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Norway's statement at Friends of Sudan meeting 12 August 2020 in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (virtual)

Delivered by Dr. Endre Stiansen, Special Envoy to the Sudan and South Sudan

Thanks for this opportunity to speak.  On behalf of the Norwegian government, I want to express our gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for organizing this meeting.  I would also like to convey my Government’s support to the Sudan’s civilian-led government, as well as our appreciation to the Government of South Sudan for hosting the peace negotiations, and to the parties seeking a peaceful resolution to the outstanding issues.  It is regrettable that some important actors still elect to remain on the sidelines.

Being mindful of time, I will be very brief and only address a few important issues relating to the theme of this session, namely economic support for recovery and sustainable economic development.

It is a fundamental truth that peace is necessary to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development.  It is also true that unequal access to public goods and different forms of marginalization are drivers of conflict.  For this reason, it is absolutely in order that we today address the peace process.  The people of the Sudan will not be able to reach the full promise of the revolution before there is peace in the whole country.  Darfur is not less important than Khartoum.  Southern Kordofan is as important as Dongola. 

Lasting peace requires that the root causes are addressed with honesty and with a view to achieve an equitable distribution of common resources.  We want all Sudanese to benefit from the new opportunities the revolution has created.  This is why Norway decided to make a significant increase in our bilateral assistance to the Sudan, as announced at the Berlin Conference.

The rolling out of the Family Support Programme cannot be a new driver of conflict.  The operational design most ensure that populations in the conflict zones are reached early and on equal terms as the more central parts of the country.  Success will contribute significantly to the implementation of the peace agreements and nationwide peace building.  Failure will reflect badly on the government and on our efforts as donors.  Here, I would like to mention that Norway aims to disburse our contribution to the FSP, thought the WB trust fund, in September. 

Getting support to the right people will entail significant challenges in all parts of the country.  All research shows that giving cash to women makes them spend it on feeding their children and sending them to school. Therefore, it seems appropriate that disbursement from the FSP should aim to reach least 50% female beneficiaries. 

Getting it right means that transparency and accountability has to be at the centre of all efforts.  Openness builds trust and trust is the most enduring capital of any government.  We are very pleased that the government is committed to best practices.  We stand ready to assist in every way we can.

I want to repeat something that we have said before: over time, it is necessary for the Sudan to rely on its own rich resources – aid is a stop-gap measure and not a lasting solution. Internal resources mobilization must be a key priority. The tax basis has to be broadened; there can be no parallel economy and private sector development is critical. 

This is a very large agenda.  Ye, it is possible to achieve significant progress very fast.  Successful conclusion to the peace negotiations will be a giant leap in right direction.  Therefore, I want to end by appealing to all parties to show good will, to look to the future and to reach compromises that match the boldness and creativity of the people of the Sudan.

Conclusions of the Friends of Sudan meeting (Riyadh) - Chair's Statement