Local Governance Capacity Building in South Kordofan
Throughout the two decades of conflict, the South Kordofan Region has been a contested zone between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provided a new opportunity to recover the basic social and economic assets and for the reintegration of the increasing flow of returnees into the region, and marked a clear transition from war and insecurity to peace and stability. system of governance in the recently established South Kordofan state, constituted a milestone in the promotion of good governance and rule of law. The power-sharing government was established in April 2006 comprising 22 establishments, including the Office of the Governor, the Legislative Council, the Auditor General, 10 line Ministries and 9 Localities. In December 2006, the state Government approved the state Constitution, thus contributing to enhancing the process of democratization and decentralization in the state. This year, the Governorship of South Kordofan passed smoothly from SPLM to the National Congress Party in 2007 as stipulated in the CPA.
The planned merger of the two governance systems, as determined in the CPA, has been facing several challenges due to limited capacities and a lack of the necessary technical expertise to support effective governance and service delivery in the state. Most institutions have limited financial and human resources and capacities and are unable to manage an effective public administration to support the devolution of power, as stipulated in the CPA. In general, the decentralization and democratization process in South Kordofan state faces other difficulties related to the integration of different structures and weak operational and technical capacity within the civil service, and the continued limited capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) and traditional institutions to engage in meaningful dialogue with the government and effectively participate in service delivery.
In an attempt to foster democratic governance in South Kordofan state, in January 2006, UNDP launched the Local Governance Capacity Building project, with the support of the UK’s Department for International Development and the Netherlands.
The Local Governance Capacity Building project in South Kordofan is a five-year initiative that aims to contribute to the establishment of effective state and local governance structures which are transparent, accountable, accessible, efficient, representative and sustainable. The specific objectives are:
• Develop and strengthen the human resources capacity of governance institutions at all levels in the state;
• Develop and strengthen effective and elaborated working systems, structures and procedures of governance institutions with an emphasis on results based management
• Strengthen the legal and institutional framework for effective decentralization and empowerment of local government
Snapshots of the project's major achievements
• The project has recruited a national civil service reform advisor and seconded him to the Government of South Kordofan. The advisor supported the Government in initiating civil service reform programmes through the establishment of the Civil Service Reform Committee in the Ministry of Local Government and Civil Service;
• Conducted Institutional capacity assessments and gender audit of state level public institutions, localities and civil society organizations in 2006, 2007 and 2008;
• Organized a conference on civil service reform and a good governance that attracted the participation of some 100 civil servants drawn from the State and Federal Government institutions. The conference addressed opportunities and challenges of Civil service reform in South Kordofan.
• Organized in partnership with the UNDP’s Regional Service Centre, supported a learning mission for 10 high-level state government officials in South Africa on September 5-12, 2006. Led by the Governor of the State, the learning mission exposed South Kordofan officials to innovative ways in systems’ thinking, government agenda setting, public sector process engineering, transformational leadership and change management aimed at greatly optimizing public service delivery in the State
• Implemented between 2006 and 2008 extensive training sessions in operational, managerial and technical knowledge and skills that benefited that benefited 1,567 government officials, native administrators and CSO leaders. The training covered a variety of subjects such as strategic planning, local government financial management, fiscal decentralization, public policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, participatory planning and budgeting, basic management skills, gender mainstreaming, and English-language training;
• Twenty public sector and civil society training modules developed, packaged and translated into Arabic and used for training programs;
• A Governance capacity development training impact assessment was carried out to assess the impact for all “soft” capacity building activities implemented from inception of the project;
• Conducted a review of the South Kordofan Administrative and Civil Service Structures and Wage Bill – June 2006; and the Locality Capacity assessment in 2006 and 2008. The Survey was used as a reference by different UN agencies including the World Bank;
• Trained civil servants in ICT and provided state line ministries and localities with 81 computers, 56 printers, 3 scanners and six photocopiers, two fax machines and one LCD projector as part of enhancing the e-governance capacity of public sector institutions;
• Helped the State Civil Service Integration Committee to prepare and develop the civil service integration plan and budget;
• Recruited and placed a civil service database consultant in the State Ministry of Local Government and Civil service to support the establishment of a civil service database;
• Provided technical and financial support for the establishment of a State level CSO umbrella body with comprising 13 CSO umbrella body leaders. The 150-member strong forum is a registered organization that aims to strengthen the participation of CSOs in governance and service delivery;
• Supported the establishment and operationalisation of an inter-ministerial gender task force;
• Provided technical and financial support to the State Civil Service Integration Committee to help in the integration of that benefited 1,567 some 4,500 former SPLM civil servants into the State Civil Service system and structure; and
• Forged a partnership with the UN Mission, which helped generate additional resources for gender mainstreaming in support of the State Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Children.