Sudan

UNAMID Deputy Chief visits West Darfur to meet local authorities, discuss development

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El Geneina, 18 May 2014 – UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR) Joseph Mutaboba travelled today to El Geneina, West Darfur, to meet with Sudanese Government representatives, members of the local community, and UNAMID staff working to implement recovery and development projects in the area.

During his meeting with the West Darfur Deputy Wali (Governor) Abul Gassam Alamin Baraka, the DJSR reiterated UNAMID’s interest in supporting, within its limited power, recovery and development in West Darfur. “We will do what we can to help the West Darfur community, working to implement projects within our limited means,” the DJSR told the Deputy Wali, noting that development projects cannot take place without a secure and stable environment in which communities can flourish.

“I would like to congratulate you and your Government for having been able to address security issues here and thus contribute to finding lasting peace,” the DJSR said. “Without security, there is nothing; with security, you can have dialogue, you can talk about peace, and you can talk about the future.”

The Deputy Wali thanked UNAMID for its support, most recently in the form of the development of new airport facilities outside El Geneina and a new access road. “On behalf of West Darfur society, we welcome you here and extend our thanks for this meeting, which we consider crucial for West Darfur’s development,” he said. “UNAMID has spared no effort in West Darfur, and has provided social assistance, especially to the most vulnerable, which can be considered the best kind of assistance.”

The DJSR stressed the need to work together with the West Darfur Government to ensure that UNAMID can contribute effectively to the protection of civilians according to its mandated role, which also involves facilitating humanitarian assistance, working on local-level mediation and supporting the peace process. In this regard, the DJSR requested support from the Deputy Wali for UNAMID to carry out its mandated tasks in the area. “We cannot help you unless you help us help you,” he said.

Following the meeting with the Deputy Wali, the DJSR spoke to the local media and briefly highlighted the work of UNAMID in West Darfur. Since 2013, UNAMID has sponsored 29 quick-impact projects (QIPs) designed to help rebuild West Darfur’s infrastructure. Also in 2013, UNAMID implemented in West Darfur seven community-based, labour-intensive projects (CLIPs), each designed to facilitate on-the-job vocational training for Darfur’s young people as they work to rebuild their communities.

Since 2008, the DJSR noted, UNAMID has implemented 152 QIPs in West Darfur alone, and is implementing 12 new QIPs projects this year. UNAMID implemented one of CLIPs projects in the Ardamata camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), located on the outskirts of El Geneina, where the Mission has worked with implementing partner Islamic Relief Agency to build a new youth centre.

“Working with the local communities, especially through quick-impact projects, UNAMID is doing what it can to facilitate lasting peace and stability, hopefully leaving a positive footprint here that will have a long-term impact,” the DJSR said, also noting that the UN is facing a financial shortfall. “Within the limitations we have, we will continue our work. UNAMID is here to help. We are your organization.”

While visiting the Ardamata project, the DJSR said the QIPs and CLIPs programmes, which are designed to benefit communities at the grassroots level by creating jobs and rebuilding damaged infrastructure, are helping to contribute to a more stable environment and foster local ownership that he said he hopes will foster stability as Darfur enters the dialogue phase of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).