the agreement and to assist smooth return of refugees/IDPs and effective delivery of humanitarian aid.
In cooperation with the National Mine Action Office, United Nations and other Mine Action partners, we will commit ourselves to the goals described in the National Mine Action Strategy Framework in order to make Sudan mine-free. Although mine/UXO problems in South Sudan will be a big challenge for us, we are hopeful that we will be able to overcome with extensive efforts and continuous support. I wish this newsletter will be one of the useful tools to connect us, and your feedbacks and suggestions are always welcome.
Programme Highlights (January 2005)
1) The long-expected Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on 9 January 2005, and as a result requirements for Mine Action activities are higher than ever mainly due to a rapid return of refugees/IDPs, expansion of humanitarian assistance and planned deployment of the UN Peace Support Mission.
2) Although limited demining activities conducted during January due to Christmas and Eid stand down periods, RONCO and Danish Church Aid (DCA) teams opened up two routes (Kauda-Heiban and Frandella-Salamat) which are vital for aid delivery and encouraging economic activities between these villages. Landmine Action UK (LMA) recruited two additional teams and training of teams is scheduled in February in Kauda. Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) continued activities in Yei and Kapoeta, and Swiss Federation for Demining (FSD) Technical Survey teams in Nuba Mountain and Rumbek. MECHEM resumed the route verification operations to support future deployment of the UN mission in Sudan.
3) The National Mine Action Office (NMAO) continues to educate the Government of Sudan officials, and a presentation was made to the Military Observer Course of the Sudan Military College and Institute, to explain roles of the NMAO and UN, and the commitment to the Ottawa Treaty.
4) Since January 2005, the institutional and operational capacities of the NMAO, the NSMAD, and the Sudan Campaign to Ban Landmines (SCBL) have been strengthened through provisions of information and communication technology equipment, office and transportation machinery, and other essential supplies provide by UNDP.
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