Monday, April 11, 2005

Sudan International Donor's Conference held in Oslo - UN & Partners 2005 Work Plan - Sudan may face renewed civil war

This morning, the Norway Post confirms the Sudan International Donor's Conference will open in Oslo today, Monday 11 April.

Kofi Annan will participate, together with delegates from 60 nations and international organisations.

The US is represented by Deputy Foreign Secretary Robert Zoellick. China and several Arab nations are also represented for the first time.

Hilde Frafjord Johnson

Photo: The highly regarded Norwegian Minister for International Development, Hilde Frafjord Johnson, hopes the conference will put forward considerable contributions.

Sudan will need aid in the billions to rebuild a nations which has been completely devastated by civil war. The health and education systems have been destroyed, and it has been estimated that USD 8 billion will be needed over the next three years. It is expected that USD 2.6 billion of these must come from donor nations. 'We of course would like to see as much generosity from donors as possible,' Frafjord Johnson says. (AFP/SCANPIX/File)
- - -

2005 United Nations and Partners: Work Plan for the Sudan

Today, April 11, the Scotsman's correspondent, Rob Crilly reports the following from Rumbek, South Sudan in a piece titled Sudan may face renewed civil war:

INTERNATIONAL donors meet in Oslo today to agree a multi-billion-dollar development package for Sudan, amid fresh warnings that anything less than a major programme of funding could start a slide back to civil war in the south of the country.

They say huge expectations of a peace dividend in the new southern capital, Rumbek - where officials have begun dreaming of international airports and power stations - could be dashed, with violent consequences.

A peace agreement in January ended the 21-year war between southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the Khartoum government in the north. Now, attention is turning to development in a region where 90 per cent of the population earns less than $1 (53p) a day and average life expectancy is 42.

Today, international governments will be asked to sign up to a 4.2 billion GBP programme to provide clean water and basic health and education services.

It has been drafted by United Nations officials and teams from Khartoum and the south, and two-thirds of the money will come from Sudan's vast oil wealth, with the remainder requested from donors.

Jon Bennett, the UN team leader of the Sudan Joint Assessment Mission, which drafted the programme, said huge expectations, coupled with a lack of financial infrastructure might mean delays in seeing a peace dividend. "The whole equation adds up to the potential for a great deal of disappointment and, even worse, the potential for a return to conflict based around local resources," he said.

Nowhere are expectations more obvious than in Rumbek, a dusty, broken-down town chosen by the rebels as temporary capital of their "New Sudan". Maker Aliap, a tobacco seller in the town's market, says: "We want a city that is like London, but we don't have the human resources to build it yet."

Around him, bare-footed children play amid the detritus of war. Trenches run beside the red-dirt roads, and three tanks rust on the ground where they were stopped by rebels. Local people live in tukuls - round mud huts with thatched roofs. The few brick buildings were largely destroyed during the war that claimed two million lives. It all makes for an unlikely capital.

The optimism is based on Rumbek's potential wealth. Under the terms of the peace deal, a power-sharing government in the south - including rebels and representatives of the Khartoum administration - was handed a 50 per cent stake in Sudan's oil reserves. Back-of-the-envelope calculations by UN officials suggest that it could translate into revenue of $50 million a month.

Already, there are signs of progress - aid agency money and entrepreneurs have arrived in the three months since peace.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has repaired miles of pot-holed tracks so that its huge lorries can rumble off into the drought-stricken countryside. Enterprising businessmen from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, have set up a rudimentary mobile phone network and a bank has opened in one corner of Freedom Square, a dusty collection of football pitches and meeting places at the centre of Rumbek.

Rebuilding the country's infrastructure will take years. But before the fledgling administration can turn its full attention to schools, hospitals and the rule of law, there is a more pressing need - food. The WFP estimates that 3.2 million people in the south are in desperate need of emergency supplies after poor rains ruined last year's harvest.

