On 31 Dec the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army initialed the final Protocols. These Protocols constitute, together with the Protocols that have been already signed, the comprehensive North-South Peace Agreement. (see the attached press statements of the SG and of SRSG Pronk)
The SRSG announced that he will be formally asking the Government of the Sudan to observe 3 days of tranquility during the Polio vaccination campaign to be conducted from 10 to 12 January throughout the Sudan. The SRSG will be sending formally this request to the Sudanese Ministers of Interior, Health and Defence. The SRSG announced also that this same request will be presented to the SPLM and other groups in Southern Sudan as well as to the rebel Groups in Darfur, SLM, JEM and NMRD.
As per SRSG's commitment to the UN Security Council to engage Sudanese opinion leaders, Mr. Pronk, has conducted his first public meeting of the New year, today, with a wide range of Sudanese civil society organisations. The organisations represented thematic areas ranging from governance, women and children in conflict, to natural resources, landmines and human rights. The participants were geographically diverse, including organisations with membership in Darfur, Eastern region, Nuba Mountains and South Sudan. Civil society organisations briefed the SRSG on the legacy of the past, main obstacles and achievements. They expressed concerns about lack of participation during the negotiations between the parties, and the continued absence of an 'institutionalised framework' to ensure cooperation between civil society and the Government, considered now more needed in the implementation of the peace agreement.
SRSG and the CS organisations agreed to have a second follow-up meeting in two weeks to dedicate more time to discussion and to exchange views. SRSG Pronk also informed the organisations that he would like to have a consultation meeting to solicit their feedback on the UN Mission Plan. It was also agreed in the meeting that Civil Affairs will organise a similar meeting with civil society organisations in South Sudan.
UNICEF and WHO are liaising closely with the Federal Ministry of Health for a re-invigorated campaign to eradicate polio in 2005 and the first round of polio National Immunisation Days (NIDs) is scheduled for 10 - 12 January 2005. Thus far in 2004, 105 polio cases have been confirmed with over 40 of them in Khartoum.
Results of the measles campaign conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in six states during the period 13 - 22 December 2004 are being collated. The targeted numbers of children under five are listed by state as follows: 305,010 in Blue Nile, 555,676 in Sennar, 1,617,584 in Gezira, 681,380 in North Kordofan, 507, 910 in South Kordofan and 518,730 in West Kordofan.
Action Against Hunger-USA (ACF-USA) carried out a rapid nutrition assessment from 3 to 7 December 2004 covering Lainya, Kopera, Mokaya and Kenyi payams. Recommendations include: monitor the food security situation, increase the supply of essential drugs, carry out Health Education and hygiene promotion in the exisiting health centres and in the community and to rehabilitate the non-functional boreholes.
ACF-USA conducted a Nutritional Anthropometric Survey in Kumbur Payam of Rashad County during 9 - 27 November 2004. Recommendations include: increase the capacity of the existing health facility to treat acutely malnourished individuals, increase drug supplies, continue implementing food security programme in the region, initiate health education and hygiene promotion, nutritional education and mother and child care at the health centres and community levels.
Greater Upper Nile
After finding cases of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in July 2004 and no agency intervention despite advocacy, ACF-USA and Medair have conducted a joint multi-sectoral rapid needs assessment in Duk Padiet and Duk Payuel in November 2004 in order to assess the situation in Duk County. Recommendations include: monitor the food security situation and to provide seeds if needed for the next planting season, sustain and strengthen school feeding initiatives, provision of a supplementary feeding program, increase the capacity of the health structures to detect and treat severely malnourished individuals, drill additional boreholes and provide more spare parts for hand pump repairs.
An inter-agency mission including UNHCR, WFP and OCHA assessed the situation of recent refugee returnees from Ethiopia to Blue Nile State during 8 - 10 December 2004. The mission found that some 1,600 Sudanese refugees who fled to Ethiopia during the conflict have returned to Damazine area, in the villages of Geissan and Bakori. The returnees, who are mainly women and children, were found to be in dire conditions and in need of immediate assistance. Follow up meetings were held with the participating agencies and with the HAC Commissioner of Blue Nile to coordinate assistance.