Recovery of Abyei Area through Good Governance and Poverty Reduction

Fast Facts:
Project document and reports available upon request
Location: Abyei
Duration: January 2005 - December 2008
Focus area: Crisis Prevention and Recovery
Contributions(USD): NET: 2,046,110.06
DFID: 3,256,704.98
Partners: • Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
• Community Based Organizations (CBOs)
• Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
• Local Authorities and Technical Units (LAs & LTUs)
• UNMIS and UN specialized agencies
Delivery(USD): 2007: 1,079,149.77
2008: 1,074,144.91
Contact person in UNDP: Gul Mohammad Fazli
Programme Manager

Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Abyei, Blue Nile State, and South Kordofan State/Nuba Mountains were given the special status of so-called “Protocol Areas,” with power being shared along predetermined lines.

Situated along the north-south border of Sudan, Abyei, together with the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, is one of the Protocol Areas. Abyei has suffered tremendously from over twenty years of conflict, which has taken a heavy toll on lives of the communities there.

Before signing the CPA, in May 2004 the Government of the Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) first signed a special Protocol on Abyei. The 2004 Protocol defines Abyei as a bridge between the north and the south, linking the people of Sudan. The territory is defined as the area of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905. The Misseriya and other nomadic peoples retain their traditional rights to graze and move across the territory of Abyei.”

Following the signing of the CPA, Abyei became a gateway for returnees, especially for Dinka, Ngok and Twic people. Up to May 2008, , more than 60,000 returnees have resettled in Abyei, about fifteen new villages were re-established in the area, and several markets were either expanded or opened. However, due to the conflict, the Abyei area suffered greatly from a lack of access to basic social services such as drinking water, schools and health facilities, as well as from the absence of governance and rule of law institutions. This has made the resettlement process very challenging for the returning population.

The 14 May 2008 outbreak of violence between SPLA and SAF, left Abyei Town almost completely destroyed and more than 50,000 residents of Abyei became IDPs fleeing to the South and to the North villages. The dispute culminated in the signing of the “The Road Map for the Return of IDPs and the Implementation of the Abyei Protocol” which specifically seeks to address issues related to security arrangements, IDPs return, interim arrangements for the Abyei Administration and arrangements for final settlements.

Further, the area has not had an administration in place since the signing of the CPA. Over the last three years, a combination of Security Organs, SSRRC/HAC and traditional authorities and non-agreed administration have been filling this role partially. With the new Administration soon to be sworn in, GoNU and GoSS support is anticipated. The main challenges in Abyei for 2008 are the return and settlement of the displaced people, reconstructing Abyei town; managing the ethnic tensions that were heightened during the recent fighting; and supporting this new administration to set up and function.

In January 2005, with the support of the Netherlands, DFID, USAID, UNDP launched the Recovery of Abyei Area through the Good Governance and Poverty Reduction project. The three-year initiative is articulated around three interrelated components: the Rule of Law, Governance and Recovery and Reintegration. The programme was extended for another year with additional financial support from UNDP to complete the ongoing activities, rehabilitate the UNDP premises and lead the recovery framework for Abyei after the May 2008 conflict between the parties.

