chapter  13
12 Pages

Commentary on the HIID Report

WithMUHAMMAD AL HASAN MUKHTAR AND ABDALLA BABIKIR,

The initial investigation team of HIID (Lester Gordon and Stephen Joseph) concluded that a development program, with foreign assistance, could be initiated to work with the people of Abyei in improving agricultural productivity and ameliorating health problems of rural development in an integrated manner based on the broadest possible local participation, so as to respond to local needs, minimize external cost, and help solve the inherent conflict between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders who use the same areas. They also recommended a follow-up assessment by a combined Harvard-Sudanese team to consider the feasibility of the project and to elaborate its design in terms of specific objectives, external inputs, demands on local administrative capacity and resources, timing, etc. The proposed joint team made a ten-day field trip followed by a number of

meetings in Khartoum, and later submitted a final report around the beginning of March 1977, recommending an urgent program for strengthening the services, a characterization project, and base-line surveys covering natural resources, land use, infrastructure, socioeconomic conditions, and nutrition. In addition, the report discussed issues which were felt to have special importance. The main points of the report are summarized below under their particular headings.