Message from Mr. Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on May 17:
The successful conclusion of the referendum on South Sudan, and the implementation of a number of other key elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) helped to end one of the longest civil wars in Africa. The dedicated hard work of the UN staff to support Sudanese efforts has been critical to this success, and we the management of UNMIS are grateful. I commend you all.
As we come to the end of our mandate, we are entering a period of transition. Naturally, all transitions carry with them inherent uncertainties and tensions. I want to take this opportunity to update you on progress, and allay any misconceptions or fears which may have inadvertently built up over the course of this period.
Under the leadership of the Senior Management Team (SMT), at both HQ and field levels, consultations and planning for the future UN engagement in Sudan is fully underway. On my instruction, these discussions have been driven by two overarching aims; first, to identify the needs in the period ahead; and second, to determine the nature and scope of UN support and capacity that will be necessary to meet those needs.
It will be on this basis that all emerging vacancies will be filled. I have already requested that the SMT expedite the transfer of staff with the appropriate profiles to match needs on the ground to those locations where they are most needed, including in South Sudan. Every effort will be made to retain those staff whose profile is closely aligned to needs under the successor arrangements.
On Thursday, 19 May, the Security Council will discuss the draft Secretary General’s report on Sudan. The report recommends a three-month extension to the current Mission mandate, renewable on a one-time basis, for a further maximum of three months, if at all necessary. This will allow sufficient time to support negotiations related to the post-CPA political, economic and security arrangements between the two States that will emerge. Obviously, the SG’s proposal awaits the approval of the Security Council and the acceptance of the two Sudanese Governments.
Over the course of the next few months, everything will be done to minimize any disruptions to UNMIS staff. The SMT will do its utmost to keep you posted on all developments and ensure staff-wide consultations on issues of concern, as appropriate. Lastly, despite earlier successes, we cannot rest on our laurels. There is still much to do and the potential pitfalls are many. I urge you to maintain your sense of drive, focus and commitment during these last months marking the transition from our current mandate to the next, in whatever form.