1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 29 of Security Council resolution 2318 of 15 November 2016
, in which the Council requested that the Secretary-General conduct a strategic review of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), comprising an in-depth examination of the related resources and structure of its uniformed and civilian components. The present report provides recommendations on how UNISFA should be optimally configured and streamlined, further to an evidence-based assessment of the impact of UNISFA activities aimed at the implementation of its mandate under resolution 2287 (2016).
II. Strategic review
2. The review assessed the ability of UNISFA to fulfil its mandate under Security Council resolutions 1990 (2011), 2024 (2011) and 2318 (2016), considered options for a possible reconfiguration of the Mission based on its findings and engaged with the African Union on the way forward in the political process between the Sudan and South Sudan with respect to Abyei and the implementation of their border security arrangements. The review included an assessment of the ability of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism to implement its mandate and achieve full operating capability. The review follows a similar exercise in April 2014 (see S/2014/336), as a result of which it was determined that supporting the resumption of community dialogue and administration by the communities, under the supervision of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, would allow the United Nations to continue meeting its strategic objective of helping to consolidate peace and security in Abyei and create an environment conducive to the resolution of the dispute over the final status of Abyei. Regarding the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, the 2014 exercise had concluded that, in the absence of full cooperation between the Sudan and South Sudan on border security, the United Nations should not continue investing in its infrastructure.
3. The strategic review mission conducted its field visit from 15 and 23 February 2017. The review team was led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and included representatives from the Department of Field Support, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (on behalf of the humanitarian country team) and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as personnel from UNISFA. The review team met with senior officials from the Governments of the Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia; representatives of the Ngok Dinka and Misseiriya communities; representatives of the African Union, including the Facilitator of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee; a representative of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel; members of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee and the African Union Border Programme; and representatives of the United Nations presences in the region (United Nations Office to the African Union, Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sudan and South Sudan, and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan). The team also engaged with the United Nations country team; representatives of key donors in the Sudan and South Sudan; United Nations agencies, funds and programmes; and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Abyei Area.
III. Background and findings of the strategic assessment
4. The Security Council adopted resolution 1990 (2011) against a backdrop of increased tensions in the Abyei area at the end of 2010, which had resulted in a series of violent incidents in the area in early January 2011 and a build-up of forces from the north and the south. In the absence of a final agreement on the status of the Abyei Area, temporary security arrangements were agreed upon by the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January and March 2011. These agreements were implemented only in part, however, and a number of violent incidents occurred in April and May 2011. In response to the situation, the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, with the support of the Government of Ethiopia, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan and other stakeholders, facilitated high-level meetings between the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which led to the signing of the 20 June 2011 Agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei Area.
5. In that context, UNISFA was given the mandate, inter alia, to demilitarize the Abyei Area, to participate in relevant Abyei Area bodies, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel and to strengthen the capacity of the Abyei Police Service. Since its deployment, UNISFA has effectively delivered on its mandated tasks. Despite the slow progress in finding a resolution to the dispute on the final status of Abyei, UNISFA has succeeded in stabilizing the Abyei Area, providing security for the seasonal migration of the Misseriya and facilitating humanitarian assistance.
From the Editor
The talk over Abyei declined for some time and there are no serious remarks on the delay of the referendum.
This evidences that the community in Abyei which includes both Misseiriya and Dinka Ngok are in a considerable stability based on the joint peaceful coexistence along with a theoretical supervision of Khartoum and Juba governments.
But within the recent chaos in South Sudan, it is time for Dinka Ngok to open Abyei file as they don’t know the fate of their new-born state or the end of the civil war.
Abyei people did not decide up to this moment to which of the Sudan’s they should belong. They are now fearing the migration in South Sudan with its recent situation. But in all case they will never accept international guardianship.
The present peaceful coexistence is good for them even without government as the community is stable and their lives are going on normally with its daily arrangements.
They might agree on the establishment of a joint power between Misseiriya and Dinka to run the area with the assistance of regional peacekeeping troops without any complications or thinking about the future.