Prioritizing Darfur: The 2012 Darfur Joint Assessment Mission

03 Dec 2012

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The signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) between the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Government of Sudan in July 2011 brought with it a new impetus for recovery and reconstruction in the Darfur region.

As stipulated in the DDPD, a needs-assessment was to be carried out “to identify and assess the needs for economic recovery, development and poverty eradication in the aftermath of the conflict in Darfur.” This assessment would be crucial in considering the needs in social areas and infrastructure which would in turn determine the resources required for addressing those needs within a six year period.

As UNDP Deputy Country Director, Amin Sharkawi noted, “Opportunities for conflict are many but opportunities for peace are few. Security, a fair justice system, basic social services, infrastructure are essential for ensuring livelihoods and peace. This is a shift from humanitarian assistance to development and recovery”

Under the overall guidance of the Government of Sudan, Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) and the State of Qatar, the UNDP was requested to create a Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) Team to take over all technical and logistical coordination and to produce all necessary outputs for the International Donor’s Conference for Darfur.

To support the preparation process 3 committees were created: the first, a Government of Sudan and DRA Committee for overall guidance and sharing information; the second, a Steering Committee chaired by Qatar with members from UNDP, WB, Government of Sudan, United Nations/African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the DRA; and the third, a Planning and Coordination Committee chaired by the DRA Minister of Reconstruction and Development with members from UNDP, World Bank, UNAMID, African Development Bank, EU, DfID and USAID.

The assessment was clustered along ten thematic working groups: (1) Basic Social Services; (2) Governance and Accountability; (3) Rule of Law; (4) Peace and Security; (5) Returns and Reintegration and Urban Planning; (6) Budget Trends and Fiscal Management; (7) Infrastructure Development; (8) Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Livelihoods; (9) Private Sector Development; (10) Natural Resource Management. Special technical support for the DJAM was provided by the WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, USAID, UNWOMEN, UNAMID, UNHCR, UNOPS, UNHabitat, African Development Bank, FAO, WFP, UNIDO and UNEP through the thematic working groups. Technical support to determine the costing was provided by the University of Khartoum. Assistance in organising and implementing the five state consultations was provided by focal persons appointed by each State Government.

Five state consultations took place in each capital in Darfur with each involving intensive three-day workshops. Workshops were divided into two sections with representation from the localities, government, national security authorities and communities for the first day and a half for a wide ranging problem tree analysis for the recognition and establishment of needs and priorities.

A smaller group of decision makers came for the second day to discuss and validate the priorities identified. For Tadjadine Bechir Niam, the DRA Minister for Reconstruction, Development and Infrastructure as well as Chairman for the Planning and Coordination Committee, the process was a great success. “UNDP has been trusted to lead the process in cooperation with the other partners. DRA Chairman Dr. Sessi asked me to convey my sincere appreciations to all those who worked with us, especially those who went to the field for more than 17 days moving from one state to another state. We are very happy.”

For Mohammed Ali Ahmed Sharif, the West Darfur State Minister of Finance, Economy and Labor Force the occasion was a momentous one instilling hope for bettering the lives and livelihoods of his constituents. “We hope that the results of this workshop will reflect positively among our people here in West Darfur in all aspects of life and I’m sure that will make a difference for our people.”

The Darfur Joint Assessment Mission began in September 2012 and concluded in mid- November. The resultant identified priorities will now be synthesized into a comprehensive document to be presented in Doha in at the forthcoming International Donors Conference for Darfur. “We are appealing to the international community, to the NGOs, to the private sector, to all those who stand by the people of Darfur and Sudan at the difficult times,” Niam said. “Those who actually provided all the necessary materials to the IDPs to the refugees to the needy people in Darfur. We appeal to them: the time has come for us to stand with our own legs.”