UN to support the return of internally displaced persons in Sudan
The Darfur Regional Authority and United Nations have signed project documents worth US$88.5 million that will be used to encourage displaced Darfuris to return to the region in line with the Darfur Development Strategy, an agreement reached in 2011 that aims to support peace and development after nearly a decade of armed conflict had caused entire communities to flee from their homes. As one of the key brokers of the 2011 peace talks between the government, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Sudan Liberation Movement in western Sudan, the State of Qatar has contributed almost half of the US$177.4 million required by the 18-month initiative, through the Qatar Development Fund. “The State of Qatar believes in the essential role of development and building peace and stability [in Sudan],” said Qatari Ambassador, HE Rashid Abdel Rahman Al-Naimi. “Qatar has already completed the first phase of building five model villages to encourage the voluntary return of Darfuris [to the region, and has also announced] the building of 10 villages at a cost of US$70 million in Darfur.” The projects, named Foundational and Short Term activities, will focus on getting children back to school, promoting entrepreneurship, employment, and trade through microfinance, creating access to safe water and health facilities, and constructing environmentally sustainable shelters and power supplies for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, refugees, and ex-combatants. Thirteen United Nations agencies–UNICEF, UNEP, UNHCR, ILO, UNOPS, UNDP, UNFPA, WHO, UNIDO, FAO, UN-Habitat, UN Women, and IOM–will be responsible for implementing the projects across the five states of Darfur, together with support from the Government of Sudan. “We would like to express our deep appreciation to the State of Qatar and the United Nations for its continued commitment to achieving durable peace, recovery, and development,” said Dr El Tigani Seisi, Chairperson of the Darfur Regional Authority. “We confirm the Government of Sudan’s full commitment to supporting development, stability, and economic recovery in Darfur.” In 2015, an estimated 166,000 were registered or reported as having been displaced as ongoing conflict and tribal violence in the Darfur region continue to make it hard for people to return to their villages.
By Adam Pitt
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Photo: European Commission