United Nations Fund for Recovery Reconstruction and Development in Darfur (UNDF)
The Darfur Development Strategy
After a decade of conflict and displacement, the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) strengthened the peace process and laid the groundwork for recovery and reconstruction. The former Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), Government of Sudan and the international community agreed on the need to have a coordinated and comprehensive strategy for supporting peace and development in the region. In accordance with the provisions of the DDPD, the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) was conducted in the later part of 2012. Informed by the needs and priorities of communities, identified through comprehensive, consultative workshops in all five Darfur states and the refugee communities in Chad, the Darfur Development Strategy (DDS) evolved. The DDS offered a sequenced, coordinated and holistic plan for equitable, sustainable and participatory development, vital to move Darfur out of a cycle of conflict and poverty, towards a stable and prosperous future.
The establishment of the UNDF responds to Article 32 of the DDPD which stipulates that “since the financial resources and expertise required to undertake such an operation are beyond Sudan's capacity, the Parties request the international community to urgently and fully participate in this initiative and assist in the provision of necessary resources and expertise and partake in meeting the needs set for this purpose through the establishment of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund.”
The UNDF was established under the overall leadership of the former DRA and the United Nations Country Team, represented by the UN Resident Coordinator, and with participation of the Government of Sudan (GoS).
All programmes/projects funded by the UNDF are in support of, and strictly aligned with the priorities of the Government of Sudan, as described in the DDS, ensuring full national ownership. The UNDF complements other support that will be provided to recovery and development in Darfur by Sudan’s partners and bring strategic value in developing capacity and promoting sustainability. The UNDF enhances coherence, transparency and accountability in the implementation of key components of the DDS.
The UNDF Steering Committee (SC) is the main governance body that provides oversight of the Fund, establishes the fund allocation criteria under the guidance of the Darfur Coordination Board (DCB), makes the resource allocation decisions for the programmes/projects based on the technical review by the UNDF Secretariat and the progress of the DDS, as determined by the DCB, with which the Steering Committee coordinates and shares information.
The SC is assisted by the Technical Secretariat of the UNDF in overseeing the Fund-level management, monitoring, reporting and evaluation, programme/project management, programme/project costing, cost recovery, implementation modalities, results-based reporting, impact assessment and information management, including appropriate UNDF, GoS, DRA, and contributing partners’ visibility.
The UNDF is administered by UNDP through its Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), as Administrative Agent (AA), on behalf of the participating UN organisations, as agreed with the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the former Darfur Regional Authority through the Darfur Coordination Board (DCB).
FaST Activity Projects
Creating a platform for long-term stability and development, the FaST projects of the DDS, supported by the Qatar Development Fund through the UNDF, have 3 immediate objectives:
- Build confidence among the communities of Darfur in a future based on peace, hope and stability;
- Reduce dependency on humanitarian aid by investing on recovery and longer term development;
- Create real alternatives and viable options for young men and women through education and sustainable livelihoods to prevent the return to violent conflict.
The FaST activities, covering all five states of Darfur, are meant to demonstrate the immediate benefits of peaceful cooperation. The FaST activities are planned to bring early tangible results, such as providing out-of-school children with a new chance at education, generating employment and sustainable livelihoods, providing water and health facilities, rehabilitating markets, promoting microfinance to support local entrepreneurship and trade, building environmentally sustainable shelters and providing improved power supplies to facilitate the safe return and reintegration for IDPs, refugees and ex-combatants.
The FaST projects apply, where possible, an area-based approach, by focusing on certain geographical locations in each state to ensure complementarity, as well as ensuring that tangible benefits and immediate peace dividends are delivered to the people of Darfur within the period of 18 months to rebuild their trust and confidence in the future stability of their region.
All projects will complement and build synergies with ongoing interventions by the GoS and the DRDF, as well as international humanitarian and development actors in the region. This will ensure that technical and administrative skills are built within government institutions and communities to maintain and sustain further long-term recovery and development progress through collaborative mechanisms build on accountability and transparency.
To ensure sustainability, the basic service facilities rehabilitated through the FaST projects will be included in the relevant ministries’ human resource and financial plans to ensure the ability to retain essential staff and cover operational costs. The facilities will be powered with renewable energy to further lower recurrent costs.
Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism will be established to ensure that the overall impact of the FaST activities supported by the Qatar Development Fund is documented and published and lessons learned are shared worldwide. This will contribute to the global knowledge in areas of post-conflict recovery and development.
Sheikhat transforming traditional conflict resolution in Darfur
In Ardamata IDP camp in the outskirts of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, three communities come together: the returnees who are coming back home after being displaced by conflict, nomads and host communities. Ardamata is fast becoming an example of how communities in Darfur can come together in peace.
Ehssan Youssef Abdelwahab lives in the camp and is a member of the recently constituted Sheikhat, a group that mediates when there is a conflict or a dispute between the women of the different groups. Sheikhat are not new to Darfur, they were the traditional mechanisms for settling disputes and undertaking mediation and reconciliation at regional and local levels in the region. Now that conflict is fading out and peace is spreading between the communities, these traditional justice mechanisms, with the support of the Promoting Reconciliation and Co-existence for Sustainable Peace (PRCSP) in Darfur project, are being established again.
Ehssan Youssef Abdelwahab considers that it´s a big step forward. As a women coordinator for the Peace and Reconciliation Committee in the Ardamata IDP Camp, she confirms that women started to mediate in women conflicts. “Women in Darfur are one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the community. These forums have allowed women to engage with the native administration and to have a voice and contribute to peace building and reconciliation. In fact, now through these forums, we managed to have our own mediation groups (Sheikhat). Also, we are represented in the Peace and Reconciliation Committee and we are allowed to attend sessions when a woman is party in the dispute”.
Of special importance to the community forums are the Peace and Reconciliation Committees that Ehssan mentions. The forums are advocating for the participation of women as permanent members in all peace committees and not only when a woman is party in the dispute.
“There´s still a long way to go” says Hayat Mohamed Abubaker, the secretary of the Women´s Union in Sirba Locality (West Darfur), at the end of the first forum organised at the new Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Centre built by the project in the locality. “The most important step is that women have started to work together to resolve our problems and men are beginning to listen to us”.
In the same building, the Commissioner from Sirba Locality, Abdulrahim Mohamed Saeed, who also attended the first forum, reaffirms the support from the Government to the project: “women are the ones who have suffered the most in the conflict. We need to support shushiat – women leaders – who lead other women, they need to have a voice between men. The Government welcomes the forums and the support they give to the women to have a stronger role in society.”
Before the latest conflict, the native administration and informal justice system in Darfur was strongly rooted and effective. Now UNDP – with the support of UNAMID Civil Affairs Section, through the United Nations Development Fund (UNDF) funded by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), is leading the Promoting Reconciliation and Co-existence for Sustainable Peace (PRCSP) in Darfur project that is organising the community forums around the five states to bring those traditional justice mechanisms back and adapting them to the current context. They review the status of traditional conflict resolution approaches, identify constraints that impact on the effective functioning of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms and formulate recommendations to address the constraints. In addition, the first and foremost objective of these community forums is to identify entry points for women to participate in the mediation processes at community level to enhance dialogue among women and men on reconciliation issues impacting on community stability and social cohesion. With the organisation of these forums and the overall implementation, the project is realizing that:
· The best way for the inclusion of women to participate in peace building and reconciliation/mediation is to create open space for both women and men to get into dialogue and discuss between themselves.
· It’s been observed that when a peace agreement is signed with the participation and support of the government and initiated by the community, it is more likely to be sustained and respected.