On 10 May 2015, the European Union (EU) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) signed a joint agreement to implement a natural resources management project in East Darfur. The launching ceremony was held at the European Union headquarters in parallel with the celebrations of Europe Day and European Year for Development. The launching ceremony was attended by five hundred guests representing Sudan and the international community.
Mr. Chakib Belhassan, Head of UNOPS said the project is funded by the EU and is implemented under the leadership of UNOPS. UNEP and a group of 5 international and national NGOs (ZOA “group leader”, Al Massar, Tearfund, Merciful Hands and UMCOR) are implementing partners for this project in the State of East Darfur The project confirms the international commitment to preserve peace and to implement long-term development projects in Darfur. Sustainable use of natural resources can improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty of conflict-affected populations. As the lead agency for this project, UNOPS will work with the other partners to ensure the achievement of the three main results of the project related to policy development for the use of natural resources; rehabilitation of water points; and enhancing the capacities of local beneficiaries by applying techniques contributing to sustainable and productive use of natural resources.
Mr. Bradley Smith, Country Programme Manager of UNEP, said that based on the lessons learned during the implementation of similar projects elsewhere in Darfur, the project aims to develop and improve policies and management plans guiding the use of natural resources in East Darfur. By addressing the causes of unsustainable use of natural resources at the community level, and improving the capacity of state institutions to manage resources such as water, forests and rangeland, the project will contribute to improving resilience of conflict-affected communities throughout the state. Ambassador Tomas Ulicny, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan said we reconfirm to our partners that our development aid improves lives for millions of people by inspiring dialogue and creating conditions for transformation of their societies. The European Union Ambassador said that security and stability are key prerequisites to success of any development intervention.
Without a peaceful solution in Sudan, the European Union assistance will not be able to achieve its real potential which we are determined to provide to the Sudanese people.