Sudan

Quarterly report of the United Nations Emergency Mine Action Programme in Sudan: Oct to Dec 2002

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INTRODUCTION
This reporting period has seen the UN Emergency Mine Action Programme in Sudan consolidate and develop a National mine action strategy. Key achievements include: establishment of an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) evaluation/accreditation area in Nuba Mountains, accreditation and deployment of an International mine clearance NGO, development of a Detailed Plan with full co-operation and endorsement from both GoS and SPLA, key Sudanese management elements in the National Mine Action Office, commenced construction of office buildings in Rumbek and deployment of IMSMA within South Sudan.

The Programme is now in a position to meet the even greater demands that will be placed upon it by the resumption of the Machakos Talks and the continued increased opportunities created by the associated Cessation of Hostilities.

MACHAKOS PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

Following a round of shuttle diplomacy by the IGAD special envoy, the two sides returned to the previously stalled Machakos Talks on 13 October and signed a memorandum of understanding on 15 October, in which they committed themselves to: cease hostilities in all areas, ensure a military stand-down, freeze media wars, and allow unimpeded humanitarian access to all locations.

Three provisions of the abovementioned MOU were of particular significance in laying ground for Sudan’s future. Item 2 called for a "period of tranquillity" and "cessation of hostilities/military stand down;" Item 4 obliged both parties "to establish a channel of communication between them" in order to facilitate implementation of the MOU; and in Item 5, both parties agreed to "allow unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas and for people in need, in "accordance with the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) Agreement." These aspects all combine to place an increased demand on the requirement for mine/UXO assessment and survey. A general ceasefire and subsequent peace negotiations will further require immediate mine/UXO clearance operations to anticipate the increased levels of population movement and humanitarian access.

THE PEACE SCENARIO

A Machakos II peace agreement will likely result in a cessation of hostilities and commencement of the six-month pre-interim transition process. The ceasefire would be monitored or observed by an international structure.

Several possible scenarios on power sharing and administration are envisaged; the most commonly assumed structure is that having a joint GOS/SPLM Central Authority with separately administered GOS northern and SPLM southern territories. The UN System in Sudan will work toward a common country programme irrespective of the kind of political system that may emerge from Machakos. However, joint approval by both sides will be required and management and implementation will require UN Agency structures reflect those of the administering bodies developed.

The bulk of OLS operations may be shifted from Nairobi and Lokichoggio to bases within southern Sudan, perhaps to Rumbek, which is the headquarters of the SRRA (SPLM relief wing), and/or Juba, if the latter were to become the seat of a southern administration, where staff can provide more direct and uninterrupted support to the local administrative structure. Over time, such a shift would be expected to significantly reduce delivery costs as long as extensive mine assessment, survey and clearance was conducted immediately to allow free road movement and delivery of humanitarian aid.

IDPs and refugees will begin to return home (initially limited to people assessing the situation or making contact with separated family). The decision to return will largely depend on what is available in home areas, however, if only 25% IDPs and refugees return over a one-year period, this could mean 1,000,000 people on the move in southern Sudan. Landmines will prohibit quick use of some roads and will endanger people returning to fields and other areas that have been mined. A large-scale mine-action programme that incorporates immediate needs survey and clearance supported by a complimentary mine risk education programme will be required almost immediately.

NUBA MOUNTAINS

The 2nd meeting of the Nuba Mountains Peace and Conflict Transformation (NMPACT) programme was held in the newly established camp of Al Baty, some 5 km north of Um Sibda. This vital cross line meeting of both GoS and SPLM based authorities and organisations was again made possible through the technical support of the UN mine action advisors; allowing both the area occupied by the camp and the proposed airstrip locations to be surveyed and assessed as free from a mine/UXO hazard. The previously mine/UXO cleared route between Um Sibda and Tangol was also critical. The UN STA attended the meeting and accepted an invitation to formally join the NMPACT Partners Forum.

Following the recent visit of UNMAS and UNOPS HQ personnel it was agreed to look into the feasibility of establishing a mine action information office in Kadugli town centre. The UN TA has now successfully sourced a suitable building and a small proposal to support this requirement was developed. The Government of Switzerland has generously agreed to fund this initiative and implementation will commence in January.

