More international support needed for South Sudan, says Migiro

More international support needed for South Sudan, says Migiro

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro
The international community needs to refocus on South Sudan and to increase support for recovery and development there, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General said today.

Speaking to the third meeting of the Sudan Consortium held in Oslo, Norway, Asha-Rose Migiro said the main goals must be to improve security and living standards, rebuild infrastructure, advance disarmament and demobilization, strengthen the rule of law, and to create secure conditions in the country.

The Sudan Consortium, which is led by the UN and the World Bank, brings together governments and civil society organizations from around the world, including representatives from Sudan itself. It was established in 2005 following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended 21 years of civil war between South Sudan and the national Government of the country.

Ms. Migiro said that the initial pledging conference for Sudan three years ago had “proved crucial in mobilizing resources for the initial phase of the CPA. It is therefore opportune that, three years later, we return here once again to energize our efforts in support of the CPA.”

She cited significant achievements, including the return of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes, and the increase in the number of children going to primary school in South Sudan from 350,000 in 2005 to 1.2 million in 2007. But she added that “much more needs to be done. A unique but narrow window of opportunity exists, which, if grasped, can help Sudan…achieve a lasting and broad-based peace.”

Ms. Migiro noted that the continuing violence in the Darfur region of Sudan is “of grave concern,” but added that it is “of critical importance that the focus on Darfur should not eclipse our work for peace throughout the rest of Sudan.”

Before today’s meeting in Oslo, a group of 20 women from all over Sudan said that progress since the first Consortium meeting had been “too slow” and called for international support for women’s leadership in the country and the realization of a 25 per cent quota for women in public office.

At a meeting in the Norwegian capital facilitated by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the women expressed “grave concern” about the situation in Sudan and said they are “particularly concerned about the persistence of extremely poor human development indicators in relation to women and girls’ literacy, maternal mortality, productive asset security, economic and political empowerment and protection from gender-based violence.”