The next 12 months will be critical for the future of Sudan. As the country marks the fifth anniversary of the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a devastating civil war, southern Sudan has seen a major upsurge in violence. In 2009, some 2,500 people were killed and 350,000 fled their homes. With landmark elections and a referendum on the horizon, the peace deal is fragile and the violence likely to escalate even further unless there is urgent international engagement. Southern Sudan is one of the least-developed regions in the world. Its poverty, combined with limited government and aid agency capacity to respond to emergencies and deliver development, exacerbates the potential for renewed conflict. The people of southern Sudan have shown extraordinary resilience to emerge from decades of war. If they are to have hope for the future, they urgently need development and protection from violence. Sudan faces
many interlocking challenges, but if the international community acts now, they are surmountable.