Southern Sudanese vote for independence

Feb 7, 2011

The people of Southern Sudan have voted overwhelmingly to secede and form their own country.

According to the final results announced today by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, 98.3 percent of the electorate has chosen independence.

The referendum, which ended on 15 January, is a key benchmark of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of civil war between the north and the south.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon commended the CPA partners, the Government of Sudan led by President Omar Hassan Al Bashir, and the Government of Southern Sudan led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, for keeping their commitment to maintain peace and stability throughout this crucial period.

The United Nations Development Programme, through the UN Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division, helped with the process, including the procurement of ballots and registration kits, voter registration campaigns, logistics, and technical assistance.

“The people of Southern Sudan will look to the future state to provide services such as security, health and education,” said UNDP's head Helen Clark. “UNDP is standing by the people of Southern Sudan as they move forward into the next stage of building a strong, stable, and responsive state. UNDP is working with the Government of Southern Sudan to build up core government functions and efficient processes, particularly in the areas of rule of law, security, and public finance.”

With assistance from international donors and neighbouring countries, UNDP has helped place more than 100 accountants, economists, treasurers, engineers, police trainers and other professionals in the Government of Southern Sudan, and in all ten state governments. These professional civil servants are working side-by-side with local civil servants until the latter are able to take over.

UNDP supports an election somewhere in the world every three weeks, with 36 percent of the organization's budget committed to supporting governance initiatives in the field.