The project’s main objective is to support initiatives for the recovery and reintegration process in the Abyei Area. The specific objectives of the project are:
• To improve the welfare of the people living in the project area through area recovery and support to livelihoods.
• To strengthen local authorities and civil society to support area recovery and peaceful coexistence through the rule of law and good governance.
• To empower communities to exercise their rights, and resolve conflict through both customary and statutory mechanisms.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements
• Facilitated and financed the development of the Abyei Area Road Map..
• Rehabilitated a total of 8 water yards in and around Abyei Area; installed 15 water distribution points in Abyei Town; trained 20 water caretakers in the area.
• Provided containers for garbage and supported the construction of latrines in Abyei Town.
• Rehabilitated 4 primary schools in Abyei and Meiram towns and provided school furniture to 2 schools in Abyei Town.
• Completed the construction of 10 schools in the new returnee villages and expanded 4 schools by constructing additional classrooms, offices and latrines.
• Constructed six grinding millhouses and equipped the houses with grinding mills;rehabilitated 4 mills and completed refresher training for new committee members of the mills.
• Provided six-months’ support to the electricity supply of Abyei Town.
• Rehabilitated the Abyei Town Hospital and Meiram Town Clinic.
• Constructed 2 women’s community centres in Todaj and Agok, and supported 6 months of skills training for women in tailoring, tie-dye, crocheting (40 in Todaj village and 60 in Agok Town and 40 in Abyei Town).
• Constructed/rehabilitated short roads in Abyei Town.
• Completed the construction of a slaughter house in Abyei Town.
• Supported the peace-building activities through provision of sports gear to the youth of Abyei.
• Started the construction of Abyei Town Bus Station (an on-going activity).
• Rehabilitated the Joint Offices of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) and Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) in Abyei and Agok; provided necessary office equipment and furniture and trained their staff in management and monitoring.
• Constructed a traditional courthouse in Abyei Town; the courthouse was equipped through an in-kind donation from USAID/OTI; court officials were trained in basic computer skills.
• Constructed a Justice and Confidence Centre (JCC) to initiate legal aid activities; trained 16 members of the Abyei Human Rights Group (AHRG), who attended a national Legal Aid training workshop in Khartoum in March 2007, conducted a one-day workshop to educate other group members.
• Established the first Human Rights group in Abyei and provided weekly training sessions on international standards on Human Rights; the Human Rights group conducted awareness sessions in Abyei, Agok and the surrounding villages.
• Constructed two new police stations in Abyei and Agok towns and rehabilitated the holding cells of the old police station in Abyei Town.
• Provided office equipment and stationery for Abyei and Agok police stations.
• Jointly with UN Police, concluded the first ten-day Police Basic Training Course for a total of 168 members of the new Abyei Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU).
• Conducted 7 community police training workshops: 5 in Abyei and 2 in Agok.
• With the UN Police, implemented a 3-week basic computer training course for four members of the Agok police staff, also handed over community policing supplies to Abyei and Agok police.• Conducted two symposiums on the Concept of Rule of Law in Abyei and Agok.
• Undertook 2 community policing workshops on health and hygiene (as it relates to detainees) and an overview of community policing for 14 community members from surrounding areas.
• Conducted training on Human Rights and Rule of Law in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
• Conducted two studies on customary law and traditional justice in Abyei.
• Facilitated the Abyei Human Rights Society - Strategic Planning Workshop in Abyei.
•.Provided office furniture to the traditional leader’s office and tradition court in Al Muglad and Al Meiram towns.
• Supported the Census team to undertake census publicity and awareness in Abyei and surrounding areas.• Completed a mapping exercise to identify active Civil Society Organizations and Government structures/organizations in Abyei Area.
• Strengthened the traditional authorities’ capacity building on working with agencies to implement development projects, undertake advocacy on behalf of its members and to engage the local government, once in place, on accountability to the people.
• Coordinated the civil society to form an Abyei Civil Society Network and established a local network for CSOs and women, and provided technical and operational support for 20 CSOs and CBOs.
• Provided stationary to the CSOs as part of the capacity building support.• Organized a gender mainstreaming event in Abyei and supported the women’s manifesto to advocate for the increased participation of women in decision-making, launched on International Women’s Day in 2007
• Jointly with the UNMIS Human Rights Division supported the celebration of the International Women’s Day 2008 in Abyei Town.
• Organized/supported 3 peace-building conferences for the leaders of the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya nomads to discuss matters pertaining to the annual migration.
• Supported the Abyei Technical Committee on Education to convene a two-day forum on community participation in education. The forum successfully met its objectives; to create awareness of community participation in decision-making and management of schools and to collect views on the terms of reference for PTAs in schools. • Supported the preparation of the Abyei Human Rights Group (AHRG) constitution.
• Carried out a two-day constitution writing session as part of capacity building for AHRG.
• Organized a training of trainers (ToT) session for 30 women members of AHRG. The session was centred on the function and skills of paralegals in the community. Conducted human rights awareness-raising sessions in local communities neighbouring Abyei Town.
• Organized a TOKTEN workshop to introduce the project to local CSOs and SSRRC/HAC staff.
• Organized two workshops for local NGOs and community leaders in Abyei, on management of CSOs and leaders awareness on Gender and Women’s Human Rights, respectively. The second workshop was a joint initiative of the UNMIS Human Rights Division and UN Police in Abyei.
• Supported the Abyei CSO Network to conduct a two-day workshop to develop their constitution in readiness for registration with SSRRC/HAC. A taskforce comprising 4 local NGOs reviewed the final draft and disseminated it widely to the Network membership for validation and endorsement

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