Statement: Our reaction to Sudan pledging conference 

22 April 2024

Despite financial pledges from the international community, we remain immensely concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation in Sudan.

As a result of the international donor pledging conference held in Paris 15 April, aimed to scale up the response to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the funding of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan will supposedly increase from 5% to 50%. Although the accumulated pledges mark an increased financial engagement of the international community, Plan International still has immense concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in Sudan and the armed conflict.

Much more still needs be done to 1) protect and address the needs of the people, especially women and girls, 2) direct funding streams through local actors including cash programming and 3) facilitate an active role of civil society in decision making and action, including the political process and humanitarian response efforts.    

Even with doubling the effort – a fully funded UN humanitarian response plan – Sudanese people will still likely face acute food insecurity. Key factors that influence the scale and severity of the food insecurity include the likelihood of a ceasefire, humanitarian access, and cash assistance to support local actors, farmers and markets. 

Gender-based violence

Women, girls and people with disability are disproportionately affected by the armed conflict in Sudan. Plan International vigorously reinforces all references made during the conference to the grave violations of women’s and girls’ rights, to gender based violence, sexual violence, the rise of sexual transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, to negative coping mechanisms such as child and forced marriage and ‘survival sex’. The conflict in Sudan and the war induced famine and displacement have disproportionate gendered effects, which cannot wait to be addressed.  

Plan International reiterates that the international community must champion the protection of civilians on par with efforts to bring about a ceasefire, and must commit to the realisation of full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to reach all parts of the country and to address the needs of the most vulnerable as well as access for the International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan. 

Local actors

As stated by the Sudan INGO Forum ahead of the pledging conference: the main lifelines in many areas such as the Darfur and Kordofan states, the capital Khartoum and Al Jazira, have been local actors.

During the conference references were justly made to Sudanese volunteers and loose groups such as the Emergency Response Rooms, and Sudanese civil society organisations were rightfully lauded and applauded. In view that pledges were mainly directed through multilateral channels, it will be critical that flexible, direct funds are also channelled to local actors and NGOs. 

Political process

Prior to the pledging conference France organised a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers to focus on the political track, including the IGAD-process and the initiative led by Saudi Arabia and the United States. Plan International expresses its hope that the Paris Conference has vastly increased political will and has emboldened world leaders to accelerate the political process, leading to a more focused and consolidated peace initiative.  

In addition, Plan International calls for upholding maximum engagement of civil society actors in the political process, including representation and full and equal participation of women and women-led organisations for any sustainable solution to end the conflict, in line with UNSC Resolution 1325 on the role of women in conflict resolution.

Women still have not been fully, equally, or meaningfully included in the building of sustainable peace in Sudan. In the Sudanese crisis it is high time to finally deliver on this promise!