The two Sudans met in Nairobi a fortnight ago and agreed to enhance cooperation and promote mutual partnership for the good of the two neighbours since they became separate countries in July.
Vulnerable household in Darfur receiving a house in SSB and ferrocement roofing
In a meeting hosted by UN-HABITAT that brought together urban experts working in South Sudan and the Sudan, urban challenges facing the two nations were discussed and possible solutions agreed upon.
The three day workshop discussed and reviewed UN-habitat programmes and activities in the two countries and at the end of the workshop the 2011-2012 work programmes was formulated.
In South Sudan, UN-HABITAT is implementing a land conflict management project funded by Canada, as well as some slum upgrading activities in Juba as alternative to demolition and forced evictions.
Similarly, in Sudan's Darfur region, implementation of the following programmes are expected; institutional capacity development in Darfur on urban and regional planning and land management including the strengthen of primary health care system in three States of Darfur to be funded by USAID; On-the-job training and capacity development of staff from th state Ministries of Planning and Urban Development; and improved access to primary health care facilities and the capacity of health staff in the three Darfur States with the support of the World Health Organisation.
UN-HABITATt plans to increase its efforts in Sudan by expanding activities to cover Eastern Sudan States, South Kordofan, the White and Blue Nile.
The programme areas of interest will include basic services and infrastructure, local economic development, technical and vocational training for unemployed youth, livelihoods and environment, exploration of new construction technologies, reintegration and settlement upgrading.
While addressing the meeting, the Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Kamal Ismail Saeed reaffirmed his country's commitment to peace and good relation with the newly independent nation despite the huge loses of oil revenue by Khartoum.
Despite the oil revenue lose, the envoy said that his country was exploiting other economic interests including mining, trade and services, tourism and agriculture and the North is seeing South Sudan as a partner state to trade with.
However, it was noted that there were unsound economic practices and trade imbalances from both sides that needed to be looked at afresh for the two countries to develop.
Ambassador Saeed urged the two countries to support mutual trade relations between them reminding the two that they were both intimately linked by history, heritage and geography and, as such, should both embrace a spirit of cooperation.
Speaking on behalf of UN-habitat, Mr. Alioune Badiane, the Director of the Regional Technical Cooperation Division, pledged support for the two countries in urban planning including land use planning and management.
"The future of the Two Sudans will largely depend on the performance of their urban economies. Let's take note that urban areas are the beacons of opportunities and growth," he said.
The retreat suggested that exchanges of expertise and experience from both countries on development issues including urban planning, municipal finance and urban economy should be conducted at the technical level.
On specific technologies like the Stabilised Soil Block, South Sudan could definitely learn from the success of this technology in the construction of housing units and public facilities in Khartoum and Darfur.