She attended the UN Security Council meeting in Nairobi on 18-19 November 2004 to discuss the situation in Sudan.
The Minister was specially invited to present a briefing on the plans for a donor conference after the parties have signed a comprehensive peace agreement for Sudan. Her statement went as follows:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
Let me start by thanking you, Ambassador Danforth, for inviting me to address the Security Council here in Nairobi today. I am grateful for this opportunity to speak about the international donor’s conference for Sudan, and to be part of this highly important meeting.
The fact that the Security Council is meeting in Nairobi sends a strong message: a message about the world’s commitment to support a Sudan without war, a message about the world’s expectations for a speedy conclusion of the IGAD Sudan peace talks, a message that we must all do our part to bring about peace in this country where so many have suffered for so long.
We all welcome and share the Council Resolution’s acknowledgement of IGAD as the peace negotiation forum for Sudan and the MOU, which was just signed. When the parties meet for the next round of talks, they will know that the international community expects them to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion by the end of the year. Norway fully shares the view that a peace agreement is long overdue.
The main responsibility for Sudan’s future development rests with the Sudanese leaders. But it is crucial that the international community stands ready to support the parties in rebuilding and developing the country once the foundation for a Sudan at peace has been laid. Norway has offered to host an international donor’s conference to address the next step: the reconstruction and development of a country devastated by decades of conflict. Preparations for the Oslo conference are well under way; we are only waiting for the parties to take the very last steps to peace.
The situation in Darfur reminds us again and again that these last steps must be taken very soon. Norway strongly condemns the continued killings and attacks on civilians taking place in Darfur, and we fully support the Security Council’s call for the rapid implementation of the Humanitarian and Security Protocols. We welcome and support the efforts of the African Union in the Abuja negotiations and on the ground in Darfur, and commend the parties for signing the significant agreements in Abuja recently. But we share the view that the road to a political solution to the crisis in Darfur goes through the completion of the IGAD peace negotiations.
A comprehensive peace agreement in the IGAD talks will become the platform for peaceful solutions nationally – in Darfur and other volatile regions. But the urgent and undivided attention of the government of Sudan and the SPLM is now needed to complete the process. Sudan is at a crossroads, where the country’s leaders have to choose between the path to peace and stability and the path to fragmentation and fighting. Therefore, the MOU just signed is promising.
The successful outcome of the peace talks will mark the end of one long process and herald the start of another: the rebuilding and development of Sudan. When the parties have laid the foundation for a peaceful environment in the entire country, when internally displaced persons are able to return, when people can go back to their daily lives without fear, when international assistance can safely access all areas of Sudan – that is the time when international long-term development support will be made available.
is the precondition for a successful donor’s conference: an environment which can convince the international community that the best possible use will be made of donor resources.
The international community will come to the table at a donor’s conference well prepared. Plans for assistance to Sudan after the war have been an integral part of the efforts to bring about a political solution. Throughout the IGAD effort, the international donor community, through the IGAD Partners Forum (IPF), has for the last four years been engaged in preparations for assistance in parallel with its support for the peace process. The parties to the conflict have been involved in these preparations every step of the way, and are fully aware of the rewards that are likely to result from the signing of a comprehensive peace deal. The Oslo donors conference will address the construction and development of the whole of Sudan.
In fact, this could be our best-prepared post-war donor process so far. In September, at the IPF meeting in Oslo, the Sudanese parties (including from Darfur) met with the donor community, including China, AU and the Arab League, to discuss preparations for assistance to a future Sudan. The meeting confirmed that IPF will be the forum for donor co-ordination and widened the circle of support for assistance to the new Sudan.
Successful planning does not always translate into successful action. However, if we stick to our plans, I believe Sudan has an excellent chance of success.
Sudan can be rebuilt, but only with massive national and international efforts. The new government structure, the Sudanese, must deliver on their promises, and we as donors must deliver on ours.
In Sudan we are not starting from scratch. We are not starting from zero. We are starting from minus thirty-nine - thirty-nine years of war and destruction.
In the South, millions have been forced to flee their homes, infrastructure is destroyed, the basic structure of society is non-existent.
In Darfur, the destruction is overwhelming.
In most of Sudan, poverty is at a level that will require years of international engagement.
The Sudanese parties and the international community have an enormous task ahead.
We cannot afford to repeat past mistakes from other post-conflict areas of the world.
We know from experience that peace is fragile. It needs attention, protection and nurturing.
We also know that history overflows with examples of promising peace efforts gone awry, opportunities missed and mistakes made. In fact, more than half of all peace agreements fail, and the parties slide back into war. And ironically enough donors, in spite of the best intentions, have often contributed to this.
