DARFUR-WIDE DIDC CONFERENCE FOR IDPs
16-17 December 2018, Nyala
I am glad to be here today to witness and to encourage further efforts towards the achievements of the Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultation (DIDC) process.
The process has offered a platform for the citizens of Darfur to have their voices heard. We are all aware what the people of Darfur have gone through and to a certain extent are still going through. We must listen to them and we have listened to them. And what they have to say is interesting. I have read the report where their recommendations are recorded. And the latter are really worth of being implemented.
The European Union supports all efforts that will ensure that the outcome of the consultations is used constructively and actively for the future of Darfur by those entrusted to do so. One thing is to be heard – another thing is to see that your views have been respected, and acted upon. This is the case in Darfur as well as in the EU.
The EU is committed to sustainable development and peace in Darfur. Indeed, the EU is convinced that we cannot have one without the other. This is why a smooth and well-prepared transition from UNAMID to the UNCT is crucial, and why a revised strategy for sustainable development in Darfur that takes into account the challenges set by the transition, as well as all recent changing conditions, but also the gaps identified or perceived by the Darfuris themselves, is urgently needed.
The EU is a strong partner for the Darfur Development Strategy (DDS) and the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). In accordance with our commitments to the DDS and the DDPD, the EU is eager to see a change in our involvement in the region from one focusing primarily on vital humanitarian assistance to longer term sustainable development. Indeed, Sudan is now a pilot country for the EU as regards operationalising the humanitarian-development nexus; and Darfur is one of our target regions for this. However, conditions for what many see as a transition, although this can be discussed, are yet to be met. There is still a need for humanitarian assistance to respond to critical needs. In this regard, we must take into account the changing conditions.
More than two million Darfuris are still internally displaced, including at least 20,000 newly displaced in 2018 and 1.6 million staying in camps. For the EU it is vital that Durable Solutions for the displaced people are based on an inclusive process and carried out on a voluntary, informed and dignified basis, and in a conducive environment. An impartial, credible and participatory intention survey has to be conducted. The process should also be locally adapted. Support should also be provided to the communities where IDPs are supposed to return, based on vulnerability.
Many displaced people in Darfur have been in the camps since 2003, 2004. Many were born in the camp. Many have known different ways of living. The climate change is a reality. Demographic pressure is there. If the right to return is to be respected, we also know that many of the displaced people will not return to their villages. That is why we are considering new programmes supporting of IDPs in the camps and/or their inclusion and integration in the host communities, focusing for instance on the creation of job opportunities for the displaced people in urban dwellings around the big cities in Darfur, or education and health programmes. The European Union will support vocational training activities in Darfur. We also pursue other programmes aiming at tackling the consequences of climate change which are severe in this region, such as the very successful water catchment project of Wadi El Ku.
Such efforts should of course be included in a comprehensive strategy addressing the underlying causes of conflict, and ensuring an efficient coordination between all national and international partners.