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UN Week – 1/10/2011

January 14, 2011

by John and Douglas Carey, editors, www.unweek.blogspot.com

Contents of this issue: run-up to Southern Sudan referendum.

          The complexity of UN missions is illustrated by the preparations for the Southern Sudan referendum that started yesterday.  At issue is whether the South will remain as part of the Sudan or secede. Registration of voters started on November 2010 in both the Sudan and in eight other countries.

           The Secretary-General on December 31st concluded a detailed report on preparations for the voting by declaring himself “encouraged by the continued commitment of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement partners to resolve outstanding differences in a peaceful manner.” S/2010/681 at 17.

          The Sudan is roughly divided into the Muslim north and the Christian/Animist south. As of December 28th, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission had registered 3.7 million voters in Southern Sudan, 116,311 in Northern Sudan and 60,243 abroad. Other agencies involved have been the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and the UN’s mission, UNMIS, which is co-chairing the High  Referendum Security Committee.

          The United States had mediated talks in October on Abyei, an area through which an annual cattle migration started in 2010 without the bilateral conferences between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya that normally precede the migration to set rules for intercommunal relations during the migration.

          “In the Abyei Area, the presence of approximately 600 SPLA troops in violation of the Comprhensive Peace Agreement was verified by UNMIS on 11 November. SPLA claimed that its troops were deployed to reinforce security in Abyei ahead of the Misseriya migration. After UNMIS intervened through the local area joint military committee, SPLA agreed to withdraw its troops, proceeding to do so on 16 November.” Id. at 7.

          “The police component [of UNMIS] comprises 662 advisors, of an authorized total of 715. UNMIS police continue to provide training to the Southern Sudan Police Service on referendum security and assistance with the preparation of referendum security plans. To date, UNMIS police have trained 25,840 Southern Sudan Police Service personnel, including 2,254 female officers, in referendum security duties, on many occasions with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).* * *

          “51. During the reporting period, the mine action sector cleared 1,268,655 square metres of land, destroyed 4,743 anti-personnel mines, 539 anti-tanks mines, 355,022 small arms and pieces of ammunition and 14,997 items of unexploded ordnance, opened 209 kilometres of road and provided mine-risk education to 41,980 people in affected areas, including internally displaced persons living in camps. * * *

          “55. In areas of Western Equatoria where attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army have occurred, UNMIS regularly provides military escorts for humanitarian actors, and it is planning to deploy a temporary operating base in Tambura alongside the current base in Ezo.” Id. at 8-10.

          “64. United Nations agencies are rapidly scaling up support to build the capacity of the Government of Southern Sudan. Under the IGAD capacity enhancement programme, administered by UNDP in support of the Ministry of Labour and Public Service, 200 civil servants from IGAD countries will be embedded in ministries and twinned with Southern Sudanese officials to ensure transfer of skills and capacity development. UNDP has also deployed approximately 100 specialists across all 10 States of Southern Sudan to help local government to address capacity gaps in budgeting, legal affairs, policing, urban planning and communications. The Government of Southern Sudan, supported by international partners, is also developing a medium-term poverty reduction and growth plan that will be used to prioritize Government spending and to guide donor assistance from 2011 through 2013.” Id. at 11-12.

          “78. UNMIS and the United Nations country team have developed a contingency plan for the period from November 2010 to June 2011. In the unlikely event that the referendum leads to large-scale violence, approximately 2.8 million people could be internally displaced and another 3.2 million affected by breakdowns in trade and social service delivery. In this scenario, as much as $6.3 million might be required to provide emergency assistance to those in need.” Id. at14.

          According to the Petroleum Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of the Southern Sudan Government, the national Government transferred $522.53 million in oil revenues to the Southern Sudan Government in the third quarter of 2010, making $1.82 billion for January-September 2010. Id. at 5.

          That’s all for this January 10th issue of United Nations Week: News and Views. We’ll be back with the next issue. Meantime, do send along your own views on UN-related issues to www.unweek.blogspot.com

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