UNDP helps Sudan communities recover from conflict
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is helping families returning to Abyei near the south-west border of Sudan's central Kordofan region and the community to improve their livelihoods, steps that support a locally-led peace process that is bringing stability to an area long torn by conflict.
The nearby Bahr Al-Arab river has been a dividing line in the conflict, and UNDP and its partners are working with civil society groups to contribute to cross-river cooperation to build confidence among the community and its neighbors.
More than 200 families arrived in Abyei last month, bringing the total to more than 800 families returning from Khartoum and other areas of Sudan during the past few years. Conflict forced most to leave almost 25 years ago.
UNDP is helping to coordinate local recovery activities, with UNICEF providing essential drugs for health care and school kits, WHO assisting with immunizations, the World Food Program supplying food aid, and UNDP and UNICEF helping to improve water supplies.
A UNDP project is assisting returnees and people in the community improve their earnings in an economy almost completely based on sharing and carefully managing local resources.
The project has carried out land use studies and assessed natural resource management.
In partnership with FAO and civil society organizations, it is setting up seed banks and distributing local seed varieties, providing tools, boats and fishing equipment, and promoting collection of honey and gum arabic.
The US Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency are funding the project. These activities support efforts by the Abyei Peace Committee to resolve disputes between ethnic groups in the area, and the local peace process is a foundation for community recovery.
"We believe that this pilot intervention can be a successful model for a strategy for zones in transition across the Sudan," said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Roberto Valent.
The strategy ensures that conflict-related issues are clearly identified and addressed in a holistic, collaborative framework, said Valent. It focuses on enhancing local capacity to respond to economic risks and helps both community members and returnees better their lives. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)