The Abyei Area Referendum Project

Fast Facts:
• Project Document
Location: Abyei
Duration: July 2010 – June 2011
Focus area: Democratic Governance
Contributions(USD): Netherlands: 3,500,000
Japan: 813,200
Partners: Abyei Area Referendum Commission (once established),
UNMIS (Police, Rule of Law & Civil Affairs),
Ministry of International Cooperation,
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
Abyei Area Administration
Delivery(USD): 2010: 91,456
Contact person in UNDP: Abyei:
Mariatu Kamara, Project Manager

Esam Ismail, Programme Specialist

On January 9, 2005, the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), in which the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict as set forth in Chapter IV, brought to an end two decades of war and provided a new political map for Sudan. The political road map enabled the formation of a Government of National Unity (GONU); Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) comprising of the 10 states of Southern Sudan; and the resumption of a multi-party democracy that took into account gender equality and cultural, racial, religious and linguistic diversity within Sudan.

The Protocol on the Resolution of the conflict in the Abyei Area signed by the two parties to the CPA on the 26 May 2004, accorded Abyei a special Administrative status. Administered under the Presidency, the residents of Abyei remain citizens of both Western Kordofan in the North and Bahr el Ghazal in the South with representatives in both the legislatures of both states. The resolution further provided for the conduct of the Abyei Referendum simultaneously with the referendum for Southern Sudan on self –determination in 2011.

In a separate ballot, a referendum on the status of Abyei “will present the residents of Abyei with the following choices, irrespective of the results of Southern Sudan:

a) That Abyei retain its special administrative position in the north
b) That Abyei be part of the Bahr el Ghazal

irrespective of the results of the Southern Sudan Referendum.
Abyei Area Referendum Act, 2009

In 2008, the Presidency appointed the Abyei Area Administration headed by a Chief Administrator; a Deputy) and five Heads of Department). A twenty (20) person legislative council –with representatives from both SPLM and NCP was also appointed. This council is to be replaced by a democratically elected council by the residents of Abyei at the end of the interim period.

Legislation for the Abyei Area Referendum was adopted by the National Assembly in late December 2009. It provides a general framework for the Abyei referendum and for the establishment of the Abyei Area Referendum Commission. The Commission will determine the comprehensive and detailed rules and procedures and conduct the Abyei Area Referendum. As of late September, 2010, establishment of the Abyei Referendum Commission is still pending; and the institutional administrative units at the County and Payam levels, which are expected to render fundamental support to the Abyei Area Referendum Commission (AARC), are also yet to be established.

In anticipation of the challenges ahead the Abyei Area Administration (AAA) requested the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support in the areas of civic and voter education, policy and technical advice, media and monitoring training, as well as logistical and operational assistance necessary for the referendum planning and administration. The Abyei Area Referendum Project Initiation Plan was thus developed, and instrumental in securing funding support from various international donors. The Abyei Area Referendum Support project is now under development to provide technical and logistical assistance to the Referenda authorities once they are established.

The Abyei area referendum project:

The Support to the Abyei Area Referendum Project will assist in the implementation of the Abyei Area Referendum planned for January 2011 for the residents of the Abyei Area to exercise their right to determine their future administrative status. In particular, the project will support the Abyei Area Referendum Commission, Civil Society Organizations and other institutions within the frameworks stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, The Abyei Protocol and Referendum Act.

Key activities will include support to civic/voter education, public information and domestic observation. The project will also support media training and monitoring and institutional building support to the Abyei Area Referendum Commission and other mandated organizations through provision of logistics, policy and technical guidance. Additionally the project will render assistance to other stakeholders in the referendum process including the police, judiciary, women and other special interest groups.

Expected Outputs
The Overall aim of the project is to ensure organization and implementation of a transparent and credible referendum with the coordinated support of the international community. The key objectives that the project aims to achieve are:
• Supporting the CPA process in a manner to achieve the 2nd milestone of conducting a free and transparent referendum that will determine the status of Abyei Area
• To strengthen civil society, media, judiciary and police in performing their oversight, security functions as per the referendum law

These objectives are to be achieved under the following outputs:

Output 1: Support for Voter Information, Voter Education and Civic Education - Effective voter education campaign aimed at increasing the knowledge of voters about the referendum process
Output 2: Support to the Media - Trained media personnel improve reporting quality and media monitoring reports provide information to Referendum Commission
Output 3: Support to domestic and international observation - Enhanced oversight role of civil society in monitoring the referendum process
Output 4: Institutional building support to the Abyei Referendum Commission - Strengthened capacity of Referendum Commission to plan for and implement the referendum
Output 5: Support to Other Stakeholders - Strengthened role of key stakeholders including police, judiciary, lawyers, women, youth and disabled in the referendum process
Output 6: Project Management Unit - Effective project reporting and operations, fiduciary control and accountability

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