10 October 2017
The Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) is honoured to release its publication “The Strategic Thinking for Change and Stability in Eastern Sudan: The Forgotten Territory”, which presents the discussions and recommendations of the workshop that was organized and held by SDFG. This publication was released earlier in Arabic in July 2017.
Since Sudan’s independence, Eastern Sudan has continued to be a victim of the same developmental marginalization from which all of Sudan’s peripheries are suffering. Despite the region’s significant geographic importance, housing the co
untry’s maritime ports, lengthy land and sea boarders, fertile agricultural lands which provide a rich basket of resources, it continues to suffer from instability, security threats, poverty, successive famines, diseases, looting of resources, exclusion from political participation and discrimination in development and other policies that have marked the history of the modern Sudanese state.
The National Islamic Front (NIF) coup of 1989 deepened developmental and social discrimination in eastern Sudan. The three-decade rule of the NIF and it successor, the National Congress Party (NCP), has aggravated the security, political and economic problems of the region placing Eastern Sudan in a state of precarious stability and conflict. Despite the relative peace achieved by the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) of 2006, which ended armed hostilities, many of the underlying causes of the conflict are still in place, and liable to explode at any moment unless addressed with strategies aimed at achieving real stability in eastern Sudan.
SDFG initiated a discussion around issues of change and stability in Eastern Sudan by inviting a spectrum of civil, political and social leaders from the region. The workshop discussed issues of governance, political participation, the relationship of the region with the centre, wealth sharing, resources, development, security, migration and borders in addition to issues of identity, and social and cultural relations.
The workshop concluded with the issuance of the Nairobi Declaration for Change and Stability in Eastern Sudan, which was published by SDFG at the time. This booklet reflects the discussions that culminated in greater detail, and lays out its recommendations This work is part of SDFG’s efforts to address the issues of marginalized regions and communities in Sudan, and to raise the voice of people from these regions to the top of the agenda for positive nation building in the country. This effort is a critical part of ending civil wars and regional grievances, and reaching a comprehensive and lasting solution to the complex crises facing Sudan by addressing the roots of discrimination and exclusion.
As any such meeting realistically would, the workshop fell short of representing the entire spectrum of the civic forces in Eastern Sudan. However, SDFG consulted extensively to ensure the widest possible spectrum of stakeholders on the topics discussed at the workshop were invited and fully engaged. Although the organization cannot claim to have covered of all viewpoints in Eastern Sudan, it did represent at broad sampling. SDFG considers this an important step in reopening the dialogue on the issues of Eastern Sudan and promoting greater national efforts to prevent a recurrence of war in the region.
SDFG presents its appreciation to all the workshop participants whose valuable inputs represent the core of this booklet. Special thanks also go to Mr. Abdallah Musa, a member of SDFG Board of Directors, for his efforts in the organization of the workshop. Through this booklet “The Strategic Thinking for Change and Stability in Eastern Sudan: The Forgotten Territory”, SDFG presents the discussions and recommendations covered by the participants at the session, in order to open a wider dialogue on the issues of Eastern Sudan and the Sudanese peripheries in general. SDFG will continue to work with its civil society allies towards the implementation of these recommendations.