In early 2008, UNHCR launched consultations with its Executive Committee (ExCom) on a new Policy Framework and Implementation Strategy regarding UNHCR’s role in support of the return and reintegration of displaced populations. This updated reintegration policy includes a commitment by the agency to undertake “both real-time and retrospective evaluations of its major reintegration programmes”.
In line with this commitment, UNHCR’s Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES), in consultation with the Africa Bureau, commissioned an evaluation of UNHCR’s reintegration programme in South Sudan and Blue Nile State (hereafter referred to as ‘southern Sudan’), with the aims of: a)Providing an independent assessment of the effectiveness and impact of UNHCR’s operations in supporting the sustainable reintegration of returning refugees and (where relevant) IDPs in southern Sudan 2005-2008; b)Making recommendations for the future orientation of the southern Sudan reintegration programme, analysing and taking into account any constraints and opportunities identified; and c)Analysing the extent to which UNHCR’s reintegration policy framework is relevant and applicable in the Sudan context, and to recommend any adjustments which should be made to the revised policy framework in view of the southern Sudan experience.
This evaluation report is based on a mission to Sudan undertaken between 3 and 20 May 2008. The evaluation team consisted of Mark Duffield (Professor of Development Politics at the University of Bristol, UK) and two UNHCR staff members: Khassim Diagne (Senior Advisor for IDP Operations, Division for Operational Support) and Vicky Tennant (Senior Policy Officer, Policy Development and Evaluation Service). The team visited Khartoum, Damazin and Kurmuk (Blue Nile State), Yambio (Western Equatoria), and Juba, Yei and Kajo Keji (Central Equatoria). As such, the evaluation concentrated on locations where UNHCR has been undertaking reintegration work for some time, rather than current areas of high return such as Eastern Equatoria, to which the focus of the operation has shifted more recently.
The team met with staff from a number of UN agencies (including military and civilian staff of the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS), local and international NGOs, government officials, and held focus group meetings and individual interviews in a number of returnee communities. The team also conducted interviews at UNHCR Headquarters with a wide range of individuals currently or previously associated with the operation. Initial evaluation findings were presented to UNHCR staff in Juba and Khartoum in May 2008 and to UNHCR Headquarters staff on 9 June 2008.