To enable verify the effectiveness of Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) teams planning to deploy an evaluation and accreditation area has been constructed. A number of live mines have now been secured from both GoS and SPLA in Nuba Mountains and the newly arrived Ops/QA Officer has commenced laying them in the ground to create a valid EDD evaluation and accreditation area. The mines will lie in the ground for an optimum minimum period of 2-3 months to allow them to "weather" and take on the characteristics of long term buried mines.

In the interim the MACO will recognise the accreditation of EDD successfully evaluated and deployed operationally in other theatres. For dogs that have not been previously accredited in another theatre, the MACO may authorise their employment following a period of acclimatisation and training by the respective organisations; providing that all such dogs are later formally evaluated/accredited as soon as possible in March 2003.

NATIONAL MINE ACTION STRATEGY

Following the discussions during a co-ordination meeting on 24 October, a second draft of the National Guidelines and Technical Standards has been produced. This second draft was published on 26 October 2002 and accepted for use as an operational document within GoS controlled Sudan. A third draft will be produced following consultations with the appropriate SPLM authorities/organisations and then a subsequent Final Publication produced, subject to normal review and amendment.

Following a number of meetings and discussions with both GoS and SPLM and national mine action strategy and approach is now being developed. A Detailed Plan, which focuses on the operational aspects of the Tri-partite GoS/SPLM/UN MOU, has been prepared in full consultation and with the co-operation of both the GoS and SPLA and will finalised during January.

At the request of both parties and to establish equity, build trust and confidence on both sides and ensure that all Mine Action activities are developed in accordance with the principal of Sudanese Ownership and to ensure that an element of joint planning and combined resolution of potential conflict issues may be achieved, a three person technical and operational liaison team has been established. This consists of the technical focal point individuals from both GoS and SPLM counterpart bodies and the UN STA.

The Humanitarian Aid Commission, formally an entity of the GoS Ministry for International Co-operation has now been reorganised as a ministry in its own right and a representative appointed to work within the National Mine Action Office (NMAO). A representative of the SCBL is also now formally assigned to the NMAO and the UN STA will work closely with both.

SPLM/SOUTH SUDAN

The TA in SPLM/South Sudan has now deployed into Rumbek and commenced establishing a joint office with OCHA. The construction of an office compound is ongoing and is expected to be complete by 1 January 2003.

Ongoing activities include continuance of mine/UXO assessment trips and building a logistic support dossier to assist any future clearance operation regarding the Lokichoggio /Kapoeta/Rumbek supply route. Discussions with SPLM regarding the provision of a suitable counterpart have been held and SPLM agree to identify an appropriate candidate as soon as possible.

The Information Management System for Mine Action is now installed and available in South Sudan and previously gathered data is currently being entered. The System will be located in the Rumbek, Mine Action Co-ordination Office and will be exclusive to SPLM controlled areas.

MINE RISK EDUCATION

The aim of the MRE programme in Sudan is to integrate MRE wherever possible into prioritisation, marking and clearance process, as well to ensure that the MRE component is integrated into IMSMA. MRE coordination at Khartoum level is now fully established and the MRE-Advisory Group, consisting of UN, GoS, Sudan Red Crescent and two NGO’s, is now fully functional.

The UNICEF MRE Co-ordinator, in co-operation with the newly established MRE Advisory Group, has now developed Terms of Reference for the planned needs assessment/analysis. The aim of the assessment is to identify who is most at risk and the extent of the risk in order to develop an appropriate MRE strategy, messages and communication tools. The assessment will also be used as an opportunity to build the capacity of the local research institutions and NGOs and will commence in early 2003.

The Assessment will be conducted in partnership with an International Agency/Consultant, yet to be identified, who will support a Sudanese National Research Institute. The field interviewers will be drawn from existing NGO’s, community based organisations and local institutions. Planned areas to commence are Nuba Mountains, Juba and Kassala State.

