The Comprehensive Peace Agreement does not represent groups in large peripheral areas such as Darfur and eastern Sudan but it does have the potential to address key root causes of Sudan's civil wars, in particularly, the unequal distribution of wealth and power across the country. A recent Chatham House report has called the Comprehensive Peace agreement 'the most important political framework in Sudan' and has argued that it's provisions on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, land and elections 'still offer Sudan an alternative to permanent fragmentation, or breakdown'.
Vice President of Sudan, Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
There are only two years remaining of the CPA. In that time, the following provisions will need to be implemented - all of which effect Sudan as a whole:
The CPA called for elections before mid-July. These have now been postponed until February 2010 (for a detailed election calendar click here). These elections will replace appointed politicians with elected officials and will take place at the following levels: presidencies of Northern and Southern Sudan, National Assembly in Khartoum, Legislative Assembly of Southern Sudan, state assemblies and state governors.
The elections have caused and continue to cause serious tension between the north and south and confusion about what to do in Darfur, where security will make elections very difficult. There is also some concern that the elections could become a serious conflict issue in the South and the 'three areas'. For a full briefing on the elections please click here.
Wealth-sharing - Oil:
The CPA calls for the distribution of a greater share of oil revenues to the south. It also commits to development funds that invest in conflict-affected areas and the transfer of more resources to states. About 75% of current production comes from the South (particularly the border areas) and another 15% from areas of Abyei claimed by the South. According to Chatham House, oil revenues currently make up over half of the revenue of the Government of National Unity and over 95% of that of the Government of South Sudan.
Shrinking reserves and falling prices may eventually force Sudan off oil revenue dependency but for the moment, tension around oil revenues is serious and is a major factor in the militarisation of the border area and the delays on implementation in Abyei and on border demarcation.
Abyei, May 2008, after fighting broke out between the SPLA and Government Forces
Wealth-sharing - Land:
Oil revenues are very important for state functioning but do not necessarily affect ordinary people, whose wealth is linked to land and livestock. The CPA promised to establish a National Land Commission to resolve the numerous legal regimes to land ownership across Sudan. This is especially important for regions like Darfur, where the land-ownership regime has been complicated by massive displacement. Peace will not be sustainable in Darfur without a resolution of the land issue. Despite this, plans for the National Land Commission have not progressed.
There are serious questions about how much of the CPA can actually be implemented before 2011, when South Sudan is entitled to hold a referendum on secession. Critical provisions on the withdrawal of armed forces on both sides, border demarcation, elections and wealth sharing have been delayed and neglected. It is crucial that the international community now re-engages with the CPA and devotes more time and financial resources to its implementation.
Aegis staff travelled to Juba, South Sudan in May 2009. Click here to read a report of their findings.
If you would like to write to your MP about the current situation in Sudan, and the need for international engagement on the future of the CPA, please click here.
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