The humanitarian operation in Sudan remained one of the largest in the world during 2011, with budgetary requirements of over $1 billion. In Darfur, up to 1.9 million people resided in IDP camps, and around 3 million people received monthly assistance. Relative stability in some areas enabled the return of some 140,000 IDPs and refugees to their places of origin, but new outbreaks of fighting displaced more than 70,000 people. Elsewhere, conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile displaced tens of thousands of people and significantly affected many more. Some 110,000 people from Abyei fled southwards to Agok and various places in South Sudan due to fighting.
Over 200,000 people of South Sudanese origin returned to South Sudan during 2011, but an estimated 500,000 remain in Sudan. The Government has indicated that these people are no longer eligible for Sudanese citizenship and have until 9 April 2012 to regularize their status or return to South Sudan. Humanitarian access has been a major challenge in 2011, significantly affecting the provision of assistance, particularly in South Kordofan and Blue Nile where the Government placed severe restrictions on international humanitarian actors.
OCHA helped to ensure an effective humanitarian response during a momentous year for Sudan. With the secession of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, OCHA helped the HCT to separate the country operation into two humanitarian entities, with two separate workplans and funding arrangements. OCHA led secession-related contingency planning efforts and mobilized $44 million to fund life-saving core pipelines for emergency preparedness. Initial humanitarian response efforts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile were effective due to the pre-positioning of relief supplies as part of this process.
OCHA continued to address the need for life-saving assistance where required. It also played a leading role in developing a durable solutions framework, focusing on IDPs’ shifting needs and trying to reduce aid dependency in more secure areas. OCHA highlighted the importance of sectors engaging with development and recovery actors through the UNDAF process and early recovery coordination mechanisms, while also incorporating durable solutions into sector plans for the 2012 CAP. OCHA also created the joint Government and UN IDP Task Force on Durable Solutions, which met on three occasions to institutionalize engagement with national actors on this increasingly important policy issue.
OCHA’s attempts to strengthen coordination in Sudan included expanding the Darfur Inter-Sectoral Coordination Team into a broader countrywide Sector Coordinators Group. OCHA facilitated four meetings of the High-Level Committee, a forum comprising the Government, UN agencies and other partners to address operational and policy challenges. In Darfur, OCHA helped ensure UNAMID fulfilled its support role for humanitarian activities by coordinating regular meetings between humanitarian actors and UNAMID, and by encouraging information sharing.
OCHA focused heavily on advocating and negotiating access. It created an access monitoring and reporting framework using information collected by its field offices and other partners. The framework was rolled out in Darfur, with two comprehensive reports published in 2011. OCHA created a new Senior Humanitarian Liaison Officer position to help strengthen relations with key stakeholders. OCHA will work with national organizations to find ways to deliver assistance to all those who need it, particularly to places in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei where access has been severely limited. OCHA will also work to make the CHF and other funding mechanisms more accessible to humanitarian actors including national NGOs.
Following the secession of South Sudan, OCHA organized two joint HCT meetings with the HCT in South Sudan to ensure the smooth flow of almost 200,000 returnees. OCHA will continue to work for the safe and dignified movement of South Sudanese returnees by organizing joint assessments, and by ensuring close coordination with the HCT in South Sudan through regular joint meetings and information sharing.
OCHA successfully mobilized financial resources during 2011 to ensure efficient assistance. This included managing the CHF, which distributed approximately $156.2 million to both Sudan and South Sudan in 2011 (representing around 12 per cent of total CAP funding). OCHA also managed 15 CERF requests that received over $19 million for assistance to Sudan-South Sudan return movements and to over 70.000 people displaced in Darfur.
OCHA’s information management role continued to be crucial. Daily situation reports were issued during the early stages of the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and weekly and monthly reports on key developments were produced. OCHA Sudan piloted a new OCHA website for country offices and will continue to expand and refine its communications and information products, while developing innovative tools to improve reporting and advocacy, including a humanitarian “app” for mobile phones.
OCHA will also continue to review its performance and look at ways to provide a more comprehensive service. It will analyse current coordination strengths and weaknesses, refine needs-assessment tools for sectors, and lead contingency plans and work with the Government to strengthen emergency preparedness. OCHA will continue to lead humanitarian financing issues, engaging donors and managing pooled humanitarian funds, while tightening monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure effective response.