In co-operation with the UN IMSMA Officer, the MRE coordinator and MRE-Advisory Group are working to simplify the existing IMSMA forms for use in the field with MRE teams. The Dangerous Area Report, Incident Report and Victim Report, have now been simplified and translated into Arabic for the use of the MRE teams. The IMSMA database has been presented to the MRE partners in order to familiarise them and highlight the benefit of proper use of the relevant forms. Training on correct usage of the forms is planned for mid January 2003.

VICTIM ASSISTANCE

Victim Assistance to both landmine/UXO survivors and victims will form a core component of UN mine action strategy in Sudan. Both the National Mine Action Office in Khartoum and the Southern Sudan Mine Action Co-ordination Office, will work to collect and collate all mine/UXO casualty data and through use of IMSMA identify areas of high incidence. Such valid and objective information will then allow WHO, and other interested partners, to provide and/or enhance first line, emergency, medical care in those areas. This data may also be used to assist with identifying suitable, centralised, locations for rehabilitation and prostheses facilities.

ADVOCACY

The GoS are a signatory to the Ottawa Convention and the SPLM have made commitments to comply with the Geneva Call, a Non States Actors parallel, instrument subjecting themselves to the same obligations on mine use as States Parties to the Ottawa Convention. Many of the political and military hurdles affecting GoS ratification have now been resolved and there is a growing recognition, within both government and military circles, that it is now appropriate to reinforce their intent as signatories.

It is anticipated that ratification will immediately follow a positive outcome from the Machakos Peace Talks; if this is so, then the International Community should be fully ready to support such commitment and strengthen Sudan's ability to address its mine/UXO problem.

CURRENT FUNDING

Funding for the Emergency Mine Action Programme is currently provided through the, UNMAS managed, Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action (VTF). The table below shows the current status of the VTF for Sudan.


Current Status of VTF Funding for Sudan for March 2002 to March 2003
Donor
Amount
USD$
Usage
Japan
400,000
Coordination
Sweden
250,000
Coordination
Germany
103,627
Coordination
Germany
63,280
IMSMA
Germany
300,114
Operations - Core assets (combined EDD and Manual Clearance Teams for Nuba Mountains)
USA
77,242
IMSMA, software, hardware, etc.
Switzerland
Pledge (45,440)
Coordination (Nuba Mountains)
UK
19,920
IMSMA consultant
UK
110,999
Establish National Mine Action Office
UK
Pledge (approx. 536,000)
Operations - Core assets (combined EDD and Manual Clearance Teams for Nuba Mountains)
Sweden
69,759
Operations - Core assets (combined EDD and Manual Clearance Teams for Nuba Mountains)
Italy
Pledge (approx. 166,800)
Coordination
VTF
340,000
Coordination - Unearmarked funds from VTF
VTF
29,999
Coordination - Unearmarked funds from VTF
VTF
139,999
Coordination - Unearmarked funds from VTF
Total Received
1,835,180.00


Total Pledges
Approx. 817,999.00

Whilst funding was initially provided to establish a small information gathering capability only, increased opportunities arising from the Burkenstock/Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement, the Machakos process and the resulting Cessation of Hostilities have been acted upon and the Programme rapidly expanded to include operational mine/UXO clearance, development of a National Strategy and full cross conflict partnership of both GoS and SPLA. As a result the programme is now fully operational, conducting clearance where possible and actively preparing for a post conflict mine action programme. All initial funds have now been expended and the Programme can sustain itself through to march 2003 only. Continued funding is required in the following key areas:

a) Maintain national co-ordination and cross-conflict peace building capacity.

b) Continue and expand current mine/UXO clearance operational capacity, particularly in Nuba Mountains.

c) Commence mobilisation of survey and clearance assets to immediately open key routes following any Machakos negotiated general ceasefire.

MINE/UXO CLEARANCE ORGANISATIONS

Nuba Mountains Solidarity Aboard (NMSA)

NMSA have initiated a proposal to develop a local mine clearance capacity in Nuba Mountains and have completed some basic training activities from their own resources.

Sudan Landmine Information Response Initiative/Landmine Action-UK (SLIRI/LMA-UK)

SLIRI have opened a number of information gathering Sector Operational Centres in GoS controlled Sudan and also an office in Nairobi.