For now, aid agencies are pinning their hopes on the Oslo conference, which they believe will kick-start development and help attract back the engineers, doctors and other professionals Sudan needs to rebuild itself.

Ramiro Lopes Da Silva, the WFPs country director, said: "Sudan stands at a crossroads. One way leads to peace and development, while the other descends into increasing competition and tensions over scarce land and food."

Rebel Sudanese fighters
Photo: Rebel Sudanese fighters signed a peace deal with the Khartoum government in January 2005, but a lack of investment could raise tensions again. [Scott Nelson/Getty Images]
- - -

Donors study south Sudan aid deal

The world's wealthy nations are meeting in Norway today to agree an aid package for rebuilding southern Sudan, three months after a peace deal ended its civil war, says the BBC today in its report Donors study south Sudan aid deal. The BBCs Jonah Fisher in Juba, southern Sudan, says the region is one of the poorest in the world, with women and children among its most needy people.
- - -

Other news agencies over the last 24 hours say a report by the UN and World Bank, backed by Khartoum and the SPLM, confirms Sudan needs $2.6 billion in aid to the end of 2007 to help build everything from roads to schools. Excerpts from April 11, 2005, news reports:

More than two million people were killed and four million displaced by a 21-year long war pitting the mainly animist and Christian south against the Arab north in a conflict complicated by issues of oil, ethnicity and ideology.

Sudanese Vice-President Taha said donors should not be reluctant because of the separate conflict in Darfur. "Sudan needs help," Taha said. "And when people in Darfur see that the prize for peace is support and encouragement by the international community, I think that's a very important incentive for peace to prevail in Darfur."

In the south, 90 percent of people live in poverty, only about a third of young adults are literate and one child of every four dies before the age of five. Many women spend most of their time collecting water and fuel. "Women have been the marginalized of the marginalized," John Garang, leader of southern Sudan's former rebel group SPLM/A said. He drew cheers at the women's meeting by promising free primary education for all - even though he said that it would only be achieved by 2015.

Last week, a senior US official said that Washington, another rich donor, would pledge significant new aid for southern Sudan but added that Darfur cast a shadow.

"If the situation in Darfur continues to worsen neither we nor others will be able to support implementation of the comprehensive (North-South) peace agreement," he told reporters on condition of anonymity. US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick will attend the Oslo talks on Tuesday.

Refugees waiting for water in Darfur, Sudan
Photo: Refugees from Darfur wait for water to be brought to them by an aid agency. Japan will offer 100 million dollars in aid to Sudan to help rebuild Sudan following a peace deal that ended its 21-year north-south civil war (AFP/File)
- - -

Excerpt from ReliefWeb article titled 'Use aid money effectively to promote Sudan-wide peace', agencies urge donors' April 10, 2005:

The Joint Assessment Mission funding appeal calls for $2.6 billion from the international community to support Sudan's recovery from war. The Joint Assessment Mission is a year-long United Nations/World Bank funded assessment of post conflict needs in Sudan involving the parties to the conflict as well as civil society and international non-governmental organisations.

Most international donors will pledge their funds for Sudan through Multi Donor Trust Funds. The Government of Sudan, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement, World Bank and UN will be on the Steering Committees of these Trust Funds. Aid agencies are seeking greater independent representation on these Funds.

The UN humanitarian appeal for Sudan is part of the 2005 UN Work Plan, launched in November 2004 which requests $1,528,802,491 for all of Sudan. As of March 13 2005, only $478 million had been pledged. (Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA). The work plan can be accessed here below.

