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Sudan’s reconstruction plan: Children are the future

© UNICEF Sudan/2005/Parker
Sudanese boys watch as road crews repair a section of road just outside Rumbek, Sudan. Infrastructure rehabilitation is part of the $8 billion rebuilding plan. Social service needs are also vital.

NEW YORK, 11 March 2005 - While celebrating the launch of a major recovery and development plan for north and south Sudan, UNICEF says it is essential that children’s needs remain a top priority. The $8 billion, six-year reconstruction plan, called the ‘Framework for Sustained Peace, Development and Poverty Eradication in Sudan’, was made possible by the signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005.

UNICEF’s Communications Officer in southern Sudan, Ben Parker, says that the organization’s primary concern has been to ensure that children stay at the forefront of the development agenda: “Throughout the whole process of pulling together the reconstruction plan, UNICEF has been trying to remind all stakeholders that children are desperately unhealthy, ill-fed and subject to abuse as a result of the war. These needs should really come first.

“We need to see children in schools and normal, healthy growth. However attractive it may be to set up a new Ministry of Energy, if we don’t have healthy children coming up through the school system, there will be nobody to run it.”

© UNICEF Sudan/2005/Parker
In Sudan, rivers supply fish and drinking water when no borehole is available. Only about a third of southern Sudan's population has access to safe drinking water.

UNICEF is organizing a photo exhibition called ‘Children of Sudan’ to highlight hardships for children in Sudan, where they experience “one of the toughest childhoods on the planet,” says Parker. He hopes the exhibition will influence donors at a critical meeting in April in Norway.

A majority of the $8 billion required by the plan will come from Sudan’s own oil revenues; $2.7 billion dollars is being requested from the international community.

“This is a real turning point,” says Parker, "but the marathon starts here. They [the government and the SPLM] need to commit to showing the ordinary people that this peace agreement has a very good chance of success.  Peace is not just a piece of paper.”

The reconstruction plan was jointly produced by the Sudanese government, the SPLM, the United Nations, and the World Bank.




11 March 2005:
UNICEF’s Communications Officer in southern Sudan, Ben Parker, explains the need to keep children at the forefront of the reconstruction process.
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