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UN-supported initiative aims to reintegrate 180,000 Sudanese ex-combatants

25 June 2008 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be supporting the reintegration of 180,000 Sudanese ex-combatants as they return to civilian life under an agreement signed today with the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) is an important component of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan.

The agreement signed today builds on the achievements of the disarmament and demobilisation pilot phase launched in 2006. The beneficiaries will include some 24,000 members of the Sudan Armed Forces and 26,000 others pre-registered by the Popular Defence Forces. Nearly 5,300 women associated with armed forces and groups, and 17,500 disabled combatants are also eligible.

Under the four-year programme – which will be led and implemented by the DDR Commissions of North and South Sudan, with support from UNDP – ex-combatants will receive social, economic and psychological support as they make the transition back into civilian life and begin anew in their communities.

“We welcome the Government of Sudan’s leadership in taking forward the DDR programme, and aim to assist the building of national and local capacities to support national ownership of the process,” said UNDP Associate Administrator Ad Melkert.

“The dividends of peace are long overdue. Employment generation and re-integration of former combatants is key to this process,” he added.

The agreement was signed at a DDR Donor Conference in Geneva, co-chaired by UNDP and the Government of Japan, at which donors reiterated their full support to the Sudan DDR programme, requiring $430 million over a four-year period.

Adequate funding will be key to ensuring the sustainability of the programme which is designed to help foster peace and security in Sudan.

“It must be seen in a broader context of support to peace and national reconciliation, post–conflict stabilization, peace building and conflict reduction,” said Ameerah Haq, UNDP Resident Representative in Sudan. “The reintegration programme will thus complement existing Government and UN programming that focuses on building peace at the community level.”

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