25 June 2008The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be supporting the reintegration of 180,000 Sudanese ex-combatants as they return to civilian life under an agreement signed today with the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be supporting the reintegration of 180,000 Sudanese ex-combatants as they return to civilian life under an agreement signed today with the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan.Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) is an important component of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan.The agreement signed today builds on the achievements of the disarmament and demobilisation pilot phase launched in 2006. The beneficiaries will include some 24,000 members of the Sudan Armed Forces and 26,000 others pre-registered by the Popular Defence Forces. Nearly 5,300 women associated with armed forces and groups, and 17,500 disabled combatants are also eligible. Under the four-year programme – which will be led and implemented by the DDR Commissions of North and South Sudan, with support from UNDP – ex-combatants will receive social, economic and psychological support as they make the transition back into civilian life and begin anew in their communities. “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,” said UNDP Associate Administrator Ad Melkert.“The dividends of peace are long overdue. Employment generation and re-integration of former combatants is key to this process,” he added. The agreement was signed at a DDR Donor Conference in Geneva, co-chaired by UNDP and the Government of Japan, at which donors reiterated their full support to the Sudan DDR programme, requiring $430 million over a four-year period.Adequate funding will be key to ensuring the sustainability of the programme which is designed to help foster peace and security in 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.”
“While we have had a good response to the flash appeal there are critical shortfalls in the area of food supplies and health,” UN humanitarian coordinator Finn Reske-Nielsen said. “The displaced population is incredibly vulnerable and the camps have the potential to become flashpoints if we cannot continue to provide basic humanitarian needs.”The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it has already reduced rations of supplementary food for internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, and warned that vital food supplies will be exhausted within two weeks. It had asked for $5.2 million in the recent flash appeal but has so far received only $2.2 million. The agency started immediately reducing its corn-soy blend of flour by 25 per cent per person, and warned that its school feeding and mother and child programmes are at risk. The bulk of the food is provided by the Government, while WFP‘s contribution is supplementary.The Ministry of Health, supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners, today launched a nutritional screening of displaced children in Dili, the capital, to assess the extent of malnutrition. Mr. Reske-Nielsen said the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF would start paying the salaries for Labour Ministry employees directly involved in humanitarian assistance. On the political front, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Sukehiro Hasegawa, and Special Envoy Ian Martin continued their contacts with government officials to help find a solution to the crisis which erupted in late April with the dismissal of 600 soldiers, a third of the armed forces. At least 37 people have been killed in the turmoil, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions.The two UN officials met with Senior Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and were briefed on a plan designed to replace Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who resigned on Monday, without dissolving parliament.Some 3,000 demonstrators from the eastern regions, who descended on Dili yesterday in support of Mr. Alkatiri and camped overnight in front of the government house, were addressed by both Mr. Alkatiri and President Xanana Gusmao today before being escorted out of town by Australian soldiers without major incidents. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the capital was calmer.The Combined Task Force from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia, invited in by the Government, is helping to quell violence, but Mr. Annan has said it is obvious that the UN will have to go back “in a much larger form than we are at the moment” to the country that it shepherded to independence from Indonesia just four years ago.The world body first set up the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in 1999 after the country voted for independence from Indonesia, which had taken it over at the end of Portugal’s colonial rule in 1974. Mr. Martin was Mr. Annan’s Special Representative in the territory at that time. This robust structure was kept until independence in 2002, when UNTAET was replaced with a downsized operation, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). This in turn was succeeded by the current, even smaller UN office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), which has a mandate through 20 August. The Security Council has asked Mr. Annan to report back on a possible expanded UN presence in the country by early August.