Photo by Amin Ismail, UNAMID.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General in the Department of Field Support, Mr. Atul Khare, has concluded a three-day visit to Darfur, during which he met stakeholders and saw key projects in the Jebel Marra area where UNAMID is establishing a temporary operating base (TOB) in Golo, Central Darfur.
The mission was part of a week-long visit to Sudan from 22 to 27 July, during which he met Government officials in both Khartoum and Darfur, to discuss the overall situation in Darfur and the implementation of UNAMID’s new mandate, including the Mission’s draw down.
In Khartoum he met with the Sudanese officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, as well as the National Intelligence and Security Service.
While in Darfur, Mr. Khare met local government authorities, community leaders, representatives of internally displaced people (IDP) and UNAMID staff in North, Central and South Darfur states. He commended the cordial relations between UNAMID, various rungs of Government, as well as the community, and reaffirmed the Mission’s commitment to support people in the region.
The state leaders briefed him about the current situation and discussed areas of cooperation, including support for IDPs and refugees to voluntarily return to their areas of origin, construction of internal road networks and capacity building of state government employees through training.
“UNAMID is going to be here for about two more years and within these years we will try to help as much as possible for the future,” Mr. Khare said, while noting that projects such as the by-pass road that UNAMID had built between Kabkabiyya and Golo, were being put to good use by the community and facilitating movement. He said UNAMID was improving the road from the TOB to Golo town, while work on the Nertiti-Golo road was almost complete, although the rains had retarded progress.
As the Mission prepared for its exit from Darfur, Mr. Khare said discussions would take place with authorities at locality, state and national level to determine the best use of the facilities established by UNAMID to benefit communities. Some of the facilities, such as camps, could be converted to hospitals, colleges or schools and used for social development, among various options, he said.
In Golo, Mr. Khare met the Commissioner of Central Jebel Marra locality, Colonel Jafar Mohammed Abaker, who apprised him of the local authorities’ work with UNAMID. He applauded UNAMID’s peacekeeping role and support through projects that were fostering peace and stability, while contributing to development. For example, the road that UNAMID improved between Kabkabiyya and Golo, had become a main artery for trade.
“During the short period that UNAMID has been here, we have seen a great deal of improvement and cooperation, including in the area peace and stability. We hope this stability will be maintained,” he said. Col. Abaker pledged to ensure the removal the administrative red tape, in order to facilitate the work of UNAMID, UN agencies and civil society organizations operating in the locality.
Mr. Khare also met UNAMID and UN Country Team (UNCT) staff in both Golo and Zalingei, and was briefed on the Mission’s operations in the Jebel Marra area, the status of Golo TOB, the current situation in the area, and the challenges faced. He commended their commitment and diligence and pledged to continue with efforts to improve their working and living conditions.
Mr. Khare also visited Ottash IDP camp in Nyala, South Darfur and interacted with community leaders.
On concluding his visit, Mr. Khare said he was pleased with the outcome as he had seen firsthand most of the issues that were of interest to the Department of Field Services. He expressed commitment to work with community leaders, the Government of Sudan and state authorities, within the Mission’s mandate.
“We reviewed the situation of peace and security. We also discussed what more efforts are required, particularly in the areas of water, sanitation, health, education and training, not only by UNAMID, but by all other partners, including the UN Country Team and the bilateral partners,” he said, adding that UNAMID would work very closely with the authorities to make sure the dreams of the people of Darfur were realised.