We have to learn from our mistakes. These are some of the dangers:
- Lack of co-ordination between donors – when national or organisational pride is allowed to take precedence over results on the ground.
- Lack of country ownership – when the country’s government and population are relegated to being spectators, unable to take the steering wheel in a process that should be theirs.
- Lack of long-term commitment from donors – when donors compete to assist for a short period after the peace is made, only to disappear when the next crisis demands attention.
In Sudan, we will pay dearly if these mistakes are repeated. Because of the unique features of this conflict, such mistakes will have more serious consequences here than in most other parts of the world. It is imperative that we as donors take note of lessons learned. If we fail, the consequences will be devastating – not only for the Sudanese people, but for the entire region.
We may only have this one chance to do it right. The Sudanese leaders and the international community have an obligation to make it work.
This is why we need a united international partner group, closely co-ordinated with the Sudanese parties and the post-war Sudan government.
This is why we need close co-operation between the UN and the World Bank, and UN agencies that work in harmony.
This is why we welcome the ongoing efforts of the UN and the World Bank to create joint multi-donor trust funds in close co-operation with the parties and key donors.
This is why we are making plans for joint operations and joint donor offices, preparing for a level of co-operation never seen before.
In Sudan, there is no room for solo players. Lack of co-ordination between donors leads not only to waste of resources. It can also open the way for manipulation that reverses rather than advances the process. We as donors cannot risk becoming pawns in a game we cannot control.
This is why we want to set a new and higher standard for our work in a future Sudan, a standard that can serve as a reference in other post-conflict areas.
The parties have agreed to a model of "asymmetric federalism" that will ensure far-reaching autonomy for the southern region. However, the imbalance between North and South in social, political and economic development lies at the heart of the civil war, and must be addressed by the UN and other donors. The complexity of the peace agreement and the special arrangements for the interim period must be reflected in our joint efforts.
The UN Work Plan for next year has to be owned by the Sudanese parties. It must form an integral part of our joint planning engagement.
Sudanese ownership means ownership by both the new government structure and the population. It means co-operation with the different levels of authority. Development assistance should play a strategic role – strengthening peace in accordance with the letter and spirit of the agreement, rewarding progress and ensuring stability.
And we must have staying capacity. Donors must be committed to a long-term process, making sure Sudan remains a priority until not only peace, but also prosperity, has come within reach for the Sudanese people.
Even a peaceful Sudan cannot be rebuilt in a year or two. Decades of destruction may demand decades of construction – of buildings, of institutions, of people’s lives.
In order to do our part, we have to agree on some ground rules for our assistance and co-operation. If we know that aid will be spent wisely, the donor community will provide the necessary funds. But to get the most out of every development dollar, we must co-operate and we must co-ordinate. "Turf wars" cost money. They may even cost us the peace.
I ask the Security Council to send a clear signal to the UN Sudan mission and all its agencies, as well as to all other donors, multilateral as well as bilateral, to co-ordinate their efforts closely within the UN system, within the donor community, and with the relevant Sudanese authorities. This principle should be reflected in the council’s resolutions, and it must be the preamble to the upcoming donor’s conference.
We must start by mobilising resources for the enormous task of building a stable and secure Sudan. Our pledges will be based on solid documentation such as that already provided by the Joint Assessment Mission.
Separately, we must also reach a common understanding among key actors on how to handle Sudan’s heavy debt burden. The solution must be broad in scope, and it must include non-Paris club members.
The Oslo conference must not be overshadowed by the debt issue and should concentrate on new aid flows to underpin the peace. In parallel with Oslo, therefore a process to deal with the debt issue will be established.
We must urge all donors to pledge generously, and to stick to their promises. We also need more donors. I am hopeful that the future donor partnership in Sudan will include new, non-traditional participants.
Norway will be honoured to invite the Sudanese parties and the wider donor community to the first donor conference for Sudan as soon as a peace agreement has been signed and the humanitarian situation in Darfur is under control.
At this meeting in Nairobi, the Security Council has emphasised its commitment to Sudan. The UN and the entire international community will be ready to assist Sudan as soon as the Sudanese leaders have completed the negotiations. The Sudanese people and the rest of the world are waiting for the parties to demonstrate the leadership necessary to finish the job and prepare for peace.
The lives of millions are at stake.
The people of Sudan have suffered too much, for too long.
You can put an end to it now.
Ms Johnson also took part in the high-level conference on the Great Lakes region in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam on 20 November. The Minister of International Development had bilateral meetings with several African leaders while she visited Dar es Salaam.