Announcement

UK support to the Southern Sudan Referendum

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK has announced further support for a rapid response fund in reaction to the fragile humanitarian situation in Sudan. This includes safe water, emergency healthcare and blankets.

As large numbers of people move around the country as a result of the referendum on independence for the South, the emergency fund will enable the British Government to react quickly through the UN and NGOs to any needs that might arise on the ground for emergency shelter, water and sanitation, medicines, and health care.

Britain stands ready to provide:

  • safe water and sanitation facilities to around 1.5 million people
  • treatment for malnutrition to around 50,000 children
  • emergency healthcare to around 2 million people
  • seeds and tools to around 1.2 million people
  • plastic sheeting and blankets to around 1 million people
  • learning and recreational activities to around 500,000 children across northern and southern Sudan

How the UK has supported implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the referendum process.

Since the UK witnessed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, it has provided political, logistical, financial and technical assistance to support implementation of the Agreement including the new currency, the 2008 Census, and the 2010 Elections.

The UK has provided political support to the implementation of the CPA both bilaterally and through its membership of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, EU, the Troika (with the United States and Norway) and the UN Security Council. The UK prioritised Sudan during its Presidency of the Security Council in November 2010, and the Foreign Secretary chaired a special meeting of the Security Council on Sudan on 16 November.

In the run up to the referendum itself, there has been an intensification of Ministerial contacts between the UK and Sudan, with the visit of the Secretary of State for International Development to Sudan in November 2010. More recently Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham has spoken to First Vice President Kiir and the Foreign Secretary to Vice President Taha to reiterate UK support. British officials in Khartoum and Juba have sought to assist in overcoming obstacles and maintained close contact with the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau and the UN bodies supporting the referendum to do so.

Financially, the UK has also contributed £9.5 million to support the referendum process through the UNDP Basket Fund, which has paid for voter education, equipment for the SSRC, out of country registration and voting, and support for domestic observation missions.

The UK has also provided £1.9million to enhance the capacity of the Southern Sudan Police Service to manage the referendum. This has included enhancing its communications systems and providing help to establish and run a network of joint operations centres. This has served to assist the Southern Sudan Police Service to take on primary responsibility for the provision of security during the referendum.

At the request of both parties, the UK has also offered technical assistance and good offices to assist talks on border delimitation and demarcation and security arrangements and will organise a conference of experts in Khartoum later this month to explore these issues in more detail. The UK has provided funding to the AU High Level Implementation Panel in support of President Mbeki’s efforts to facilitate agreement on post-referendum issues. The Foreign Secretary called President Mbeki on 14 November to emphasise his support.

Recognising the important role of the media, the British Embassy also provided training for 30 journalists in December 2010 on how to cover the referendum process responsibly.

Teams from the British Embassy and DFID Sudan will observe polling in both North and Southern Sudan, as they did for the process of registration in November 2010.

Our support in all of these areas reflects the importance that the UK attaches to the successful completion of the CPA.