The United Nations and the Government of Norway convened a High-Level Side Event on Sudan on 30 September 2021 on the margins of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Delegations from 24 Member States and 8 international and regional organizations, attended.
The Event commenced with opening remarks by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and H.E. Ms. Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, followed by remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan. Subsequently, Member States and organizations delivered remarks on support to Sudan’s transition to an inclusive democracy.
The Secretary-General commended the Sudanese people for their perseverance in this historic transition that seeks to realize their aspirations for an inclusive, peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future. Over the past two years, the transitional Government has reached important milestones and continued to advance democratic governance and peacemaking efforts, despite ongoing challenges, notably in the establishment of transitional institutions and securing justice for past abuses. The High-Level Side Event provided an opportunity to take stock of the overall progress achieved thus far and reaffirm international support for the transition at a critical time. The Secretary-General called on all parties to remain committed to the transition, underscoring that any effort to undermine it will jeopardise the hard-earned progress made on political and economic fronts.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Hamdok elaborated on the accomplishments and challenges of the Sudanese transition. He highlighted Sudan’s legislative reform process, economic reform efforts that had enabled it to begin receiving debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and move Sudan towards economic progress and improved conditions for investment. Prime Minister Hamdok also highlighted ongoing efforts to implement the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), signed almost a year ago, as well as efforts to reach agreement with non-signatory armed movements. He announced that agreement had been reached on the establishment of the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism, a key strategic coordinaton mechanism will help ensure the timely implementation of the JPA. The Prime Minister informed participants of the significant challanges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of refugees into Sudan, prevailing security challenges, the deep economic hardships faced by the population, and continuing chllanges to the peace process and the political transition. He stressed that Sudan remained eager to deepen its partnership with the international community to bolster the country’s long road to socioeconomic recovery, attract investment and to achieve sustainable peace and inclusive development. Finally, noting the recent failed attempt to overthrow the transitional Government, Prime Minister Hamdok expressed his appreciation to international partners for their solidarity in condemning and denouncing the coup attempt, and reaffirmed Sudan’s unwavering commitment to overcoming challenges facing its multidimensional transition.
Participants paid tribute to the progress achieved by the transitional Government, and to the sacrifices made by the Sudanese people since the start of the revolution. They expressed deep concern about the attempted coup d’état in Khartoum on 21 September, condemned any effort to undermine Sudan’s progress and called on Sudan to stay the course and complete its historic transition. With rising insecurity and intercommunal tensions in Darfur, the east and elsewhere in the country, participants called for more effective protection for civilians and reiterated their commitment to supporting Sudan in these efforts. Participants underscored the need for implementation of the JPA, welcomed the establishment of the Permanent Ceasefire Committee and urged further progress in the operationalisation of other security arrangements. Participants also welcomed the establishment of the JPA Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism as a confidence-building measure which will serve as a critical forum to discuss and resolve contentious issues.
Participants further underscored their commitment to help facilitate the conditions for the success of the transition, which remains of critical importance for the stability and the prosperity of the entire region. The meeting welcomed international efforts to mobilise resources in support of Sudan since the onset of the transition. Such efforts had resulted in significant pledges and other in-kind support. One of the most important symbols of the international community’s commitment to Sudan’s transition was the establishment of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) on 3 June 2020. The Mission continues to spearhead international support to the Sudanese-led and nationally owned political and peace processes. It also supports the transitional Government in the protection of civilians and in mobilizing resources for economic and humanitarian assistance. UNITAMS carries out programs in peacebuilding, rule of law and human rights. Participants underscored the importance of close partnership between the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, including in addressing regional challenges to peace and security in the wider Horn of Africa.
The meeting welcomed steps undertaken to increase the meaningful and effective participation of women in the peace process and stressed the importance of securing gender responsive outcomes. In this regard, participants stressed that women’s empowerment and inclusion in all aspects of the transition enhances the prospects for lasting peace, stability, social cohesion and economic advancement. Participants also emphasized the importance of the rapid establishment of the Transitional Legislative Council with 40 per cent representation of women. The meeting encouraged transitional authorities to also make a concerted effort to ensure that the aspirations of youth are being met.
Finally, participants committed to continue providing support to Sudan and mobilizing all available bilateral and multilateral assistance, in line with sustained progress on the ground andtowards a more peaceful and prosperous Sudan.