Regional Planning Strategy of Darfur, Sudan, for post conflict (re)settlement development
Darfur, in Western Sudan bordering the Sahara, has a population of approximately 7.5 million people. In 2003 and 2004, an estimated 300,000 people were killed in an armed conflict and 2 million people fled their burned settlements and lands to refugee camps around the main cities. Simplistically explained, it has been a conflict between sedentary and nomadic farmers about land. But the conflict has had a history of decades against a backdrop of complex national, regional and tribal interests, and particularly the drought and subsequent famine of 1984 have ignited the tensions.
Where and how to start?
With the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in 2011, humanitarian support by international aid agencies and the UN peace keeping mission are being reduced and will probably be terminated in 2013. Part of refugees would want to return to their lands, others have made been trying to make a living in the cities around which the refugee camps have been located, others have become seasonal laborers in agriculture, partly living in camps. Returning is often not right away possible because during the conflict settlements were burned, seed reserves destroyed, water wells polluted, and minefields were laid, but also the social fabric was destroyed, as well as the economic and health services infrastructure. The main question is where and how to start redevelopment of settlements, physical infrastructure and functions of services, restore a social fabric and economic development.
Regional planning strategy of Darfur
Many ideas exist and surveys have been carried out. Likewise many reports have been written that provide partial answers. Over the last years agencies and projects have collected a lot of non-spatial and spatial data about the situation in Darfur. A large part of data and reports has been well organized by the Unites Nations agencies. UN Habitat wishes to bring organizations in Darfur and all this information together to develop a regional planning strategy of Darfur.
Because the amount of stakeholders, ideas, data and reports is overwhelming, and the use of all these reports and data is very sensitive, UN Habitat has involved ITC to develop decision support methodology and systems for a spatial integrated assessment to guarantee a transparent organization and use of information and avoid appearance of biases.
As from April 2012 ITC will assist the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, and several Sudanese and international organizations with the development of a regional planning strategy of Darfur to assist two million refugees to return to their place of origin or settle around the cities they have fled to.
Develop a methodology for information extraction
Two workshops are planned for consultants in April and in May to develop the methodology for information extraction from existing reports, surveys and spatial data. This will include original scientific work where methods of spatial evaluation and regional functional analysis will be integrated. Training sessions about the methodology will be held in July in Darfur. Three workshops in the capitals of the three original states of Darfur will be held in September where the analysis of suitable areas of settlement and function development will be reviewed. Strategy will be developed in fall, which will be presented at the final meetings in January of 2013 to stakeholders in Darfur and Sudan and international donor agencies.
Luc Boerboom - Assistant Professor Spatial Planning and Decision Support Systems and Infrastructures