Sudan

USAID Field Report Sudan Jan 2003

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United States Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of Transition Initiatives
Program Description

Program Goals and Objectives

OTI's goal in southern Sudan is to strengthen the foundation for peace and development. To support this goal, OTI's objectives are to expand access to balanced, independent information in local languages; increase the number of local and international conflict resolution experts available in vulnerable areas; and strengthen accountable and transparent governance structures.

Each one of the proposed activities for southern Sudan complements those currently underway or planned by the USAID Southern Sudan Mission. While the Mission's activities in the past were focused primarily on the overwhelming humanitarian needs of southern Sudanese, the overall USG strategy is increasingly directed at the key, underlying social, political, and economic problems that constrain long-term stability and growth. OTI's program in southern Sudan will conduct activities in the following areas:

  • Establish Independent Southern Sudan Media: Widespread access to balanced, independent, local language information may make the most significant near term impact on the lives of southern Sudanese, in part because the lack of human capacity, which is the result of minimal access to education, is a serious hindrance to the successful implementation of many other humanitarian and development programs. Given the high levels of illiteracy, radio is the most effective vehicle for relaying information about the community, education and training, and bringing to people's attention issues related to governance, the role of civil society in building a civic culture, and news about the peace process.

  • Provide Rapid, Flexible Conflict Resolution Mechanism and Tangible Peace Dividends: Despite the numerous instances of people-to-people peace initiatives, many of them significant, there remain many areas in southern Sudan where local tensions endure and could erupt into violence. While a comprehensive and just peace settlement should remain the ultimate goal for Sudan, support for southern peace processes is crucial to the continued development of southern Sudan. Proposed OTI activities in this area will include timely transport of respected local and international conflict resolution experts to areas vulnerable to conflict, and the provision of tangible peace dividends to bring communities together to secure local level peace agreements.

  • Foster Demand for Good Governance: Initial OTI efforts to improve governance and strengthen the relationship between leaders and citizens will have two components: supporting the development of the rule of law by increasing the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary; and, increasing public demand for government accountability and transparency through support to local non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations.
Country Situation

The civil war in Sudan has lasted at least 19 years, and has caused immense human misery -- the death of two million people, bombing and displacement of as many as four million civilians, and trading in human beings as slaves. The countryside has been devastated and the needs are enormous including infrastructure of all sorts, a job base, continued humanitarian relief until development activities can take hold, and governance and civil society development.

On July 20, 2002, the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the Machakos Protocol agreeing that a military solution is neither viable nor desirable. The framework peace agreement, formulated under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), includes broad agreement that the issues of the right of self-determination for the south, and the relationship between church and state must be resolved. Other issues of concern include sharing of power and wealth, and resolution of concerns in the Nuba Mountains, Abiye, and Southern Blue Nile.

In January 2003, government-backed southern militias conducted an offensive in the Western Upper Nile oilfields of southern Sudan, which demonstrated the fragility of the peace process. On February 4, 2003 in Karen, Kenya a strengthened cessation of hostilities agreement was signed. The Addendum to the cease-fire agreement specifically called on the Government to halt construction of a contentious oil-area road; and by both sides to pull back forces to the locations they occupied prior to the signing of the original cease-fire. The Civilian Protection Monitoring Mechanism (CPMM) will monitor and verify the cessation of hostilities.

Two days later, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed which codified points of agreement on outstanding issues of power and wealth sharing. These issues are now being debated at Machakos. The February 6, 2003 MOU also stated that complete agreement had been reached on a constitutional review process, the independent and national institutions to be established, and the undertaking of a national referendum before elections in six years' time, and that significant agreement had been reached on the structure of government entities. The next several months will be decisive for the peace process. President Bush is required to report to the U.S. Congress by April 21, 20003 on the state of progress in the IGAD sponsored negotiations.

HIGHLIGHTS

A. Narrative Summary

In November 2002, USAID/OTI reported to Congress its proposed program for southern Sudan, which was based on the recommendations of August and September 2002 USAID/OTI assessment trips. It was determined that the improving political landscape occasioned by the Sudan Peace Act and the resultant Machakos protocol agreement signaled an important opportunity to engage OTI transition assistance. Since November OTI has deployed a series of teams to begin implementing the program, working with the USAID REDSO office in Nairobi on the administrative aspects of the program set-up, and participating in the Sudan Integrated Strategic Plan (ISP) process.

B. Grant Activity

One of OTI's initial activities was a $102,000 grant to the British NGO Christian Aid to help sponsor the All-Nuba Conference. From December 2 to 5, 2003 some 380 representatives from a broad spectrum of Nuban civil and political society gathered in Kauda, Sudan. Participants came from across Sudan with nearly 40 % coming from areas under the control of the Government of Sudan. Others traveled from Europe and North America to attend and a number of international facilitators, journalists, and observers, including representatives from the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Department, the Carter Center, and the Joint Military Commission (JMC), were present.

The key outcomes of the Conference were:

  • Unequivocal commitment of the SPLM/A leadership to the centrality of the Nuba Mountains Region (and South Blue Nile and Abyei) in all on-going peace process negotiations;

  • Dissolution of all four Nuba political parties and formation of one new "United Sudan National Party" (USNP), under the Presidency of Bishop Phillip Abbas and the vice-presidencies;

  • Endorsement of the IGAD process as the means to negotiate a just and secure peace for the Regions of Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Abyei, but only as part of a comprehensive settlement for the whole of Sudan;

  • Clear mandate given by the Conference to the SPLM/A to negotiate on behalf of the Nuba people in the IGAD peace process, and for the new USNP to play an active role in all such negotiations;

  • Strong recommendation for the unambiguous alignment of the Nuba people with the SPLM/A during the interim period as the only means to create the opportunity for a democratic and unimpeded process of self-determination;

  • Strong commitment of all participants to an on-going process of unification among the Nuba people aimed at further developing both their shared vision of a just future and their capability of achieving it.
Additional resolutions were generated that sought to articulate the essential conditions of a just and secure peace settlement for the Nuba people and the guiding principles for the future of a united Nuban society. The Conference illustrated the importance of enabling a broad cross section of Nuba civil society to come together to discuss issues about their future openly and transparently. This experience contributed to the momentum for people-led political processes as a means of promoting change.

A second early activity was an assessment of the media programming options for Southern Sudan, which was conducted by a team from the Educational Development Center Inc (EDC). As a result of the assessment the decision was made to fund a radio service using a USAID/Democracy and Governance Leadership Cooperative Award. The radio-programming component should be in place by April 2003.

NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

OTI is in the process of selecting an organization to be its implementing partner in Southern Sudan. The organization will administer a small grants program focused on conflict resolution and strengthening governance at all levels. OTI also is in the process of hiring a Country Representative who should be in place by April.

Getting the radio station up and running, including the mechanics of equipment procurement, staffing, and the development of the initial programming, will consume much of OTI's efforts for the next several months. An implementation team from Washington is expected shortly.

For further information, please contact:

In Nairobi: Sara Brewer, Acting Country Representative, e-mail: sbrewer@usaid.gov: telephone 254-2-862400, Ext 2341
In Washington, D.C.: Angela Martin, Africa Team Leader, e-mail: amartin@usaid.gov; telephone: (202) 712 5434