The humanitarian operation in Sudan remains one of the largest in the world - even after the secession of southern Sudan. The humanitarian situation in Sudan has been evolving over the last six months following conflict in the border areas with the Republic of Southern Sudan. The humanitarian situation varies greatly depending on the region. Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States continues to affect civilians and cause displacement. Although humanitarian operations continue in some areas, there are growing concerns about the impact that conflict is having on civilians where there has been no access.
Due to combination of conflict and environmental causes the situation in Darfur also remains fragile, where a large proportion of the population of Darfur dependent on food assistance. Although security has improved in some areas, notably in West Darfur, restrictions on the movement of aid workers persists in some areas, reducing the overall capacity to assess needs and deliver assistance to vulnerable populations.
The country is currently facing profound political challenges. 2011 marked the end of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Following the peaceful referendum in January 2011, and the subsequent declaration of independence of the Republic of South Sudan in July, highly contentious issues are yet to be resolved. These include the referendum on the status of the Abyei area required by the CPA, border demarcation, agreements on wealth-sharing arrangements and citizenship issues.
The OCHA plan of action continues to remain flexible and adaptive to the humanitarian needs in each geographic area. In South Kordofan, Blue Nile and the Abyei Area, OCHA has agreed with the Resident Coordinator’s Support Office to take over humanitarian coordination. In the lead up to southern independence, OCHA led a comprehensive process of contingency planning to ensure preparedness for any eventuality resulting from this process. Moreover, OCHA has established a presence in South Kordofan and the Abyei Area in order to respond to the evolving humanitarian situation. This is in addition to four offices already established in Darfur.
In order to fulfill its humanitarian mandate, OCHA is working closely with the two United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan – UNAMID and UNISFA, both with regards to protection of civilians issues, security of humanitarian workers, as well as the regards to an creating an enabling environment for delivery of humanitarian assistance. OCHA also works with all groups that are parties to conflict in Sudan to ensure humanitarian access and promotion of humanitarian principles.
OCHA provides support to the Humanitarian Coordinator and the Humanitarian Country Team in Sudan. OCHA seeks to address and facilitate issues relating to coordination, communications and humanitarian financing serving the breadth and with of the humanitarian community in Sudan. In doing this, OCHA works with the Sudan Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the Humanitarian Aid Commission and other government counterparts.
A key tool for OCHA and the humanitarian community to provide strategic direction for and also plan humanitarian action is the OCHA facilitated Sudan Humanitarian Work Plan (HWP). This plan is also an important resource mobilisation tool. The HWP is set at $1.0 billion for activities to be undertaken in 2012. OCHA also manages the world’s largest pooled fund, the Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund, which by mid 2011 has provided more than $630 million to partners.
OCHA negotiates humanitarian access and works with the government authorities to reduce risk to humanitarian workers and their operations. OCHA also works closely with the peacekeeping missions to promote protection of civilians and guide mission interventions.
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