Mitigating conflict around natural resources in Abyei (South Sudan/the Sudan)

Mitigating conflict around natural resources in Abyei (South Sudan/the Sudan)


Between 2015 and 2017, FAO worked with tribal communities in the Abyei Administrative Area to reduce the risk of resource-based conflicts and strengthen resilience through dialogue and negotiation. The area is a contested zone on the border between South Sudan and the Sudan.

While both the Dinka Ngok (affiliated with South Sudan) and the Missiriya (affiliated with the Sudan) tribes had long shared grazing land, pastureland and water in the area peacefully, conflicts between the two communities over natural resources became more frequent in recent years.

One concern both tribes share is the health of their livestock – a crucial source of livelihoods and the main asset of many families. FAO’s livestock vaccination campaigns served as an entry point to engage the communities in dialogue on better ways to share land and water.

This contributed to an official peace agreement between the tribes, signed in March 2016. They have since successfully worked to diffuse tension and live together harmoniously. The peace agreement also led to the establishment of a shared market in the heart of the demilitarized zone, facilitating trade and livelihoods, and leading to food price decreases.

FAO’s agricultural livelihoods support for livestock, vegetable and fisheries production started in 2015 in each of the communities. It culminated in 2016–2017 in cross-community engagement. In 2017, a third and final vaccination campaign protected 118 000 cattle against haemorrhagic septicaemia, black leg and anthrax, and 215 600 small ruminants against peste des petits ruminants, contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, and sheep and goat pox.

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