The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Peace Initiative on Sudan appears to be on the verge of achieving what other efforts and processes have failed to do in more than twenty years, namely reaching a signed peace agreement between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the Government of Sudan (GoS). In the euphoria surrounding this anticipated event, however, it must be cautioned that the country is broken. The task of physical reconstruction is enormous while the transitional period will be long and will throw up many problems. In every corner of the country, groups and regions are demanding that their grievances be addressed.
In overcoming the first, and arguably most crucial, hurdle of a signed peace agreement, the expectations placed on IGAD by the international community, donors and the Sudanese people to successfully oversee the transitional period, the holding of a vote on self-determination for southern Sudan, and the creation of viable and democratic governments in both south and north Sudan, will be extremely high. There can be no ready-made formula for the way forward. While this paper will emphasise the accomplishments of the IGAD peace process that must serve as a base for the way forward, the tasks of the post-conflict stage are markedly different and demand a different approach than that which proved successful during the first stage. In particular, it will require a shift from the elitism and exclusivity that characterised the first stage to a process informed by transparency and a commitment to democracy.