Simon Maxwell, Director ODI
1. ODI hosted the Ambassador of Sudan, H.E. Hasan Abdin, Dr Mansour Kalid, Senior Economic Advisor to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, and Jon Bennett, UN Team Leader, Sudan Joint Assessment Mission (JAM), to discuss the ‘Framework for Sustained Peace, Development and Poverty Eradication in Sudan’, which is being presented at an international donors’ pledging conference in Oslo on the 11th and 12th April.
2. Government officials, academics, civil society organisations and development policy analysts attended, and it proved a valuable opportunity to discuss the challenges for the international community to help Sudan realise peace dividends following the historic peace agreement on 9 January 2005.
3. Simon Maxwell, Director ODI, introduced the meeting, noting what an optimistic plan the Framework document was, and what an historic opportunity the CPA presented.
The Ambassador of Sudan and Dr Mansour Kalid both supported the Framework, while noting that the CPA and the Framework document were not the end of the process, but the beginning, and had laid the foundations for ongoing peaceful resolution of governance, law, infrastructure, basic social services, and economic development issues.
4. Jon Bennett presented in detail the contents of the process and the Framework document, noting that the process of the assessment had been unusual both in its length (the Framework is the outcome of a 14 month process that began as the Naivasha peace negotiations were ongoing) and in the level of participation of the Government, SPLM and civil society groups which the UN/WorldBank Joint Assessment Mission felt demonstrated real ownership of the Framework.
5. He noted too that the Government of Sudan was asking only for one third of the $7.9bn estimated in the Framework document for reconstruction and development, and that funding for peacekeeping, disarmament and security sector reform was being discussed separately.
6. The meeting raised issues of debt relief, the use of oil revenues, decentralisation and devolution, IDP returns, and the importance of not developing aid administrations that were burdensome or supply driven. The onus is on the Government of Sudan to drive reconstruction and development ? they should say ‘no’ to assistance they felt detrimental to the country’s needs. Moreover, peace dividends had to be realised quickly to meet the high expectations of southern Sudanese.
7. Some questioned the assumption that humanitarian assistance could be phased out in the short term. The pattern of high economic growth (officially 7% per annum since 1995) and widespread poverty (90% of people living on less than a dollar a day in the South of Sudan) also cautioned against a development model predicated solely on economic growth. In this respect, the emphasis on basic social services, infrastructure and capacity building in civil administrations was welcome.
8. While lessons could be learned from other post-conflict reconstruction efforts, the international community had to be cautious not to assume that a peace agreement, economic growth and donor enthusiasm meant that peace was a reality for all (Uganda was cited as an example), or that there were not vast needs to be met (in this context, some questioned the likelihood of significant progress towards MDGs in Sudan in the short to medium term).
9. Some participants also questioned the actual level of participation of CSOs in the JAM process, querying how widespread ownership of the framework really was. Several people also expressed concerns that the security situation in Darfur had direct bearing on the possibilities for peace, reconstruction and development in the South. Sustained peace was illusory when conflict still raged in Darfur, and failure to address this in implementing the Framework could prove a fatal flaw.
At this event, Jon Bennett, UN Team Leader, Sudan Joint Assessment Mission, presented the ‘Framework for Sustained Peace, Development and Poverty Eradication in Sudan’, the outcome of the one year Joint Assessment Mission supported by the UN and the World Bank, and lead by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The Framework is to be presented to an international donors’ pledging conference on the 11th and 12th April, so this is a valuable opportunity to discuss the challenges for the international community to help Sudan realise peace dividends following the historic peace agreement on 9 January 2005.