Near-verbatim opening remarks of JSR Spokesperson at a press briefing held in Khartoum



22 Oct 2017

Near-verbatim opening remarks of JSR Spokesperson at a press briefing held in Khartoum


Near-verbatim opening remarks of JSR Spokesperson at a press briefing held in Khartoum


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

1.        It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this briefing. First, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Republic of the Sudan, on behalf of UNAMID and the Joint Special Representative, on the lifting of US sanctions after almost two decades. I assure you of the Mission’s continued support to our host government and hope this decision avails a window of opportunity leading to development and sustainable peace in Darfur and across Sudan.


Ladies and gentlemen,


2. As you are aware, the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2363 on 29 June 2017 has led to the ongoing reconfiguration of UNAMID’s operations. This is based on a two-pronged approach, combining peacekeeping and stabilization efforts.  


3. UNAMID will concentrate traditional peacekeeping tasks around the greater Jebel Marra area, while the rest of Darfur will benefit from stabilization endeavors that will see the Mission working more closely than ever before with humanitarian and development partners.


4. On 22 September 2017, representatives of the Government of Sudan, the African Union, the United Nations and UNAMID met in New York for the 24th meeting of the Tripartite Coordination Mechanism on UNAMID. In the spirit of mutual cooperation and support towards the implementation of the Mission’s reconfiguration, the Government requested details on the establishment of the proposed temporary operating base in Golo, Central Darfur, which UNAMID has now provided.  Currently, talks are ongoing with the Government of Sudan in this regard.


5. To reinforce the agility of its operations on the ground, the Mission is also restructuring its uniformed personnel in two phases.


6. Currently, we are in Phase 1 of the reconfiguration process which is expected to be completed by January 2018. At the end of Phase 1, we will be reducing our authorized ceiling for uniformed personnel to 11, 395 military and 2,888 police.


7. Simultaneously, we have closed 11 team sites across Darfur according to the timelines provided by United Nations Headquarters in New York and the Security Council. Of these, ZamZam, North Darfur, was the last to be closed yesterday, 21 October. The deadline we at UNAMID initially set for ourselves was the end of this month, but we managed to close the sites well before this.


8. In line with general UN practices in post-conflict regions, the Mission recommends the Government of Sudan to transform team sites handed to them into facilities that contribute to the overall development of local communities and take into account the wishes of the local population, whenever possible.


9. Phase 2 involves a further reduction of military personnel to 8, 735 and police personnel to 2,500 by 30 June 2018. By end of January 2018, there will be a review of Phase 1, following which Phase 2 shall commence.


10. The reduction in military and police components will inevitably lead to a reduction in civilian staffing, in accordance with general DPKO uniformed personnel-to-civilian staff guidelines. Therefore, a detailed Civilian Staffing Review, as mandated by Resolution 2363, was conducted by representatives of UN Headquarters.


11. Upon completion of the Review, it has been decided that civilian post reductions will take place in two phases. The first phase will be completed by 31 December 2017 and will lead to the abolishment of 426 posts. The second phase will witness the reduction of 147 posts, by 30 June 2018.


12. The Mission recognizes and empathizes with the human impact of such reductions. We have taken all measures possible to ensure that the impending separations are conducted in line with established UN policies, rules and procedures.


13. Plans are underway to hold a career fair, mainly targeted at those staff who might be affected by these post reductions. Every effort is being made to ensure that separating staff receive timely entitlements and have adequate notice to prepare for their next steps. It should be noted that pension entitlements usually take longer to process as the Pension Fund deals with staff from all UN entities, including peacekeeping missions, Agencies, Funds and Programmes. 


14. As we enter this new phase, we all need to supplement and complement our efforts towards bringing about lasting peace and development in Darfur.


15. It remains for me now to thank you for your attention and time. I hope to be speaking more often with all of you. Shukran Jazeelan!