A Bridge between Burgenstock and Machakos


The Nuba and Southern Blue Civil Forum held its first seminar in Kampala between 21-24 November 2002, which was organised by Justice Africa and hosted by Pan Africa Movement, under the theme of “working together for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Sudan”. The seminar was attended by 35 participants representing a wide range of civil society organisations, political parties and civil society leaders from Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile region, plus representatives from the Government of Sudan, IGAD partners, observers and Joint Military Commission (JMC). There were ten delegates sent by Sudan Government to attend this seminar but the organisers refused to allow them to participate because they were not invited to the seminar. The participants regret that the delegations from the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile civil society organisations under the SPLA/M controlled areas did not come to the Seminar because they were told by the SLA/M leadership not to attend for the fear that this Seminar will split the Nuba from the SPLA/M. 

The seminar was a mild stone as the two regions met for the first time under one roof to debate their future in Sudan in the light of the current Machakos peaces process. During the four days the participants from both areas showed seriousness and commitment to peace in Sudan in their deliberations. Many issues were raised and discussed in an atmosphere full of frankness and different views on some of the issues under the debate were noted. However, there were unanimous agreement on some of the issues such as unity of the country and representation of civil society at Machakos peace talks. The issues discussed include: the power sharing, the constitution, the right of self-determination, religion and the state, the boundaries of the two regions, the security arrangement, the role of civil society in the peace process and the IGAD Peace Process. The participants agreed that the model and the experience of the Burgenstock Cease-fire Agreement for the Nuba Mountains should be extended to the Southern Blue Nile region and that such an agreement should form a bridge between Burgenstock and Machakos to achieve a comprehensive peace settlement for the whole of the country including the two regions which have suffered enormously from the long civil war of the Sudan. 

At the end of four days deliberations the participants produced a Declaration which was call Kampala Declaration of the Nuba and South Blue Nile Civil Society Forum (see Kampala Declaration for details). The Declaration was sent to IGAD’s Special Envoys, IGAD Members and Partners. This Declaration represents the views of a wide section of public opinion from people in the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile which we believe will contribute significantly to the peace progress in Machakos and for finding a just and a lasting solution to these two areas adjacent to the South and also contribute to achieve a comprehensive peace to the entire Sudan.