The origins of the current complex political emergency in Sudan date back more than forty years, when the first civil war began. It continues to the present day with no end in sight. Deliberate targeting of civilians has been a key feature of the war, to deny support to the opposite side, and to gain access to valuable resources. The impact is a chronic emergency that defies the traditional emergency model of a short-term, contained event. There are periods of particularly acute humanitarian suffering and need, of which the most recent and one of the most severe examples is the famine in Bahr El Ghazal in 1998.
Much of the international humanitarian response to Sudan’s complex political emergency is organised through OLS, a unique tripartite agreement, formalised in 1994, between the GoS, the rebel movements in the south (SPLA and SSIM) and the UN.