This briefing paper presents a historical case study on Kokora, a word associated with the decentralization policy enacted in southern Sudan in 1983. The policy divided the semi-autonomous Southern Region in Sudan, into three smaller administrative regions. While the events took place over three decades ago, they continue to influence the current political debates, especially on highly contested topics of federalism and decentralization.

This paper does not focus on federalism and decentralization, and does not take a position in these debates. Rather, this report gives a historical overview of the events of Kokora, and investigates how these have been experienced in South Sudan. In doing so, it aims to contribute to a better understanding of the events and the different narratives thereof, and to support an open dialogue about the lessons that can be learned.