The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaїl Chergui, convened a high-level meeting on the “Transition from Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding and Development in Darfur” in New York on 28 September 2018. Participants included representatives of the People’s Republic of China, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, the Russian Federation, Sudan, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. Participants noted that the security situation in Darfur has improved markedly since the height of the conflict in the late 2000s. However, despite the dramatic change in conflict dynamics, and a reduction in inter-communal violence, they called to exert further efforts to address some of the root causes of the conflict such as land and natural resource disputes, the issue of internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) returns, the illegal proliferation of weapons and the threat posed by tribal disputes that may threaten lasting peace and security. Participants therefore stressed the need to support Darfur in addressing the underlying drivers of conflict and emphasized that a substantive investment in peacebuilding, recovery, stabilization, rehabilitation and development throughout the area is critical. The participants urged that these efforts should include women and children in forging an inclusive and sustainable peace. The meeting expressed support for the African Union Peace and Security Council communiqué (PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCLXXVIII)) of 11 June 2018 and Security Council resolution 2429 (2018) of 13 July 2018, including plans for the drawdown of the African Union - United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) with a view to its eventual exit in 2020. Participants also expressed support for the transition concept outlined in the Special Report of the African Union Chairperson and the United Nations Secretary-General on the Strategic Review of UNAMID (S/2018/530), which envisions the Mission working closely with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to support the host Government in consolidating peacebuilding gains and reducing the risk of the re-emergence of conflict. The meeting expressed support for the four priorities of the transition concept: (i) rule of law; (ii) durable solutions for IDPs and host communities; (iii) immediate service delivery for IDPs; and (iv) human rights. Participants also welcomed the efforts of the Government of Sudan and encouraged it to undertake the necessary reforms to further these priorities, as well as to reach an inclusive political settlement in Darfur. Participants emphasized the critical need for appropriate funding arrangements to be put in place to consolidate peace and prevent relapse into conflict. The meeting recognised the critical role of the agencies, funds and programmes of the UNCT in addressing the peacebuilding and development needs of the Darfuri people. To enable and enhance their important work in the transition and post-UNAMID period, participants stressed the need to overcome the chronic funding shortfalls the UNCT has faced and ensure it has the necessary means to ramp up its peacebuilding and development work in Darfur. They also underlined the importance to undergo this transition in a responsible manner, maintaining security gains and preventing backsliding into conflict. Participants underscored that this approach is in line with the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, the priorities of the “Sustaining Peace” resolutions (A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282 (2016)) and the principle of the Sustainable Development Goals to “leave no one behind.” Participants also stressed the need to support a long-term development agenda, anchored in the Darfur Development Strategy. In this context, participants expressed support for the creation of a “Group of Friends of the Transition in Darfur”. The meeting envisaged that the Group would accompany the transition, including ensuring the UNCT has sufficient resources for its critical work during this period and after UNAMID’s exit, to consolidate peace and prevent relapse into conflict. In this regard, participants also expressed support for the holding of a pledging conference to ensure sufficient funds are available to the UNCT.
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