Ad Melkert to the U.S. State Department on Sudan

23 Jun 2009

Statement by Ad Melkert, UN Undersecretary General and Associate Administrator of UNDP

SE Gration, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would to thank the Government of the United States of America for hosting this important meeting as part of our collective efforts in supporting the people of Sudan.

Almost five years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, today we meet at a time of an unprecedented global economic crisis that pre-occupies many countries in the world.  The decline in world oil prices has had a significant impact on Sudan, more severely so on the Government of Southern Sudan as its revenues dropped by almost half.

In addition, the enormous mineral wealth of Sudan is being diverted from development into an arms build up that undermines the security and livelihoods of ordinary people.

Since the signatures of the CPA, we have witnessed progress on most issues, although the pace has been slow. But allow me to highlight some of the key elements of the CPA that will require continued Sudanese leadership and sustained international support.

1.    We are pleased to note that, although the timetable has been slipping, important progress has been made on the preparation for national elections planned for 6 February 2010.  Peaceful and transparent elections will be of significant importance to the peace process and are a critical milestone in the implementation of the CPA. The elections will provide a unique opportunity to all Sudanese citizens to exercise their rights and to make their voices heard. Elections will give an opportunity to civil actors otherwise excluded from the CPA, to be part in the peace process. Fair, competitive elections are a key process for their inclusion. This will help to create a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious state as stipulated by the CPA.

2.    The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) process has been launched in the Three Protocol Areas and Southern Sudan to deal with a first group of 64,000 ex-combatants out of planned 180,000 ex-combatants to be demobilised and reintegrated. This is one area where we have seen the North and the South DDR commissions working very closely together in an integrated National DDR plan.  As of 9 June 2009, 4,500 ex-combatants have been demobilized.  We are encouraged by the leadership and constructive joint efforts of the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in the area of DDR.  Further steps to enhance trust in the DDR process by both parties are needed, particularly clarification on issues related to verification and management of the weapons, proportional downsizing of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA), and Government contributions to the DDR process. 

The voluntary funding available for the reintegration component this year will cover the costs of reintegration of only 20,000 ex-combatants.  Unless additional international resources are made available quickly, demobilization operations will need to pause once they reach 20,000. This would halt momentum and is an alarm bell to all who want to make serious progress as expectations will go unmet, with potential security risks.

A strong GNU and GOSS leadership and our collective support is a prerequisite for sustaining peace in Abyei and the two Protocol States and for delivering the long-awaited peace dividends to the people in this area.

We do have evidence of results.  For instance, the community based recovery and rehabilitation Programme (RRP) targeted 800,000 Sudanese nationals through capacity development and institutional strengthening, improved livelihoods and support to basic services within the affected local communities. With support from the European Commission and UNDP, 44 national and international NGOs are working together in 10 states across the country, leading recovery efforts by successfully building water systems, rehabilitating water points, schools and health facilities, and conducting training sessions for community development committees, local government authorities, teachers and health workers.  

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Despite progress in some key areas of the CPA, however, peace is still fragile. The continued inter-communal and tribal conflicts in Jonglei State and elsewhere in Southern Sudan call for comprehensive stabilization and careful integrated community security strategies. In that context the Third Round of SRF allocations will focus primarily on community security. Strengthening government institutions and enhancing accountability and transparency of the public sector at all levels are fundamental steps towards achieving peace and stability, recovery and development. Unless Southern Sudan has better functioning government institutions, including at states level, able to deliver on people’s needs and ensure the application of rule of law, the risks of further escalation and new conflicts is high. 

Finally, I think that there is agreement that peace dividends are not reaching the population fast enough, especially in Southern Sudan, which continues to be one of the poorest places on earth.  Social indicators continue to be amongst the worst in the world and none of the Millennium Development Goals is expected to be met by 2015. Where female illiteracy is 92% and only 3% have access to sanitation, the Government of South Sudan and the international community must work jointly to build a minimum social safety net.

We need to collectively do better.  We at the UN are committed to further intensify our efforts and support. Delivery of peace dividends through financing mechanisms such as the MDTF, Sudan Recovery Fund for Southern Sudan (SRF-SS), the Capacity Building Trust Fund, and the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) is crucial for the population to keep hope and faith in the CPA and to achieve a better life after decades of warfare.  This meeting must reaffirm the confidence in both parties to the CPA to continue their commitment and further enhance their efforts to achieve a full implementation of the peace agreement. I call on the international community, despite the serious global economic crisis; to continue its support to enable the people of Sudan achieve a long lasting peace, stability and prosperity. Today’s gathering is a testimony of such shared commitment.

Thank you.