LMA have now completed the renovation of the training school in Tilo and are working to resolve outstanding equipment issues. A dialogue with tribal leaders and local government in South Kordofan State, Nuba Mountains, has been pursued regarding an appropriate source of recruitment and JASMAR are no longer an implementing partner.

Both SLIRI and LMA activities are currently suspended pending resolution of significant issues with GoS.

JASMAR

Personnel from JASMAR recently attended an International Mine Action Conference held in France at the French military engineer school. They have recently completed a training workshop in collaboration with the Sudanese military engineers. 15 personnel are trained in associated mine action disciplines including first aid and casualty management. This training was conducted with support from ICRC and the spirit of collaboration between a national NGO, ICRC and the military engineers is to be commended.

Danish Church Aid

DCA have completed their logistic move from Eritrea to Sudan and are now operational in the Nuba Mountains. They have successfully developed a joint working partnership with SPLA based NGO, OSIL and SCBL on the GoS side. They will deploy EDD teams to address the priority route clearance objectives and jointly train a small capacity of local deminers from both GoS and SPLA groups.

A key meeting between DCA and their Sudanese implementing partners, both GoS and SPLA, was held in Um Sibda on 2 December. Of major interest was the discussion of the actual implementation of the joint training, deployment and peace-building component of their initiative. The success of this discussion now enables DCA to fully commence all activities and they are expected to be operational in early January. A small team of Kosovo Albanian deminers has been deployed temporarily to enable the EDD Teams to start work whilst local personnel are selected and trained. Personnel for GoS areas will be supplied by JASMAR and in SPLA areas by OSIL.

DCA were successfully accredited as a mine/UXO clearance organisation and licensed to conduct operations on 9 January 2003.

OPERATIONAL FUNDING REQUIREMENTS

The UK and German governments have responded quickly to the need to deploy operational survey/clearance assets in the Nuba Mountains before the end of this current dry season. Their combined commitment of $800,000 has allowed the UN to deploy combined EDD and Manual Clearance Teams to Nuba Mountains for the period January through June 2003. This capacity will be used to systematically verify and reduce the suspected mined areas and prove and open key routes throughout the area. Should this minimum basic capacity be further enhanced and maintained it is expected that the problem of mine/UXO contamination within the Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement area may be contained and neutralised within 2 years.

To achieve the objective of eliminating the impact from landmines in the Nuba Mountains over a two year period and opening the key logistic route in South Sudan over a 12 month period will require the following indicative costs:


Operational Funding Requirement

Coordination
Technical Survey Team
Explosive Detection
Dog Teams
USD$
Total
Duration
Outcome
Nuba Mtns
400,000
900,000
1,500,000

(800,000) Now received

2,800,000
2 year
Freedom of movement, access to arable land and basic life sustaining services, confidence in validity of Ceasefire.
Lokichoggio/ Kapoeta
350,000
600,000
944,000
1,894,000
1 year
Access to key logistic route, less reliance on air transport, reduction in cost of humanitarian aid delivery, increase in output

The most suitable and flexible mechanism for providing funding of core assets and co-ordination costs is through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nation Mine Action Service (UNMAS). The funds will be subsequently allocated by UNMAS through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which is executing the Programme on behalf of UNMAS. The contracting process for the provision of these services will be fully in accordance with the UN rules and regulations, and will be conducted in an open and transparent manner.

SUMMARY

The UN Emergency Mine Action Programme is now in its Consolidation Phase and has a pressing requirement for funding to both sustain current activity and develop mine clearance operations through the coming dry season period and into year 2003.

The UN Emergency Mine Action Programme has achieved a position to provide appropriate Mine Action support to Sudan on both sides of the conflict, in accordance with the signed MOU and Detailed Plan. The National Mine Action Office is functional, with Field Offices in Nuba Mountains and a South Sudan, Mine Action Co-ordination Office in Rumbek. Mine/UXO clearance operations have re-commenced in the Nuba Mountains and advanced planning for operations in South Sudan to support a Machakos negotiated ceasefire/peace settlement is yielding specific requirements and identifying potential obstacles to overcome.

This Quarterly Report along with the Outline Concept Plan and all previous reports and associated information may be found on the website www.mineaction.org.

C J Clark
Senior Technical Advisor
Sudan