Peace by Committee: The 17 Committees and Commissions Responsible for Making Peace between the Two Sudans

 

On September 27, 2012, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed nine landmark agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agreements mark the culmination of a two-year long negotiation process facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, or AUHIP, and address issues arising from South Sudan's independence from Sudan.

Sinar, a Sudanese woman in the Batil Refugee Camp

On September 27, 2012, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed nine landmark agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agreements mark the culmination of a two-year long negotiation process facilitated by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, or AUHIP, and address issues arising from South Sudan's independence from Sudan. These issues are varied and include the modalities for South Sudan's export of oil through Sudan, border security and demarcation, and bilateral trade, among others. The agreements are an important first step toward consolidating peace, security, and economic growth between the Sudans. In most cases, however, instead of setting out mutually acceptable compromises, the agreements establish committees or commissions to undertake the difficult work of resolving thorny political, security, and economic issues. The most contentious of these could lead to further violent conflict between the two countries if not resolved.

In the months since the agreements were signed, it has become increasingly clear that the government of Sudan, in particular, is not genuinely committed to implementing, in good faith and in a timely fashion, the agreements, nor is it moving quickly to establish the required committees and commissions. Without significant involvement from the international community, the Sudanese government's delay tactics could undermine the work of the required committees and commissions and risk plunging the two countries back into violent conflict.
 
The September 2012 agreements provide for the establishment of 15 committees or commissions, in addition to two entities agreed to previously. These 17 committees and commissions are responsible for addressing contentious outstanding issues and implementing the September 2012 agreements.
 
The enclosed chart provides a snapshot of the committees and commissions. For each committee or commission, the chart:
 
• Identifies the issue or issues that the committee or commission is responsible for addressing—economics, petroleum, security and borders, or society
 
• Lists the full name of the committee or commission
 
• Provides a brief description of the committee's or the commission's mandate
 
The chart illustrates the challenges that confront the governments of Sudan and South Sudan in the coming weeks and months. Arranging the logistics necessary to ensure the regular convening of the 17 committees and commissions will demand a high level of coordination between Sudan and South Sudan and the expenditure of limited financial, technical, and personnel resources.