The long road home: Opportunities and obstacles to the reintegration of IDPs and refugees returning to Southern Sudan and the Three Areas


Profound changes are taking place in Southern Sudan as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which brought to an end the 21 years civil war between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. This agreement has made possible substantial improvements in freedom of movement, trade and oil revenue, dramatically reduced conflict and laid the foundations of a system of governance to administer the south’s own affairs. Demographics and social relations are radically changing from wartime patterns. But peace has also given rise to uncertainties about the future. Though progress has been remarkable in some areas, the challenges of managing the transition of rebuilding Southern Sudan and the border areas remain considerable.

This latest Humanitarian Policy Group study argues the next few years will be crucial to the future stability and prosperity of the region. As considerable numbers of people return, the pressure of reintegration mounts. Strategies must therefore urgently be put in place to address massive and rapid urbanisation, encourage civilians to disarm and provide opportunities for the sustainable use of natural resources, including land in urban areas. Infrastructure and markets also need development and equitable access to essential services must be put in place. The study, commissioned by the governments of Canada and Denmark, is the second phase of a research project looking at one of the world’s largest return and reintegration processes.

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