Critique of the Sudan Government’s Darfur Strategy (I)
Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin has released a near-final draft of the Government of Sudan’s new strategy, entitled “Towards a New Strategy for Achieving Comprehensive Peace, Security and Development in Darfur.” He has announced that although it has not yet been finally approved by the Cabinet, it is already being implemented. It is available here: Office of the Presidential Advisor – Darfur strategy
To do “comprehensive analysis” of this strategy will be a huge task and way beyond inserting reflections and observations. It is a document that should not be taken lightly and should not be dismissed emotionally; albeit political rhetoric that is common between adversaries. We do not see it as Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin’s document, but the 9 members committee on Darfur as it goes way beyond an advisor’s role. If GOS manages to have a true “Whole-of-Government” Approach with teeth and if they can set up an implementation “Architecture” that works, the landscape in Darfur may be different in 8-10 months.
Reading the document, it clearly has the following:
1- A strategy based on domestication of the Comprehensive Political Settlement for Darfur.
2- A strategic direction based on 9 out of 10 bullets on pages 3 and 4 of the document starting with “Enhancing security….” And ending with “Working with all partners….” See Part II when posted
3- Well-defined “Guiding Principles” as template for programming represented by: Re-orienting the peace process, commitment to previous agreements, security, reconciliation and justice, from relief to development adjusting perceptions and reality.
The document is also heavily based on the Sudan People’s Initiative resolutions (SPI) as declared by President Beshir on October 18th 2008. That document enumerated 11 deep-rooted causes of the conflict in Darfur, but fell short of adding a 12th and an important reason which is the habitual “security lens” through which Darfur has been addressed since 1916. That document as well, enumerated from “Thaneian or second” to “Sadesan or sixth” 5 pillars for the resolution of Darfur conflict. It has greatly diluted and curtailed “Sadesan” which is the “political Settlement”; most certainly dwarfed intentionally.
In “objectives and priorities” the document has endorsed all other resolutions of the SPI and added: domestication, working closely with UNAMID, re-orienting humanitarian operations and mobilizing regional and international support to consolidate gains.
The document is a tall order. Very tall order. It is also very diverse in scope and objectives and that makes its realization a challenge under the current and foreseeable circumstances of Sudan; both financial and political.
What is clearly lacking in the document is any hint or clear indication of how the complex “architecture” for such a Strategy will be developed, financed and implemented; in other words the “how”. Under “Implementation on page 9 of the document, it indicated that it was work in progress.
This is of particular importance (and challenge) as the office of the Presidential Advisor and Chief of Darfur Dossier (PACDD) in its present structure, is an advisory and coordinating one and not an executive one. Looking at the 9 entities that form what looks like “Whole-of-Government” Approach to the “Strategy” (Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, 3 Governors of the three States of Darfur and the Interim Regional Authority of Darfur-IRAD) none of them is a hard-core implementing agency within GOS. Coordinating programming without the institutional structures and resources is a task impossible.
A major observation and concern over the document is that GOS has shifted the “centre of gravity” may be too much and too soon from “negotiation” to “domestication”. This is, and shall be, to the great displeasure and resentment of the Rebel Movements and Political Formations of Darfur, let alone the internal opposition parties; as weak as they are.
While we observe that GOS have carefully considered the response of the International Partners and External Stakeholders to the document, their expectations of them may not be forthcoming. This will either result in a “gap” of support and/or funding and may also result in obstruction and new measures to be taken by the so-called International Community.
We see that the Council Of Ministers has allocated $1.9 billion for the strategy. GOS explained to Subsahara Centre that the $1.9 billion are for 4 years 2010 through 2013 inclusive. Out of that amount $600 million are now available for the strategy’s programming. $300 million of that will go to complete the “Western Salvation Road” (WSR). Additional $300 million shall be available to the “Strategy’s Projects” over the next 6 months. GOS further explained to Subsahara Centre that the shortfall up to $1.9 billion ($1.3 billion) is expected to come from loans and Arab Funds. We see that the $1.3 billion is “money on paper” as the entire reserves of Sudan at this moment are about $350 million. The Bank of Sudan has not been able to transfer South Sudan’s due oil share in $$ for two month now and needs to jack up the foreign reserves in Forex and gold to $950 million within 4 months as agreed with the IMF. That puts a big question mark on the resources that can be made available for the programming component of the Strategy.
Added to that will be the implementation “In Conflict” as the Strategy is suggesting and which is very expensive; and not “Post Conflict Reconstruction” (PCR) that has failed even in South Sudan in spite of the intervention of the International Community.
If Darfur and Western parts of Kordofan are to enjoy tranquility, about 200 Haffirs of 100,000 Cubic Meters capacity and over will be needed. That is $100 million. Possibly about 10,000 KM of cleared “massarat” and fire lines will also be needed and that may be another $100 million.
The document seems to be aware of the “nomads” or “pastoralists”. It did not mention any specific allocation of funds for them in the $1.9 billion.
The document also ignored specific mention and specific allocation of funds to sedentary farmers of which the Fur are the largest tribe.
In general, the whole approach needs more work, more thinking, more sensitivity, more consensus and above all GOS must do Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment or (PCIA) while the “project” is still on the “Drawing Board”. This is a very useful tool that points out the “Unintended negative impacts” on communities resulting from the implementation of any project. Such a study, if properly and independently done, may alter or even scrap the strategy altogether.
Part II of the article will deal with the current draft of the Strategy document bullet by bullet and article by article and analyse them.