Darfur Donors Conference concluded with International political and financial commitment
The International Donors Conference for Darfur concluded today with a land mark showing of political and financial commitment from the international community towards a comprehensive and sustainable recovery and development for a region desperately in need of support.
Participants of the conference included more than 650 delegates representing bilateral and multilateral partners, the governments of Qatar and Sudan, UN agencies and Sudanese and international Civil Society Organizations.
Delegates welcomed the joining of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD); and called upon the other parties that have not yet signed to join the peace process in order to achieve ultimate security, stability and development in the region.
Qatar's minister of State for cabinet affairs, Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmud, said a total of $3.6 billion was pledged at the two-day meeting, including the contribution of Sudan's government set by a July 2011 peace deal at $2.65 billion.
"These pledges cover more than the $177 million needed for urgent" projects, said UN Resident Coordinator Ali Al-Za'tari following announcements by Qatar and other donor countries.
The conference seeks support for the six-year, $7.2-billion (5.5-billion-euro) Darfur Development Strategy (DDS) to move Darfur away from food handouts and other emergency aid, and lay the foundations for lasting development through improved infrastructure.
The Strategy emerged from the 2011 DDPD, which provisioned the creation of a coordinated and comprehensive strategy for supporting peace and development in the region. In accordance with the DDPD, the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) was conducted in late 2012. Informed by the needs and priorities of communities, identified through these comprehensive, consultative workshops in all five Darfur states and the refugee communities in Chad, the Darfur Development Strategy evolved.
Specifics of the strategy have been presented at the conference by technical specialists who deem it a vital and holistic approach in order to move Darfur out of a cycle of conflict and poverty, and towards a stable and prosperous future. Built around three central “pillars” -- Economic Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Governance, Justice and Reconciliation -- the DDS asserts that Darfuri, national and international supporters must work in a coordinated manner to ensure that the pattern of assistance to Darfur evolves to meet sustainable goals.
"We do not need to raise the $7.2 billion today. What we need to raise is sufficient funds to start implementation and to build credibility of the process. And this we have already achieved at this stage," Za'tari said. "We believe that the only way to turn the tide in Darfur is to move towards recovery and development," "Large parts of Darfur are ready for recovery and the population badly desires support to become independent from aid, to be able to take their destiny back into their own hands." He added.
The participants confirmed that the viable solution of the Darfur crisis will only happen through peaceful dialogue that leads to sustainable peace, and that Darfur is ready now, more than any time before to the gradual and sequenced transition from the humanitarian assistance to early recovery, reconstruction and development.
A major outcome of the conference is the collective endorsement of the DDS and considering it as the main entry point for transition from humanitarian assistance to development and the guiding framework for recovery efforts.
Pledges and financial support included the following:
1. A fast cash support amounting US$177,400,000 has been pledged to kick start implementation of the recovery and reconstruction projects in Darfur; this includes grants, loans, banking facilities and credits and technical assistance;
2. Sufficient funding for the implementation of the medium and long term projects of the strategy amounting to US$ 1,051,659,100.00 has been received; this includes grants, loans, banking facilities, credits and technical assistance;
3. The Government of Sudan renewed its commitment and pledges to pay an amount of US$ 2.65 billion as described in the DDPD; therefore the total contributions pledged are US$3,701,659,100.00.
Qatar also confirmed its commitment to contribute to the capital of a two-billion-dollar Darfur Development Bank, initially with $200 million, said Amin Sharkawi, Deputy Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme, Sudan.
The conference also endorsed the establishment of the Darfur Coordination Board for Recovery, Reconstruction and Development Board of Directors to be comprised of the State of Qatar, Government of Sudan, Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), the United Nations, and development partners. Further, the establishment of the United Nations Fund for Recovery, Reconstruction and development in Darfur (UNDF) also was agreed upon.
The conference concluded by valuing the international and regional efforts led by the State of Qatar in order to promote peace process and support development and stability in Darfur. Further, participating countries commended all humanitarian efforts exerted by the Government of Sudan, all Countries, United Nations Organizations, International and National non-Governmental Organizations over the past ten years in Darfur.