UNDP: Ad Melkert confirms UN’s support to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreemen

Khartoum and Juba, 28 August 2006

As the international community looks to bring peace in Darfur, Mr. Ad Melkert, United Nations Under Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator ended yesterday a four-day visit to Sudan by confirming UN’s support to the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that put an end to Africa’s longest civil war.

“My decision to undertake this mission to North and South Sudan at what might be perceived as a politically sensitive moment was both a reflection of the great importance that I attach to the UN and UNDP’s involvement to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and to provide support from headquarters to the valuable work colleagues are undertaking in Khartoum, and in Juba, south Sudan”, said the UNDP Associate Administrator.

During his official visit to Sudan, the UNDP Associate Administrator visited several UNDP projects and met with a number of UNDP partners, including the Government of National Unity (GoNU) and the Government of Southern

Sudan (GoSS), the international community, UN agencies, and Sudanese civil society. Mr. Melkert held several meetings with senior government officials in Khartoum, including the Minister for International Cooperation, Mr. Tighani Salih Fidail, State Minister of Finance and National Economy, Mr. Loual Deng, the Co-Chairpersons of the Joint National Transition Team (JNTT), Mr. Yahia Hussain and Mr. Kosti Manyebe who is also the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs. In Juba, UNDP Associate Administrator met with the Vice President of the GoSS, Mr. Riek Machar, and the Secretary General of the GoSS, Mr. Abdon Agaw. In his meetings with government officials, the Associate Administrator expressed UNDP’s full support to the implementation of the CPA and concerns over the humanitarian consequences of the deterioration of the situation in Darfur. He emphasized the importance of the ongoing role of the UN in improving the conditions that would enable UNDP and other agencies to be more effective in their assistance to Darfur.

In Yei, 160 km south of Juba, in Southern Sudan, the UNDP Associate Administrator discussed with the Commissioner of Yei River County and the Commissioner of Police urgent issues in the police and prison sectors. He also visited the local police station and prison and observed the dire needs for rehabilitation of basic infrastructure. He listened to community leaders‘ accounts of their daily challenges and their need for basic health services and education facilities. The Associate Administrator also visited the UNDP-supported Southern Sudan Law Society where he witnessed the local legal centre currently providing the people of Yei with advice on access to justice, including human rights. To strengthen the vital link between recovery and basic human security, UNDP is working in a number of areas, from disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, to de-mining, rule of law and governance. One day prior to the Associate Administrator’s visit, UNDP together with the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance signed a US$ 18 million capacity building of the Judiciary project.

With only 6 km of paved roads, little running water, very limited energy supply for the last 25 years, only 1% of girls graduating from primary schools, and no system of payroll, Southern Sudan is clearly lacking the basic and indispensable services to provide fo its people. Adding to this challenge, Southern Sudan is having to respond to the needs of an estimated 500,000 displaced persons returning to the region per year. Following a long and arduous civil war, Southern Sudan is for the first time in a position to plan for sustainable development. As one community member put it: “Southern Sudan is not a post-conflict country, it is a conflict-affected country; there was nothing existing before the conflict that can be reconstructed”. Therefore, the challenge is to ensure that the international community moves from humanitarian assistance to the recovery stage.

In the North of the country the Associate Administrator visited other UNDP-supported projects, including an interim Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Programme working with child soldiers, women associated with armed groups and disabled ex-combatants. Mr. Melkert concluded his visit with an hour-long interaction with members of civil society forums made up of women and men from different political parties, legal professionals, the media, civil society, youth, and capacity trainers. He noted the civil society’s enthusiasm for capacity building activities provided by UNDP to enable women, youth and media to fulfill their active role in political and public life; and their call for more such training opportunities. The six forums are part of the Good Governance and Equity in Political Participation Project working to increase the participation and leadership of women in political and public life, to raise the awareness of the wider public on good governance principles and the importance of the political participation of women.

“The message came across loud and clear in both the South and the North,” said the UNDP Associate Administrator, “ the expectation of the people of Sudan that the CPA will bring quick peace dividends is very high; identifying the development challenges is not difficult but the task to address them is enormous”.

At the end of his visit, Ad Melkert reflected: “My visit was not only a reality check on my work back in New York, it was important to see first hand the great willingness on the part of the people of Sudan to sustain peace between North and South and make a meaningful change in their lives. I was equally impressed by the motivation of our colleagues, including UN volunteers and those in the rest of the UN system, who are working tirelessly to step up support to the North and South of the country, in circumstances which are extremely complex and challenging.”


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