The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was established on 3 June 2020 under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2524 to support Sudan during its transition to democratic rule and it was renewed the following year through SC 2579(2021). UNITAMS was conceived of and designed to respond to new and long-standing issues in Sudan: the political transition process that began with the December 2018 revolution and the legacy of armed conflicts. The Mission’s mandate explicitly recognises the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of Sudan and stresses the need for appropriate risk assessment and risk management strategies. Yet, since the adoption of the Mission’s mandate in June 2020 and its renewal in June 2021, Sudan’s political, security and economic situation has deteriorated significantly.
An attempted military coup in September 2021, followed by a successful coup d’état on 25 October 2021, has further worsened Sudan’s political crisis, increasing insecurity, undermining the economy, and resulting in the interruption of bilateral and international funding – all amidst the continuing global pandemic. This fast-changing political, security and economic context has placed UNITAMS in a very delicate position in relation to the host government. It has required UNITAMS to focus a significant portion of its attention on good offices and diplomacy so that, together with the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and other international partners and Sudanese stakeholders, it can support a process aimed at bringing Sudan’s transition back on track.
While the UNITAMS mandate remains relevant and adequate, the Mission must continue to be allowed the flexibility to adapt its focus to the fast-changing dynamics on the ground. UNITAMS’ good offices’ role should remain at the centre of the Mission’s efforts during the next mandated period, helping Sudanese stakeholders to find an inclusive political settlement that can secure a transition to democratic rule in the medium to long term. At the same time, the Mission should continue its work in support of its other objectives and priorities, including the protection of civilians, the implementation of the peace agreement, and advisory and capacity building, particularly related to the rule-of-law sector. The Mission should strengthen its focus on and ability to integrate climate-related security risks into its analytical work, especially as it relates to supporting local conflict prevention, mitigation and reconciliation efforts to prevent inter-communal violence. While there has been significant progress in strengthening collaboration among the UN, AU and IGAD, maintaining and sustaining the partnership must remain a key priority in the Mission’s work to promote regional stability.