On peace anniversary, WFP looks to help south Sudan develop economy

Published on 01 August 2007

Feeding school children, supporting skills training and repairing roads – WFP is celebrating the second anniversary of peace in South Sudan by marking the achievements of its partnership with the people of the region.

Feeding school children, supporting skills training and repairing roads – WFP is participating in the celebration of the second anniversary of peace in South Sudan by marking the achievements of its partnership with the people of the region.

Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005, WFP has helped to lay the foundations for the recovery of South Sudan's economy after two decades of war by feeding nearly 2 million people a year including 600,000 people who have returned to the South.

Congratulates

"WFP congratulates the people of South Sudan on their achievements since the peace agreement was signed,” said Kenro Oshidari, WFP Representative in Sudan.

“In 2007, we will increasingly focus on recovery and development-oriented projects such as Food for Work, Food for Training and Food for Education, aimed at assisting the people of the South to revive their economy and rebuild their lives and livelihoods so they can sustain themselves.”

Reintegration

Under WFP's plans for 2007, 430,000 returnees are expected to receive food assistance to meet their immediate needs and support reintegration into their home communities, 450,000 children will receive school feeding, nearly 100,000 people will benefit from therapeutic, supplementary and institutional feeding, and more than 160,000 people will participate in Food for Work and Food for Training.

In addition, nearly 568,000 South Sudan residents – many of them children and mothers – are expected to receive food aid to meet their nutritional needs in 2007.

Battered infrastructure

Since the peace agreement, WFP has made tangible improvements to the battered infrastructure of South Sudan, by repairing more than 1,850 kilometres of roads and removing more than 250,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance from transport routes.

The Road Repair and Mine Clearance Project, which received a US$30 million donation from the Government of South Sudan last year, will continue to rebuild 1,000 kilometres of roads in 2007.

"WFP started repairing the roads so that we could move food aid throughout the South. It has created long-term benefits for the South Sudan economy.

Thanks to the WFP road repair project people have much better access to markets and health care. For many, the cost of public transport has been cut in half, and people are able to reunite with loved ones," said Oshidari.

The road repair and mine clearance project has created jobs for some 2,000 Sudanese workers.

Agreement

The two-decade long conflict in South Sudan left more than two million people dead, four million displaced and a further 600,000 living as refugees in neighbouring countries. The CPA ended the war and set up a governing and wealth-sharing agreement between South and North Sudan. The Government of National Unity governs the whole of Sudan, and the CPA also outlines the role of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS).

UN Agencies, such as WFP, provide nutritional support, material assistance and training, in cooperation with the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. Although bouts of insecurity and banditry frequently make humanitarian work hazardous, WFP remains committed to assisting the people of South Sudan.

Tough challenges

"The South still faces tough challenges. WFP will continue to work together with the people of the region to help consolidate peace, through programmes aimed at the long-term recovery of South Sudan," said Oshidari.

WFP's emergency operational budget in 2006 for Sudan stood at US$746 million. By the end of the year, it was almost 90 per cent funded – reflecting the strong commitment that donors have shown to WFP's work in Sudan.

Operational plans

In 2007, WFP Sudan's operational plans call for US$685 million to feed a total 5.5 million people in South Sudan, Darfur, and the Central, East and Three Areas.

So far, donors have committed US$140 million, or 20 per cent of requirements. WFP is strongly encouraging additional contributions now so that food can be purchased and delivered well before the rainy season, which starts as early as March in South Sudan, when roads become impassable.