UNIDO launches first post-crisis project in southern Sudan

News and Press Release
Originally published
(Reissued as received.)

VIENNA, 12 September (UNIDO) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)is set to implement a two-year project to assist in the revitalization of agricultural productive capacities in the Nuba Mountains region of southern Sudan, an area severely affected by a long civil war. The region is in urgent need of support for the settlement of internally displaced persons and the stabilization of rural communities after the recently concluded peace accord.

The project is expected to assist some 6,000 households in some 40 rural communities in the Nuba Mountains region to increase their food production through application of simple hand tools, agricultural implements and basic food processing equipment. Equally, the project will assist local blacksmiths with training and assistance so that their capacity for the production and repair of hand tools and agricultural implements is improved and the range of their technical services to the village community is enhanced. Agricultural productivity in the selected villages or village clusters will be increased through the promotion of intermediate technologies for soil preparation and weeding. Similarly, basic equipment for post-harvest processing will be introduced for improved food quality, as well as some machinery with potential for income generation.

The project interventions are within the scope of the humanitarian assistance as identified by the United Nations for the region and based on a needs assessment mission undertaken in the region in 2002 by UNIDO staff. These activities will be undertaken in close coordination with the Nuba Mountains Programme Advancing Conflict Transformation (UNDP-NMPACT), a framework within which all United Nations agencies and most non-governmental organizations are implementing their programmes in the region. Particularly, close cooperation is foreseen with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Southern Kordofan Rural Development Project and ongoing Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) activities in the region.

This project, financed through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS), has a total budget of $1,221,608. This will provide basic agricultural tools, food processing equipment and other income-generating machines, as well as training in community organization and equipment maintenance for the farming communities and local blacksmiths. Women, who constitute 84 per cent of the agricultural related workforce, are particularly expected to benefit from the post-harvest and income generating activities of the project.

This project is the first UNIDO proposal to receive funding from the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, which is funded through contributions from the Government of Japan.

The UNTFHS was announced in a policy speech in Hanoi in December 1998 by the then Prime Minister Obuchi of Japan and established at the United Nations Secretariat with an initial contribution by Japan of approximately $4.63 million to support projects seeking to secure 'human security'. Through additional contributions from Japan, the fund has grown to around $160 million (as of March 2002), and effectively became the largest United Nations Trust Fund, supporting over 60 projects in Asia, Africa and Europe (Kosovo).

The UNIDO was invited, in 2002, to prepare specific project proposals addressing global-scale issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, conflicts, or refugee problems, from a 'human security' perspective. These proposals were to be reviewed based on the extent to which each project would have concrete and sustainable benefits for individuals and communities afflicted by those threats to human life, livelihood and dignity. A number of such project proposals submitted by UNIDO for consideration of financial support from this Trust Fund are presently under review.

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