This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
A peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the southern former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was signed on 9 January 2005. This marked the end of the 21-year north-south civil war and opens the way for improvements in the lives of women and children throughout the country, especially in the south, thanks to peace and new resource flows. However, the conflict in the western Darfur region, which mushroomed in 2003, is unresolved and has affected the livelihoods of 2.4 million people in Darfur as of early 2005. Fighting in the south over two decades and in Darfur in the past 18 months has caused large scale population displacements, destroyed infrastructure, eroded coping mechanisms, and involved large-scale human rights violations. Second-tier conflicts have proliferated, many of them land-related or inter-tribal or due to competition over resources. Some 4 million people outside Darfur continue to be displaced from their homes, but thousands are on their way home or planning to return.
Achieving peace in the Sudan constitutes the most important challenge. Achieving peace will make it possible to facilitate poverty reduction, human rights promotion and socio-economic development. The widespread possession of small arms by civilians and proliferation of "second-tier" conflict will continue to be a threat to community rehabilitation. Addressing basic root causes of the second-tier conflict, especially those related to social and economic underdevelopment, and well-designed programmes to promote grassroots peace building will have to be an essential component of the overall peace building and reconciliation efforts.