International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and its neighbours in Paris

3 May 2024 by The Water Diplomat

One year after the commencement of the conflict in Sudan, France, Germany and the European Union organised an international humanitarian conference for Sudan and neighbouring countries. This conference brought together ministers and representatives of 58 States as well as donor agencies, United Nations agencies, regional organisations and humanitarian organisations. The meeting was held both to call on the warring parties to put an end to the hostilities and to mobilise the funding required for the humanitarian response in Sudan and neighbouring countries.

Sudan has the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world globally: the figure currently stands at 9 million, 6.8 million of whom were displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict.  Neighbouring countries have received an influx of an additional 2 million people. 

Humanitarian organisations had estimated the costs of assistance to Sudan and neighbouring countries at U.S. $ 4.1 billion. During the conference, the joint pledge of donor organisations amounted to U.S. $ 2 billion. A total of 33 announcements of financial commitments were made at the conference, with a U.S. $ 511 million pledge from the World Bank, U.S. $ 354 million from the European Union and a large number of bilateral commitments from countries across Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United States.

In November 2023, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) for Sudan completed a humanitarian needs and response plan which estimated that some 9 million people – including refugees in South Sudan – will experience critical needs in 2024. The HCT aims to support 6 million of these people, depending on the resources available to do so. At the time of the development of the response plan, it was estimated that U.S. $ 1.8 billion would be needed to provide this support. 

The needs and response plan estimated that a total of 5.6 million people are in need of water supplies and sanitation services across the region (including refugees in neighbouring countries), of which 2.6 million were being targeted for humanitarian assistance as of November 2023.  Malnutrition rates are high with more than 7 million people in need of assistance, of which 2.5 million women and children are at risk of acute malnutrition in 2024 – a situation aggravated by poor water and sanitation conditions. In South Sudan, only 35 per cent of the population have access to potable water while about 60 per cent of people practice open defecation, risking contamination of water sources.