South Sudan has some of the worst humanitarian statistics in the world. One hundred and fifty children in every thousand die during childbirth; one in four children dies before the age of five; only two per cent of children complete primary school - the lowest rate in the world. (Source: New SudanCentre for Statistics and Evaluation and UNICEF, May 2004).

udanese women at the Al-Fateh camp
Photo: Sudanese women pose at the Al-Fateh camp, 38 kms north of the city of Omdurman. (AFP/Salah Omar)

Excerpt from the Executive Summary of the Work Plan for the Sudan:

The 2005 Work Plan outlines the strategic and operational plan of the United Nations and its partners, and presents 304 projects to be implemented by 49 agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Programmes and projects focus on southern Sudan, Transitional Areas (Abyei, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains), Darfur, and eastern Sudan. There are also a number of national programmes in direct support of the peace process. 145 projects are classified as 'humanitarian', and 159 as recovery or development.

To implement these projects in 2005, the UN and its partners require a total of US$ 1.48 billion. Of this amount, nearly US$ 720 million is required to provide and distribute food aid. While the need for food assistance is high, particularly in conflict and drought affected areas, the costs of transporting food assistance in Sudan are also substantial given the poor quality of the road, rail and river transport network. Click here for highlights of the 2005 Work Plan.

Sudanese woman at IDP camp of Krinding
Photo: A Sudanese woman loads her donkey standing next to a camel at a relief delivery site in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Krinding in 2004. The United States plans to contribute some 1.8 billion dollars to rebuild violence-plagued Sudan but wants to make sure its aid produces no political capital for the current government in Khartoum.(AFP/File/Cris Bouroncle) April 8, 2005.
- - -

China builds Sudan largest power-transmission project

A report today April 11 at China's People's Daily Online says China is building Sudan's largest power-transmission project. Copy:

The foundation stone laying ceremony of a power-transmission and transformation line project undertaken by China was held in Sudan on Saturday. The project is the largest power-transmission and transformation line project ever started in Sudan. The line has a total length of 1,776 kilometers and costs nearly $400 million.

More than 1,000 people including Sudanese Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, project manager, local officials as well as Chinese officials attended the ceremony. Local people celebrated the occasion by killing animals and chanting folk songs in line with local custom.

The project manager said the project was undertaken by a capable Chinese company - Harbin Power Station Co. Ltd. Once the project was completed it would bring light to most regions in Sudan. It would be of great help to the economic construction in Sudan. He believed that the project would be successfully completed by 2007 as scheduled. By then a grand ceremony would be held at the same place. He said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chinese government and people for their long-standing support and help in both political and economic terms."

The power-transmission and transformation line project is the supporting project of a dam project under construction. The dam is called "Sudan's Three Gorges Project" by local people. Once the dam is completed it will essentially solve the problem of power shortage in Sudan. It is also one of the largest overseas water conservancy and electricity projects undertaken by China.
- - -

Ottawa will send troops to Sudan

31 Canadian soldiers are to join UN observers in early summer. Full Story via National Post, April 11, 2005.
- - -

UN calls for Irish peacekeepers in Sudan

Reports this morning April 11 say UN representatives asked for Irish involvement in the mission during a visit to Sudan last week by Junior Minister Conor Lenihan.

The reports said Mr Lenihan was "anxious" to facilitate the request and would discuss it shortly with Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea.
- - -

John Prendergast: Bush mistook me for Bono

Like his doppelgaenger, John Prendergast is a man on a mission - to save 2 million lives in Darfur.

Jane Bussmann pushes past Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton to catch up with the radical peacekeeper. Full Story at Independent UK, April 11, 2005.
- - -

Bush to discuss troubled Great Lakes region with Rwandan leader

President George W Bush will discuss Rwanda's peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and stability in Africa's troubled Great Lakes region, with visiting Rwandan President Paul Kagame, shown here above in February 2005, next week, the White House said April 9. Kagame will visit the White House April 15.

"President Bush looks forward to discussing Rwanda's peacekeeping efforts in Sudan, stability in the African Great Lakes region, democracy and reconciliation issues, and bilateral trade and other developmental efforts," a White House spokesman said. The Great Lakes region has witnessed bloody conflicts that have claimed five million lives. (AFP/File/Salah Omar) April 9, 2005.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Photo: Rwandan President Paul Kagame, February 2005.

No comments: