The State of Qatar signed a $88.5 million grant agreement with the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher on Sunday.
This single largest donation of Qatar to the UN is one of the main outcomes of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed in Doha in 2011 by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), led by El Tijani Sese. It will kick-start the implementation of the priorities outlined in the Darfur Development Strategy, launched at the international Donor Conference in April 2013.
Qatar promised at the Donor Conference that it would make an immediate contribution of $88 million, half the $177 million needed for critical short-term activities.
The three pillars of the Darfur Development Strategy are Reconstruction, Governance, Justice and Reconciliation, and Economic Recovery. The contribution from Qatar covers half of the requirements for immediate needs identified in the Darfur Development Strategy. The total financing needs envisioned in the six-year plan is $7.2 billion.
The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund was set up to finance the reconstruction in the five states of Darfur, and is administered by UN Development Programme (UNDP).
“We are very grateful to the State of Qatar for its unwavering support to the efforts for peace and recovery in Darfur, where too many people have lost their lives and livelihoods”, said Helen Clark, chairwoman of the UN Development Group, and UNDP Administrator. “It is our firm belief that investing in development in Darfur can help to break the cycle of violence and begin to sow the seeds of peace in this region of Sudan.”
“It took some time… We’re glad that it’s on the right track,” the UN chief in Sudan, Ali El Za’tari, said when asked at a press conference in El Fasher on Sunday why the money had not come sooner. He added that, separately from its contribution to the UN Fund, Qatar has been supporting clinics and other projects from the total of $ 500 million, it pledged at the 2013 Donor Conference.
File photo: Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud (Hotelier Middle East)