UN Statement in Response to Some Articles on the DDR Programme in Sudan
The Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) program in Sudan is a national program where the UN is a main supporting partner. The DDR program is implemented according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the SPLA/M in 2005. According to the National DDR Strategy the first phase of the program should include the demobilization and the reintegration of 90 000 ex-combatants and members of Special Needs Groups from both sides. The disarmament component of the program is a national responsibility and is handled by both armies SAF and SPLA.
It is clear that the UN’s DDR programme in Sudan is facing many challenges particularly in the South. The UN’s team in Sudan was concerned that the total number of former combatants, and women associated with the armed forces, that have been reintegrated have been low comparing to the total number of DDR participants who were demobilized and received their reinsertion packages. That is why UN commissioned an independent review and why an internal UNDP audit on the Reintegration component is currently ongoing. UN senior management expects that the review will enable all DDR stakeholders to improve the focus of the programme, assess the objective conditions for its implementation and take a critical look at the project and local capacities on the ground. This will also help to bring the necessary adjustments of the current national program until the end of the CPA interim period. After analyzing the main shortfalls of the program with the Review team, the DDR stakeholders (UN, North and South DDR Commissions, donors) have also agreed in their last high level meeting in Khartoum on 15 December 2010 to use the lessons learnt from the implementation of the first phase to design a new post referendum program in the South that addresses the present and future security challenges.
UN has already taken the initiative to conduct audits and evaluations to address the challenges of the DDR program in Sudan. Subsequently, UN Senior management is taking the results of these assessments very seriously so as to improve the program delivery on the ground and is committed to take corrective measures rapidly and in consultation with all parties involved.
The overall political context under which this programme operates is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Some of the planning assumptions in the CPA have not yet materialized on the ground, increasing the complexities and challenges of implementing the programme.
More broadly, this programme is operating in a state that is recovering from a long civil war. That has a very significant impact on the results of reintegration --whether it is the abject poverty in many rural areas, the lack of opportunities or the almost non-existent infrastructure.
That being said UN owes it to the people of South Sudan and our donors to make this programme as successful as possible despite all of the difficulties. The UN family is always looking for ways to improve it and make the intra-UN cooperation more effective.