and the United Nations
Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance - Geneva, Switzerland
14 - 15 December 1999
The third meeting of the Technical Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (TCHA) was convened by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 14 - 15 December 1999 at the invitation of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The meeting was attended by delegations from the Government of the Republic of Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, and the United Nations. The Government of Kenya was also represented at the meeting. The TCHA met under the Chairmanship of H.E. Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs for the Sudan.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman noted that this was the third meeting of the TCHA in just over a year, the previous meetings having been held in Rome, Italy from 16 - 18 November 1998 and in Oslo, Norway from 25 - 26 May 1999. The TCHA could point to several achievements over that period: the continuation of the humanitarian cease-fire; the successful implementation of the Security Protocol; and agreement on minimal operational standards for rail and cross-line road corridors.
The Chairman emphasized that there was still further substantive work to be done, to build on what has been achieved so far. Access to beneficiaries needs to be consolidated and the humanitarian situation will need to continue to be closely monitored, especially in Western Upper Nile/Unity State as well as in northern Bahr-El-Ghazal. In particular, a major objective of this meeting was to focus on the operationalization of the agreements for the delivery of humanitarian assistance through road, river and rail corridors.
A projected food deficit in some areas for the coming year was noted as cause for concern. The situation will be closely monitored by the partners of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) and adjustments effected, as necessary, before and during the Mid-Term Review of the 2000 Consolidated Appeal.
The meeting commended the generous response of donors to the Consolidated Appeal for Sudan in 1999 and emphasized that a similar level of response for the year 2000 would consolidate hard-won improvements in the humanitarian situation.
The meeting focused on outstanding issues concerning the delivery of humanitarian assistance and interventions under the umbrella of OLS including:
1. Beneficiary Protocol
The Government of the Republic of the Sudan, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement, and the United Nations signed an agreement on the implementation of principles on access, assistance, protection and the rights of civilian beneficiaries.
2. Security Protocol
The Parties to the Protocol agreed to continue their efforts to further improve the umbrella of protection, including through the enhanced use of communications networks and equipment by humanitarian workers, and through the identification of centralized administrative mechanisms to deal promptly and effectively with security matters raised by the United Nations.
3. Humanitarian Cease-fire
The Chairman reiterated the United Nations appeal for further extensions of the cease-fires, noting that the inclusion of other geographical areas would benefit an increased number of vulnerable communities.
The meeting noted the benefit of unilateral cease-fires by the Government of Sudan and SPLM on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and on the overall humanitarian situation. Both parties noted that extensions of the respective cease-fires have had a positive impact.
The Government of Sudan reaffirmed its preference for an immediate comprehensive cease-fire. The SPLM confirmed its commitment and respect for a humanitarian cease-fire and noted its readiness to negotiate on a comprehensive cease-fire in the context of IGAD, the next meeting of which is scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 January 2000.
4. Access Corridors
With regard to implementation of previously agreed Protocols in respect of road, rail and river, the meeting noted the following:
It was agreed that both the direct route (Lokichoggio-Narus-Lolin-Buno-Kapoeta) as well as the detour route (Lokichoggio-Narus-Napotpot-Nachakori-Kapoeta/ Lokichoggio-Narus-Napotpot-Nachakori-Roweto) are critical to serve vulnerable populations in those areas. It was agreed that arrangements for de-mining the direct route should be pursued forthwith by the United Nations and a plan drawn up by February 2000; an assessment of the detour route should also be completed by February 2000 and a plan of action put together for ratification by the Parties within two weeks of submission. For the use of the direct route, a monitoring mechanism will be devised for review and agreement by the Parties. It is agreed that the UN will establish an office in Kapoeta for the coordination, receipt and distribution of humanitarian goods.
In the meantime, it was agreed that the United Nations would explore other options which might be available.
All delegations emphasized the value of the TCHA as a forum for the resolution of difficulties encountered in the implementation of humanitarian interventions, and for bringing together the Parties to the conflict to agree on the modalities for the delivery of assistance.
The meeting agreed that the TCHA should plan to reconvene at a mutually-agreed date in the course of the year 2000.
James Mabor Gatkuoth
Minister for Humanitarian Affairs
Southern States Coordinating Council
For the Government of the Republic of the Sudan
Elijah Malok Aleng
Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Political & Economic Affairs, and
Executive Director of Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA)
For the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement
United Nations Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
For the United Nations
Geneva, 15 December 1999
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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