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'Use aid money effectively to promote Sudan-wide peace', Christian agencies urge donors
Five major international humanitarian aid agencies working in Sudan have urged donor governments meeting in Oslo to follow up the historic Peace Agreement signed earlier this year by using their funds wisely to support peace.
The agencies - CARE International, Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children UK and Tearfund - said funding is desperately needed to meet urgent humanitarian needs across Sudan and to support its recovery from war.
While they urged donors to sustain their commitment to Sudan through multi-year funding, they cautioned that this funding must be directly linked to progress on peace and good governance, including concrete steps towards peace in the war-torn region of Darfur.
"Massive amounts of money are needed, but the way this money is given is also critical," said Sorcha O'Callaghan, spokesperson for the group.
"A balance should be struck between immediately rewarding the north-south peace agreement, and placing conditions on long-term funding so that it promotes peace, including in Darfur."
The situation has become more difficult for many people in South Sudan since the end of the conflict, the agencies said. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are beginning to return home to places which lack food and basic services. In South Sudan today, education rates are the worst in the world. With a population of more than six million, only 500 girls complete primary school each year. In West Sudan, more than two million people are displaced by the continuing war in Darfur.
The humanitarian agencies urged the 60 international donors meeting in Oslo to recognize that the involvement of Sudanese civil society will be central to the success of peace in Sudan. They called upon donors to provide funding and support in a way that allows Sudanese organizations to take up this role. This should start by addressing priorities highlighted at the Oslo Sudan Civil Society Forum in which 100 civil society representatives participated.
"Civil society has been marginalized during Sudan's many years of war. A strong civil society is critical to the creation of a just and lasting peace in Sudan by monitoring progress towards peace. International donors should use their influence to ensure Sudanese organisations have sufficient funding, capacity and space to operate effectively," O' Callaghan said.
The Joint Assessment Mission funding appeal calls for 2.6 billion US dollars from the international community to support Sudan's recovery from war. The Joint Assessment Mission is a year-long United Nations/World Bank funded assessment of post conflict needs in Sudan involving the parties to the conflict as well as civil society and international non-governmental organisations.
One hundred and fifty children in every thousand die during childbirth in South Sudan, one in four children dies before the age of five and only two per cent of children complete primary school - the lowest rate in the world. (Source: New Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation and UNICEF, May 2004).