An investigation into the role of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the resolution of the Sudan conflict
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has played a major role in conflict resolution in the Sudan. The strength of the IGAD Peace Initiative particularly has been its clarity in identifying the key issues at the core of the conflict in its Declaration of Principles (DoP). From that time the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/ A) and Government of Sudan (GoS), though later, embarked on a path to seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Another achievement had been IGAD's ability to help Sudan pool its resources that seemed to provide an answer to the perennial power constraints that bedevil African mediators. It is without doubt that the Machakos protocol signed in July 2002 was a breakthrough for the history of IGAD's conflict resolution in Sudan, because of the acknowledgement, for the first time, of the right of self-determination for the south, and the guarantee of the right to opt for self determination through a referendum at the end of a six-year interim period. From this time IGAD's mediators became more flexible, the Sudan peace process moved speedily and to the highest level; and between 2002 and 2003, the substantive agreements were signed, leading to the final agreement in 2005. At the same time, the hard-pressed role of the United States cannot be undermined for real progress in the IGAD peace process in Sudan. Furthermore, though IGAD faced a lot of challenges as the parties' willingness to negotiate correlated with their military successes and failures, the organization commitment in the peace process assisted in achieving IGAD's stated objective. Its also worth noting that there was a lack of inclusivity in the IGAD negotiations and the mediators at times were unable to articulate common visions of their roles and sustain adequate attention to their intervention; however, despite several competing mediation attempts such as the "Joint Libya-Egyptian Initiative" (JLEI), IGAD has provided the by and large undisputed negotiation framework for the Sudan conflict since the mid-nineties. Crucial and worthy as this achievement is that, the IGAD Initiative will engross a continuing involvement in Sudan that would not end until the terms of the peace agreement are fulfilled and the necessary stability is achieved, because only then would there be confidence that peace would be secure. This objective is not realisable unless there are significant and continuing democratic reforms; IGAD must understand that this objective is an integral part of the peace process. Finally, IGAD's continued engagement with the Joint IGAD Partners and the international community as a whole to provide for support for peace building and reconstruction in Sudan is imperative. If peace is consolidated in the South, it will demonstrate the benefits of negotiated solutions to other parts of Sudan, such as Darfur and the East.
- Humanities