Jolien Veldwijk – Peacebuilding Initiatives Rotating Header Image

From Juba to Malakal to Renk

Last Saturday I flew from Juba to Malakal where we spent the last couple of days preparing for our journey to and our workshop in Renk. We have been planning peace with the acting Governor (Your Excellency) of Upper Nile State!!!

Tomorrow I will leave by road from Malakal to Renk (see right side of the photo of map) which promises to be an exciting journey as the road may not be very well due to the rain we have had so far, even though it hasn’t rained much at all and it is very hot!

Many of you have asked what it is that I actually will be doing on the inner border of Sudan. Well, here is a short summary:

The Cross-Border Relations Project

Concordis International is working in Sudan in partnership with the Centre for Peace and Development Studies (CPDS) of the University of Juba to facilitate a research-based dialogue project aiming to inform local and national peace and development processes, supporting cooperative, secure and economically viable relations across Sudan’s North-South border beyond 2011.

The project involves engaging border communities and authorities in the states along the North-South border as well as decision makers and opinion leaders in Khartoum and Juba. A round of workshops are being facilitated in the border states, informed by a team comprising Concordis staff, CPDS researchers, and senior African experts. After these statelevel meetings, the project will bring workshop participants and additional policy makers together in a series of regional cross-border workshops, conferences, and briefings.


The borderland between Northern and Southern Sudan is the locus for a number of conflict triggers which could undermine security for border communities, national peace processes, and in turn regional security. Whether the 2011 referendum on Southern Sudanese self-determination delivers unity or secession, there are significant risks of escalating tensions and renewed violence in both scenarios. In either scenario, the way in which social, economic and security relations across the border are managed could determine whether conflicts resume or peace is sustained.

The needs and interests of border communities, as well as those of state elites, should be reflected. If either condition fails, sources of instability may outweigh sources of calm.

2010 will see high level negotiations between the parties to the CPA on post-2011 arrangements. The Cross Border Relations Project is working to support border populations to consider, agree and articulate what kind of arrangements would meet their needs and provide a basis for a viable and peaceful future.

Core Aims and Objectives of the Project:

– Build trust and understanding between border communities within and across border states; – Develop consensus on principles for how the border should be managed peacefully;

– Develop proposals on development initiatives to support peaceful coexistence at the border;

– Introduce principles and proposals to relevant national and local peace processes, such as negotiations on post-2011 arrangements, and to inform donor policy to reflect local needs.

Activity Summary:

December—February 2010 Initial engagements in border states and development of methodology

March-June 2010 State workshops in Unity, Upper Nile, Abyei, South Kordofan, White Nile, and Blue Nile.

June-July 2010 Regional workshops bringing together communities from both sides of the border.

August –October 2010 Policy briefings and national level conferences.


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