Sudan: JAM Final Report Volume III - Cluster Reports


  1. Capacity Building and Institutional Development

2. Governance and Rule of Law

3. Economic Policy

4. Productive Sectors

5. Basic Social Services

6. Infrastructure

7. Livelihoods and Social Protection

8. Information and Statistics

9. The Three Areas


1. A sound institutional framework and adequate organizational and human capacity are necessary for sustained development, and of critical importance in a post-conflict situation. Capacity is required to help deliver the "peace dividend" in the form of basic social services, economic growth, improved equity and security leading to eradication of poverty. Essential capacity and institutions are devastated by prolonged conflict. This is the case throughout Sudan today, especially in state institutions but also in the private sector and in communities.

2. In Southern Sudan, many basic institutions and capacities have not existed for decades beyond the most rudimentary level. At the same time, local communities and the private sector have demonstrated considerable capacity to survive under the most difficult conditions -- a source of capacity that Sudan can tap into right away and which must not be lost in the rush to rebuild post-conflict Sudan and in the eagerness to deliver the peace dividend.

3. While less directly affected by the civil war, change will be just as important in the North -- at the centre in particular -- if the peace process is to succeed and the necessary conditions for equitable and sustainable development are to be established. This will require a political commitment on the part of the National Government (NG)1 to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as this calls for a more equitable sharing of power and resources, and for more accountable and responsive government generally -- not only vis-à-vis the South but also very importantly within the North. A commitment to democracy and good governance will also provide the starting point for its partnership with the international donor community in the fight against poverty. Without this basic foundation, all capacity building efforts will yield little or no results.

Delineating the Broad Challenge

4. "Institutional development" and "capacity building" are complex and critical topics relevant to all of the clusters. In the Sudan JAM context, the Capacity Building cluster has taken an approach that complements that of the other clusters. While the other clusters identify, plan and cost priority interventions in their respective fields, Cluster 1 focuses "horizontally" on critical elements of the broader public administration issues. These cross-cutting issues include, for example, the public service, government-wide systems for budgeting, accounting and procurement, corruption, the framework for decentralization, and the setting up of effective modes of local planning and service delivery -- these are required by all clusters/sectors but are planned and costed for in this report, while the sector-specific policies, programs, training, technical assistance, etc. are all covered in their respective Cluster reports.2

5. In light of the CPA -- and complementing the work of other clusters as noted above -- the following six broad areas are covered in detail in this report:

1. The Public Service;
2. Local Government & Service Delivery;
3. The Decentralization Framework;
4. Public Financial Management;
5. Public Procurement; and
6. Corruption.

6. Capacity building and institutional development cannot be achieved through purely technical interventions. For interventions to take hold, to be sustainable and to contribute to peace-building, an understanding of the broader political and social context is necessary. This dynamic is especially heightened in a post-conflict context. While there are huge challenges involved in setting up or reforming the basic systems and institutions in any context, the complexity and uncertainty of a post-conflict context has been considered in making the assessments and suggesting the interventions described in this report.

7. All of these areas entail major risks and opportunities for conflict and peace-building. Capacity building unavoidably entails distribution of current resources (by geographical area, ethnic group, political faction, etc.) and includes control over and distribution of future resources. The design of institutions and programs, and the processes for their implementation require the key actors (GOS, SPLM, donors, NGOs, et. al.) to constantly look at capacity building with a "conflict lens" and apply "conflict sensitive development" tools that will help mitigate potential risks and take advantage of existing opportunities. Mainstreaming conflict management will be a critical underlying capacity.

8. Gender is a cross-cutting issue. Especially in the South, the war has meant that women have carried double burdens or more in the absence of husbands, brothers and fathers, and under extremely difficult conditions. The peace presents new opportunities and challenges for the role of women in Sudanese society and calls for appropriate policies, programs and monitoring systems to ensure full participation of women in key Sudanese institutions and professions.

9. As might be expected, the nature of the challenges is quite different in the North and South. In the North the need is for major reforms of existing systems and institutions. Some elements of capacity, such as a critical mass of trained staff and basic infrastructure, are in place. In the South the human resource base is much more severely limited, some institutions are almost or entirely non-existent, and much of the key infrastructure has to be built almost from scratch. The nature of the challenge is different, but not necessarily the magnitude: reforming existing situations can at times be more difficult than starting largely anew3.

An Enabling Environment for Peace and Poverty Eradication

10. The areas included in the scope of this cluster group were chosen because they are recognized as the key building blocks for Sudan to develop the capacity to implement the vision and proposals of the CPA and for reconstruction and development generally. The focus is on the supply side: on State capacity (organizational effectiveness, skills, and the ability to utilize and retain capacity) and on the capacity to build capacity (training capability). These provide the enabling framework for growth, service delivery and poverty reduction. The important issue of developing capacity within civil society to demand good governance is the subject of Cluster 2 (Governance and Rule of Law).

