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U.N. Peacebuilding Fund Highlight

Sudan Youth Citizen Observer Network: Strengthening Youth’s Role as Peacebuilders and Promoters of Civic Space in Sudan’s Transition

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August 2022

The Carter Center has waged peace in Sudan since 1989, assisting efforts to end the country’s second civil war, observing elections in 2010 and the historic referendum on independence for South Sudan in 2011, brokering international peace deals between Sudan and its neighbors, and implementing grassroots conflict resolution mechanisms to aid local populations.

After a revolution led largely by young people ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in 2019, the Center began seeking to expand civic space for youth engagement in Sudan’s ongoing political transition. Working in partnership with Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Center laid the foundation that would eventually inform the Sudan Youth Citizen Observer Network.

Sudan Youth Citizen Observer Network

The Carter Center is beginning a multiyear project, the Sudan Youth Citizen Observer Network, to support Sudanese civil society capacity to monitor the country’s democratic transition and the implementation of recent peace agreements. The project aims to support youth, women, and citizen observers and to monitor commitments undertaken during Sudan’s transitional period.

  • Meeting participants sitting in circular formation engage in a discussion.

    Site visits and pre-selection meetings with potential youth-led partner organizations took place in North Kordofan in May-June 2022.

In 2021, Sudanese youth surveyors trained by The Carter Center identified and mapped more than 7,000 resistance committees and youth-led organizations all across Sudan, of which more than 1,000 were surveyed through face-to-face interviews. The methodology and key findings are summarized in an August 2021 report. Later, in response to adverse political developments, the Center engaged with a diverse range of youth groups across Sudan who sought to shape and define an agenda to advance the political transition, despite the seemingly intractable negotiations involving elements of the former regime, disparate armed groups, and diverse civilian components.

With a substantive baseline for engagement in place, The Carter Center partnered with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for the first time in 2022, to start up the Youth Citizen Observer Network in all 18 states of Sudan. With a $1.5 million investment and as one of two international NGOs to have a project funded under the 2021 Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative competition in Sudan, The Carter Center will work with Sudanese youth to expand their political participation and protect civic space through independent grassroots monitoring, local peacebuilding, public reporting, and advocacy.

In 2022, the Center selected 12 implementation partners to receive subgrants for activities across all 18 Sudanese states. By 2023, these partners and their youth constituencies will engage at local and state levels to observe the transition. Based on its findings and recommendations, the network and its partners will advocate on local, state, and national levels for political reform and peacebuilding amid a changing and often volatile political context.

About the U.N. Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund
The PBF is the United Nations’ financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries or situations impacted by violent conflicts. The Fund works across pillars and supports integrated U.N. responses to fill critical gaps and respond quickly to peacebuilding opportunities and catalyze processes and resources in a risk-tolerant fashion. The PBF supports increased U.N. coherence and prioritizes joint programs and closer partnerships with civil society organizations, including through directly funding non-U.N. organizations. The 2020-2024 PBF strategy focuses especially on women and youth empowerment, supporting cross-border and regional approaches, and facilitating transitions between United Nations configurations. From 2006 to 2021, the PBF has approved nearly $1.67 billion in 65 recipient countries.

Since its inception, 64 member states have contributed to the fund, and 46 have made commitments and pledges for the present 2020-2024 Investment Plan.

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