Geneva — The Government of National Unity of Sudan, the Government of Southern Sudan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), signed here today an agreement to support the reintegration of 180,000 ex-combatants and to facilitate their successful transition back to civilian life.
The signing took place at a Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Donor Conference, co-chaired by UNDP and the Government of Japan. At the conference, donors reiterated their full support to the Sudan DDR programme, requiring US$430 million over a four-year period.
With a focus on reintegration, this agreement builds on the achievements of the disarmament and demobilisation pilot phase launched in 2006 with some 24,000 members of the Sudan Armed Forces already pre-registered, and 26,000 others pre-registered by the Popular Defense Forces. In addition, nearly 5,300 women associated with armed forces and groups, and 17,500 disabled combatants were identified as eligible beneficiaries. All these candidates will be included in the initial 180,000 beneficiaries.
‘We recognise the importance of beginning a credible and transparent DDR programme in Sudan, and welcome the support of donors to this reintegration component. We need to ensure that our former combatants have the means and opportunities available to play an active role in civilian life and in the rebuilding of Sudan,’ said Elias Nyamlell Wakoson, State Minister for International Cooperation, in the Government of National Unity.
The programme will provide assistance in support of social, economic, and psychological reintegration. Moreover, it will enhance the ability of local institutions to ensure the long-term sustainable reintegration of ex-combatants.
Over the next four years, the programme, will be led and implemented by the DDR Commissions of North and South Sudan, with support from the UNDP. ‘We welcome the Government of Sudan’s leadership in taking forward the DDR programme, and aim to assist the building of national and local capacities to support national ownership of the process. The dividends of peace are long overdue. Employment generation and re-integration of former combatants is key to this process,’ said UNDP Associate Administrator Ad Melkert.
DDR forms a critical part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for Sudan, signed in January 2005, ending the longest civil war in Africa. Mobilising funds for this reintegration component prior to the start of national DDR throughout Sudan is key to ensuring that the disarmament and demobilisation of former combatants will be sustainable and will contribute to a secure, stable and peaceful Sudan.
‘It must be seen in a broader context of support to peace and national reconciliation, post conflict stabilization, peace building and conflict reduction,’ said Ameerah Haq, UNDP Resident Representative in Sudan ‘The reintegration programme will thus complement existing Government and UN programming that focuses on building peace at the community level.’
Programme activities are slated to begin immediately.
For more information on UNDP’s work in Sudan visit http://www.sd.undp.org/
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