UNDP in Darfur

Sudan has been challenged in its modern History. In 1955 just as the country was gaining its independence from the United Kingdom and Egypt, a civil conflict erupted in the Southern part of the country which was temporarily settled in 1972 before it resumed and escalated in 1983. The conflict lasted over two decades until the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005. As a result of the 22 years of civil war an estimated 2 million people have died and 4 million others displaced. The war consumed much of the country’s resources that could have served its economic development

As the north-south peace deal was putting an end to Africa’s longest war, another conflict erupted in 2002-2003 opposing the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to the Government of Sudan (GoS) in Darfur. Following months of negotiation and the pressure from the international community, Abuja peace talks led to the signing of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) by the GoS and a faction of the SLM/S in Abuja in May 2006. The DPA deal did not succeed in brining peace and stability to the people of Darfur. A new negotiation process is taking place in Libya with mediation by the UN and the African Union (AU).

Four years after the fighting broke out, the situation in Darfur continues to be characterized by a lack of human security. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have died and at least two million have been displaced from their homes - almost one third of the six million strong population of Darfur before the conflict.

In war-torn Darfur, like in many crisis situations women and young children are vulnerable to various forms of violence. While the humanitarian community has been responding to the psycho-social needs of victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Darfur, there is still a capacity gap in the legal response for cases that need to be addressed, to create effective and comprehensive protection for prevention and treatment.

Moreover, because of the continuing uncertainty regarding security conditions in areas of return, the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) do not plan to go back to their villages in the near future. Consequently, the level of tension in the camps, as well as among others at risk of conflict populations and host communities has been increasing since the beginning of the crisis.

While humanitarian assistance fulfills an important life-saving function in Darfur, there is also a need to implement programmes geared at empowerment and sustainability - as a means of addressing the root-causes of conflict and promoting the restoration of a social balance and its inherent human protection mechanisms. As such, a broader concept of human security needed to be injected alongside humanitarian intervention in order to address the multiple dimensions of the conflict and support the continued quest for peace.

In this context, UNDP strategic priorities for the Darfur programme focus on the following elements:

- Support the consolidation of the rule of law programme in the three Darfurian states
- Provide capacity building support to the local government in Darfur for strategic planning and budgeting
- Implement an early recovery programme based on an expanded RRP and a livelihood/employment programme

UNDP Early Recovery /Rule of Law Programme in Darfur:
Working in partnership with national and international NGOs, government and civil society partners, UNDP is bridging the relief-development gap in Darfur by undertaking development activities in parallel with ongoing relief operations. Apart from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the UNDP Rule of Law in Darfur is the only programme led by a UN organization in crisis environment. This ground-breaking programme that was launched in late 2004, has been demonstrating that upholding the rule of law, through national ownership, is an early recovery process, key to achieving human security and governance, rebuilding trust and confidence in national institutions.

UNDP’s strategy for Darfur rests on an Early Recovery framework which includes governance, rule of law while working on incorporating economic recovery activities such as livelihoods. It is carefully designed to promote development principles in an ongoing crisis, such as: diffusing growing tensions; promoting an environment conducive to peace; and, laying the first building blocks for recovery in anticipation of the future peace building phase.

Guided by principles of empowerment, inclusiveness and participation, the Early Recovery/Rule of Law Programme has gained recognition and generated sustained development partners’ commitment. Since July 2006, the Programme has expanded and now employs over 40 national and international project staff across the three Darfur states.

While putting emphasis on empowering Darfurian partners, UNDP has also been forging a broader partnership to help protect civilian populations in Darfur, especially through building the capacity of the African Union forces in Darfur.

In support of key priorities in Darfur, UNDP runs the following projects:

Democratic Governance and Rule of Law
Strengthening Rule of Law and Sustainable Protection in Darfur

Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Enhancing Livelihood Opportunities and Building Social Capital for New Livelihoods Strategies in Darfur
Preparatory Support Project for DDR in Darfur

Fund Management
The Darfur Community Peace and Stability Fund

Closed Projects
Capacity Building of African Union Forces in Darfur
Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Darfur
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