ACCORD, in partnership with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development-Mediation Support Unit (IGAD-MSU) conducted a workshop in Juba, South Sudan, for 32 youth leaders from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions. This workshop took place from 01 – 04 November 2020 with the aim to engage with Sudanese youth leaders and assist in their understandings of the ongoing negotiation and mediation efforts, encourage youth-led interventions and solutions in the peace negotiations and peace-building processes and design strategies that will ensure greater inclusivity and participation from young people in the peace process. The workshop was also designed to assist in the understanding of the Sudan Peace Agreement that was signed in 2020 and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) negotiation process.
The workshop commenced with providing the youth with a better understanding of the origins of the conflict in Sudan and the role that identity plays in the origins of conflict. This was followed by a discussion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 and the Sudan Peace Agreement of 2020. Emphasis was placed on the root causes of the conflict outlined in the CPA and the provisions made to address these causes of conflict, and a discussion was also held on the Sudan Peace Agreement. The youth present at the workshop who are supporters of the SPLM-N, and who were not signatories to the agreement, indicated that the 2020 agreement did not properly address the root causes of the conflict which the youth identified as divisions or social class, insecurity and the crippling economy. The participants further indicated that Sudan could not be peaceful unless there is a secular state.
The youth participants were also asked to engage in what their expectations for the peace processes were. The feedback included: the need for inclusive participation of the youth, women and business communities for sustainable peace; participation in political parties; freedom of expression during regular consultations; youth inclusion in the dissemination of messages of peace through the media; safe mass gathering that will allow the youth to express their voices freely; and finally the youth expect guarantees from the government and rebel groups on the peace agreement. The recommendations made at the workshop was the need for a follow up workshop that should include youth from political parties, civil society, media and academia to discuss the Sudan peace process as this will serve to contextualise the peace process and peace building through diverse opinions. In addition, it was recommended that the workshop be conducted in the Nuba Mountain and Nile River regions as this will be beneficial to both youth leaders in the region and the broader society.
This workshop was conducted in accordance with ACCORD’s vision 2021 strategic plan to reinforce the institutional capacity of the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs); as well as increase the role of youth in peace processes.