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Children should be first in line following Sudanese peace agreement

UNICEF urges all parties to put children at top of agenda in new era of cooperation in Sudan

© Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
(Left-right) Sudan's First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement leader John Garang show the signed peace accord in Nairobi, Kenya, 9 January 2005.

KHARTOUM/ NAIROBI / AMMAN / NEW YORK, 9 January 2005 – Following the historic signing of a comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) today in Nairobi, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy urged that children be given top priority as development programmes scale up after more than two decades of war.

While congratulating all parties involved in arriving at the Peace Agreement, Bellamy noted that children are often forgotten as agencies and governments move ahead with giant recovery plans. “One example of putting children first is that tomorrow, UNICEF, WHO, federal and local authorities and other agencies are embarking on an ambitious polio vaccination drive in Sudan,” she said. “We are hopeful that by the end of 2005, Sudanese children will no longer face the threat of this crippling disease.” In the southern parts of Sudan controlled by the SPLM, a similar vaccination campaign begins on 17 January.

Massive recovery activities are planned to begin in this vast country in 2005. Progress will depend on many factors. The first is maintaining the fragile peace between the Government and SPLM/A. Another is tackling the ongoing conflict in the western region of Darfur. Adequate funding is also critical. Speaking on her return from a five-day visit to tsunami-affected countries in Asia, Bellamy noted that Sudan should not be forgotten. Total financial needs defined by the UN and several partners for 2005 come to US$ 1.48 billion. This amount is needed to assist more than 2 million displaced persons (IDPs and refugees) to return to their homes in the South and to support another 2 million persons affected by the war. Support to all war-affected areas will be critical to ensuring a lasting peace. Of the total amount, UNICEF is requesting almost US$ 289 million for programmes in water and sanitation, health, nutrition, protection, education and advocacy.

For further information, contact:

Paula Claycomb, UNICEF Media, Khartoum: +249-912-309410
El Fadil El Tahir, UNICEF Media, Khartoum: +249-912-390627
Ben Parker, UNICEF Media, Nairobi: +254-733-609869
Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Media, Darfur: +249-912-160820
Claire Hajaj, UNICEF Media, New York: +1-212-326-7566
Anis Salem, UNICEF Reg’l Comm. Adviser, Amman: +962 79 557 9991
Damien Personnaz, UNICEF Media, Geneva: Mobile: +41-79-216-94-01




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