The high-level Sudan Partnership Conference was held in Berlin in support of the Transitional Government which followed the remarkable women, youth and men led popular change in the Sudan. Delegations expressed their full political support for the Sudan’s transition and for its Transitional Government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in its efforts to achieve the long-held aspirations of the people for a free, peaceful, just, inclusive and prosperous Sudan.
The Conference was co-hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Union, the United Nations and the Republic of the Sudan and was attended by delegations from 40 countries and 15 international organisations and agencies. The Conference was opened by H.E. Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan, H.E. Heiko Maas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. A second panel featured H.E. Ibrahim el-Badawi, Minister of Finance of the Republic of the Sudan, H.E. Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub, Minister of Labour and Social Development, H.E. David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, H.E. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.
The Conference marked another important step in the international support for the Sudan, which previously included the High-level Event on Sudan in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in 2019 and the High-Level Roundtable on humanitarian assistance held in London in January 2020, among others.
A Political Partnership
The Conference opened a new chapter in the cooperation between the Sudan and the international community. It strengthened the political partnership, backed by pledges of financial support, for the Sudan’s democratic and economic transition, building on the Mutual Partnership Framework adopted at the Paris Friends of Sudan meeting on 7 May 2020. Mutual accountability and transparency will be the guiding principle in the relationship between the Sudan and the 2 international community in respect of the common commitment to a prosperous and democratic Sudan and to inclusive and sustainable development in the Sudan. The international community and the Transitional Government of the Sudan affirmed that financial and political support for the transition was firmly predicated on continued progress towards the establishment of a democratic and civilian-led political system in the Sudan. A prosperous and democratic Sudan will serve as an important pillar of stability in the region.
The Sudan’s Constitutional Declaration lays out a wide range of objectives envisaged for the Sudan’s transition period. Besides alleviating the economic suffering of the Sudan’s people, it envisages far-reaching legal and political reforms. The key priorities of the Declaration include comprehensive peace, establishing a Transitional Legislative Council inclusive of women, young people and other marginalised populations, strengthening gender equality and human rights, boosting the role of young people, ensuring accountability for past abuses, strengthening accountable governance and rebuilding public institutions, and drafting a new constitution and holding elections. A commitment to transparency with regard to public revenues and expenditures underpins the economic reform programme.
The Conference paid tribute to initial progress made towards meeting the benchmarks of the Constitutional Declaration. The Transitional Government of the Sudan has prioritised economic reforms from the outset, as well as stolen asset recovery both domestically and internationally. Legislation discriminating against women has been repealed as part of a wider effort to advance gender equality in the Sudan. Steps are being taken to hold perpetrators of past atrocities to account. Peace talks were initiated as a priority and several agreements have been signed in preparation for the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement.
This Conference acknowledged the urgent need to support the Sudan as it addresses its acute economic crisis which has been exacerbated by the additional challenges brought by the COVID19 pandemic. Delegations welcomed the economic reforms announced by the Transitional Government of the Sudan and pledged a package of financial support totalling over 1.8 billion US-Dollars, including for social protection, development, COVID-19 response, and humanitarian aid. Delegations further committed to turning their respective pledges into effective contributions without delay.
These funding contributions will be used to support the Transitional Government in meeting its priorities and to launch a formal process of political support for the democratic, peace, and economic agenda of the Sudan’s Transitional Government. These priorities notably include but are not limited to the establishment of the Sudan Family Support Programme for Social Impact Mitigation (SFSP), providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable among the Sudanese population impacted by the current economic crisis, and the necessary economic reforms to be implemented in near future. Delegations underlined that the Sudan should undertake further economic and social reforms including improving transparency, inclusiveness and accountability to unblock further funding.
Delegations called for the Sudan and its partners to work together to address impediments that prevent the Sudan from fully reintegrating into the international economic community. They 3 expressed strong support for the recent efforts by the international financial institutions in their forward-leaning approach to the unique challenges confronting the Sudan. Delegations welcomed in particular the World Bank’s leadership and willingness to explore a multi-pronged approach that would include trust fund support for an emergency COVID-19 response in the Sudan, approval of the new Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support the reform agenda and SFSP, provision of IDA Pre-Arrears Clearance Grants to accompany fresh financial flows from a global coalition of donors in support of the Sudan Family Support Programme, and options for supporting progress along the HIPC path. They congratulated the International Monetary Fund and the Transitional Government of the Sudan on the staff-level agreement reached to launch an ambitious Staff Monitored Program. The Staff-Monitored Program will support the implementation of the authorities’ comprehensive reform package which focuses on stabilizing the economy, strengthening the social safety net, improving governance and the business environment, and will facilitate progress towards HIPC debt relief. Delegations supported working on a pathway to eventual debt relief (HIPC process) and also recognized the African Development Bank’s efforts in supporting Sudan ascend this process. France reiterated its offer to host a high-level conference launching the debt relief process and allowing the full reintegration of the Sudan into the international economic community.
Recognising the link between peace and development, delegations expressed their strong support for the Juba peace process and called for all parties to engage in the negotiations as the sole means through which the root causes of conflict can be addressed and a full and comprehensive peace achieved. Several participants referred to the need for the peace process to be inclusive. Others stated that transitional justice should be part of the peace process, while perpetrators of criminal acts should be held accountable through due legal process. Reconciliation is important at all levels and should be supported. Participants acknowledged the role of the Government of South Sudan in support of the peace negotiations, as well as the joint efforts of IGAD, AU, UN, neighbouring countries and partners to encourage the parties to reach a comprehensive agreement. International partners expressed their support to assist the Sudan in assessing ongoing needs as part and parcel of successful implementation of the peace agreement.
The way forward
Delegations/Participants committed to remaining engaged in accompanying and assisting the people of the Sudan through the political transition and their economic reform process. To this end, high-level conferences will be held regularly to take stock of the partnership and progress achieved in the Sudan’s ongoing transition.
Participants agreed to hold the next Partnership Conference in early 2021, in close cooperation with the Government of the Sudan and the Friends of Sudan group. In addition, the Government of the Sudan and delegations decided to establish a follow-up mechanism (Compact) lead by the Transitional Government of the Sudan as an inclusive process in the Sudan:
The Delegations of:
Germany, Sudan, European Union, United Nations, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, The Republic of Korea, Romania, The Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, The United Arab Emirates, The United Kingdom, The United States.