A closed-door meeting on aid delivery challenges in southern Sudan

John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Photo by: Mark Garten / UN

Aid officials are set to discuss Thursday (Jan. 10) pressing issues relating to the humanitarian situation in the Sudanese conflict-afflicted states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The goal of the tightly held meeting in Geneva is to inform aid policy by assessing ongoing violence and delivery challenges on the ground, sources close to the issue tell Devex. It will be attended by representatives of U.N. agencies, nongovernmental organizations and donors.

The gathering comes on the heels of the signing of two tripartite agreements put forward by the United Nations, the African Union and the League of Arab States in August. The Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (North) have agreed  on different terms  to allow humanitarian aid access to rebel-held areas in both states. None of that rhetoric has born fruit on the ground to date, aid officials insist.

“To date, inspite of all the intense efforts and the best efforts of very many, we have not been able to gain access,” Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Director of Operations John Ging said Jan. 8 after a Security Council briefing.

“We hope now for the support of the Council in generating a political incentive, motivation, impetus that will get us across the line from just rhetoric to action. It’s now well past the time of gaining access to help these people,” he added.

Ging asked the Security Council to act on a May resolution that also calls on both parties to allow aid access to the two areas or face ”additional measures.” These may include severance of diplomatic relations or the interruption of economic relations.

“We have to call it as it is: So far, we have failed,” Ging said. “What are the prospects? Continued failure unless there is an injection of more political will to turn back failure into success. We don’t need more process, we need now access.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.