11. Detailed background papers were prepared on most of the areas covered, and this report and the attached cluster matrices provide a summary of key findings and priorities, including:

i. Public Service. In the North there has been serious deterioration in almost every respect for several years and recent reform efforts have not taken hold. Background analysis suggests that following the recent increase in public sector salaries, in spite of the low absolute level of wages, the wage bill could become fiscally unsustainable4. This calls for a strategic and realistic (and possibly selective) approach to reform, well anchored in political and institutional realities. In the South, the system of administration can only be described as "very basic" as efforts of the SPLM over the last couple of decades have been focused on the war. Institutions, policies, systems and staff all need to be put in place (starting mostly from scratch), in the context of the vision for decentralized governance, a lean and effective public service and a sustainable wage bill. Training capacity needs to be put into place or enhanced significantly in both the South and the North.

ii. Local Government & Service Delivery. In the North, recent changes have created new opportunities and challenges, but capacity and resources are thin with few exceptions, and commitment to making the concrete changes necessary to establish adequate transparency may not be firm at all levels. The focus will be on building capacity that will help less-advantaged localities and regions reach parity with the better-off areas. This will provide the basis for Sudan's Northern states to reach the MDGs in various sectors (health, education, water, etc.). In the South, as reflected in the other cluster reports, service delivery has been sketchy and a mix of ad hoc arrangements in which NGOs, church groups and UN organizations, collaborating with communities, have played a central role to deliver what services there are. Some key decisions on the exact status of different levels of government are not yet decided. The SPLM is working with the UNDP, CRS and PACT to build capacity to promote local participatory governance and bottom-up development.

iii. Decentralization Framework. Within the broader framework set out in the CPA, a decentralization system needs to be developed for the Northern states that includes defining the roles and responsibilities of local governments, building their capacity and putting in place an appropriate decentralization framework to address vertical and horizontal imbalances. This includes strengthening the role of the citizen in identifying and addressing community concerns and strengthening the accountability of local officials. In the South, there is an emerging commitment to a decentralization framework in which the GOSS and states will have mainly policy and regulatory functions, and where staff and other resources are largely reserved for front-line service provision through devolved local governments which may contract private sector or NGO providers, financed for the foreseeable future primarily with relatively flexible block grants from the GOSS.

iv. Public Financial Management. The Wealth Sharing Agreement places highest priority on public finance and intergovernmental relations, including expenditure management to ensure accountability (Clause 1.16). Public financial management systems are weak and need to be substantially upgraded in both the North and the South. In the North, basic systems and the legal framework are in place but need to be modernized (including computerization) and HR capacity needs to be enhanced, especially in some states. In the South, all policies, systems, institutional arrangements and staffing need to be built almost from scratch. In both cases the focus is on building effective and sustainable systems for ensuring that all revenues and expenditures are budgeted and accounted for, in order to help ensure Sudan's resources are properly committed to development and poverty eradication in particular.

v. Public Procurement. In the North, the legal framework can be revised in the short-term, but in the long-term major revisions are needed to create effective, transparent systems, including oversight mechanisms. Today it is difficult to assess the volume and nature of GOS procurement. The faith of the general public and private sector in the procurement system needs to be restored. In the South, the SPLM realizes that it needs to temporarily contract out procurement responsibilities through the proposed Project Implementation Agency (PIA) to deal directly with the immediate massive new procurement requirements once the GOSS comes into existence, and needs to put into place a capacity building strategy for the longer-term. Without these arrangements, the lack of workable and accountable procurement systems will become a major bottleneck for delivering peace dividends to the people of Southern Sudan.

The Three Areas

12. The Three Areas -- Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Abyei -- with a combined population of about 3.9 million -- have been at the centre of the civil war and, in recognition of their unique situation, have been accorded special status in the CPA. The UN estimates that currently about 30 percent of this population lives in SPLM-controlled areas, and the remainder lives under GOS controlled areas. Desired outcomes are based on a shared vision, which is "to make Abyei, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan models for peaceful co-existence based upon the implementation of the CPA and the consensual sharing of resources to meet basic needs and respect of human rights".

13. Three overriding priorities have been identified for Phase I, alongside the need to make significant progress in the development of basic economic and social infrastructure and programs that are outlined in a separate chapter in this volume. The specific priorities identified and agreed upon for the Three Areas are:

1. Implementation of the CPA
2. Establishment of key institutions
3. Return and resettlement of displaced persons

Donor Coordination

14. There are large funding and capacity requirements if the critical capacity building and institutional development needs of Sudan identified in this report are to be met and the benefits of the peace are to reach the poor and marginalized people of Sudan.

15. Several donors have a defined interest in the area of institutional development and capacity building. However, if their efforts are not well coordinated, there is a significant risk that these well-intentioned efforts will not achieve the desired outcomes and could, in fact, become dysfunctional. Although this is true across the board, it is particularly relevant in the context of institutional development and capacity building where the quality and consistency of the advice and technical assistance are of critical importance. Thus, not only is it important for the various bilateral and multilateral donors to pool resources as far as possible5, it is also extremely important that donors with an interest in a particular area speak with one voice, do not offer conflicting advice and subject their advice to quality assurance from others.

16. The lead on donor coordination must be taken by the GOS and the GOSS. However, in the early stages neither the GOS nor the GOSS will have the capacity to do this effectively. This assessment recognizes this fact and has made provision for supporting the aid management and coordination capacity of the GOS and the GOSS. The design of the MDTFs and the implementation arrangements also recognizes this need. Self-imposed discipline on the part of donors is going to be critical for success. The experience during the JAM exercise suggests that this possible.


1 Also described as the Government of National Unity (GNU).

2 Cluster 1 includes "general" civil servants but not sector-specific front-line workers (teachers, healthcare workers, etc.).

3 It is recognized that all institutions are embedded in existing political, social and institutional contexts; so we are never starting purely "anew".

4 Applying the approximately 170 percent increase in the wage bill indicated by the revised pay scales to an estimated GDP for 2004 leads to the conclusion that the share of the civilian wage bill in GDP and government revenues would rise to 4.2 percent and 31.4 percent respectively. Even with no change in the military wage bill this would make the total wage bill (almost 8 percent of GDP) very large and difficult to sustain. This would be significantly higher than the 6.7 percent for the sample of 21 African countries and the 5.4 percent for the entire sample of 92 countries reported in Schiavo-Campo et al (1997). It is understood, that the GOS has, for now, postponed the full implementation of the proposed increase.

5 This is being done through the two Multi-Donor Trust Funds.

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