UNDP in Eastern Sudan

Eastern Sudan, a vast sun-blasted land of some 300,000 square kilometers, is home to an estimated three to four million of Sudan’s poorest people. The region is made up of three states: Red Sea, Gadaref and Kassala. In each of these states the living conditions are so harsh that the local population has been facing acute poverty, persistent drought and famine, a lack of adequate access to healthcare and education, high levels of unemployment in addition to land degradation and shrinking pasture areas, for a very long time.

This state of affairs led to a low-intensity rebel insurgency over the past eleven years that was settled with the signing of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) in October 2006 between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front. The ESPA offers the chance for important changes in the East through an increased wealth sharing, a new impetus for decentralization, and increased participation of Eastern Sudanese in federal governance. It is also hoped that the peace deal will bring about a renewed engagement between Sudan and the international community likely to lead to fresh inflow of funds that should be utilized strategically and equitably to help lay the foundations for recovery, social peace and sustained long term development.

The Agreement covers economic, political and security issues, including power sharing at federal and regional level and wealth sharing in the three eastern states. As part of the implementation of the peace agreement, combatants need to be disarmed, demobilized and receive basic reintegration support, while longer term reintegration mechanisms are rolled out. The security arrangements of the ESPA call for the establishment of an Integration Committee that would screen and approve the integration of over 5000 Eastern Front ex-combatants into the security forces of the Government of National Unity (GoNU). The ex-combatants that chose not to apply for integration into the GoNU security forces, or that were deemed unfit for active duty, were offered participation in the Demobilization Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) programme.

The widespread illicit arms, and landmine and unexploded remnants of war pose a potential threat to the implementation of the ESPA, and an immediate threat to personal security and human development. Consequently, the success of the implementation of the peace agreement depends also on arms control, and mine clearance efforts.

Given that peace cannot be sustained without basic human security and strong national institutions that uphold the rule of law and bring justice to all citizens, the ESPA represents also a major opportunity for restoring the social contract between the authorities and the citizens, building confidence in sound and transparent law enforcement institutions. However, the judicial system has limited capacity to effectively provide access to justice and deliver services. Detention centers and prisons have poor infrastructure and are ill equipped. Personnel in all sectors of justice and policing are in need of training and support.

Moreover, the root causes of conflict in this part of the country are related to natural resources. Since Eastern Sudan’s population is predominantly rural, competition over scarce natural resources, such as water, land and grazing, is one of the causes of inter and intra tribal tension and sometimes conflicts. The presence of a significant number of arms and the unresolved issue of access to land, and equity in resource distribution, is another challenge to sustainable peace and development.

The strategic priorities for the UNDP Eastern Sudan programme:
As the lead agency for the Governance and Rule of Law, and the institutional Development and Capacity building sectors, UNDP Sudan focuses on the following strategic priorities that aim to lead to achieving the Millennium Development Goals:
• Develop the capacity of local Government. The functioning of the structures foreseen under the ESPA will be crucial in determining successful transition to peace and recovery.
• Promote rule of law and enhance access to justice.
• Support economic recovery through building of social capital and addressing unemployment
• Improve security through the implementation of a DDR, mine action and community security programme, linked to a draft extension of the RRP to the non-covered states (Kassala and Gedareff).

In order to address key development priorities in Eastern Sudan, UNDP supports the following projects:
Democratic Governance
Local Governance Development Public Expenditure and Management in Eastern Sudan
Access to Justice and Confidence Building in Kassala State

Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Support to Human Security in Eastern Sudan
Sudan Post-conflict Community Based Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme
Poverty Alleviation – oriented Governance Project in Red Sea state

Copyright (c) United Nations Development Programme Sudan, 2011. All rights reserved
Copyrights and terms of use