Debate on General Issues Relating to the Secretary Generals Report on South Sudan
BRIEFING BY THE SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN(UNMISS) AND THE OCHA DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
I have the honour to read this statement on behalf of members of the A-3, namely Gabon, Kenya, and my country Ghana. At the outset, we wish to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report contained in document S/2022/468 and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative ((SRSG) to South Sudan, Mr. Nicholas Haysom, for his very useful insights on the situation in South Sudan. The A-3 further welcomes the additional briefings by the OCHA Director of Operations ad interim, Ms. Ghada Mudawi, and Ms. Merekaje Lorna Nanjia, Secretary General of South Sudan Democratic Engagement, Monitoring and Observation Programme (SSuDEMOP). We also welcome our brother, the Permanent Representative of South Sudan to this meeting.
The A3’s statement on this agenda item will focus on three issues, namely, the political, security and humanitarian situations in South Sudan, and then conclude by highlighting some important issues for the consideration of Members of the Council. First, in respect of the political situation in South Sudan, the A3 commends the efforts and achievements of the South Sudanese government in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, notably, the implementation of Phase I of the process of forming the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) with approximately 50, 000 trainees, the agreement on the command-and-control structure of the army, the opening of humanitarian corridors which has facilitated a gradual voluntary return of about half a million refugees and IDPs and the development of an action plan for the commencement of public consultations on the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing, among others. The A3 will like to further commend the recent visit by the AU High-Level Committee on South Sudan (or AU C5) from 1st to 4th June 2022. This visit paved the way for some open discussions with the Presidency, legislative leadership, political parties, the National Electoral Commission, the National Constitutional Review Commission, the African and international diplomatic communities, the UN, the EU, the Troika (the US, UK, and Norway) and civil society. To the A3, this visit was significant as it sets the ground for South Sudan to consolidate peace and democracy, flowing from the open discussions held and which brought to the fore the successes and challenges facing the Revitalized Agreement.
We continue to urge all parties to remain committed to the Revitalized Agreement and commend, President Salva Kiir and 1st Vice President Dr. Riek Machar for the consistent reiteration of their positions that the country will not return to conflict. We call on all other parties that are non-signatory to the agreement to demonstrate their commitments toward peace and reiterate our call to the parties to urgently resume peace talks under the facilitation of the Community of Saint Egidio. The A3 calls the Council’s attention to the challenges confronting the
implementation of the remaining benchmarks of the Peace Agreement, especially the few remaining months of the transition. We call on the government and all political leaders to place the overall interest of the people of South Sudan at the heart of their discussions and decisions. We urge the parties to have an inclusive dialogue and forge consensus on a roadmap for the remaining of the transition period, including the conduct of elections. South Sudan will need international financial support in that regard to be able to implement the agreement’s mechanism since its economy has been affected by prolonged flooding and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We call on the AU, IGAD, the UN and other bilateral and multilateral partners, including the Troika countries, China, and the IGAD Partners Forum, not to relent but to continue to extend the necessary assistance, supporting the activities of the implementation oversight mechanisms and encourage the parties to make progress on the aspects lagging behind. On the security situation in South Sudan, the A3 notes with concern the surge in communal violence. We call on all the parties to these conflicts to desist from any actions that will disturb the peace. We urge the Government of South Sudan and leaders at all levels to institute measures to address these inter-communal conflicts, including peace dialogues to address any existing grievances between communities. We commend UNMISS for its role in the protection of civilians, and in conducting key leadership engagements in Jonglei, Greater Pibor Administrative Area, and Juba including facilitating the visit of a delegation of influential Juba-based Dinka Bor leaders to Gadiang in Jonglei State from 25th to 28th March. We believe that such engagements help to build trust between communities at the grassroots which is vital for the peace process.
With regards to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the A3 expresses grave concern about the decision of the United Nations World Food Programme to suspend some food aid to South Sudan due to funding shortage. The suspension of food aid will lead to a third of 6.2 million people in South Sudan, who were to receive assistance this year, being denied food aid. Climate change is also exacerbating the humanitarian situation, with South Sudan facing severe flooding, localized drought and effects of the conflict that has left a large population being food insecure. The situation in South Sudan has been summed up by the WFP’s acting country director in South Sudan, Adeyinka Badejo-Sanogo, who said: [quote] “South Sudan is facing its hungriest year since independence. We are already in a crisis, but we are trying to avert the situation from becoming more explosive” [unquote]. The international community should not allow this young nation to face an explosive situation that could break its core and accordingly the A3 calls on all to support the people of South Sudan to overcome this humanitarian crisis through adequate funding
of its appeal.
Beyond the immediate provision of food aid, it is important for the international community to increase its development assistance for the country. The much-needed reforms to help diversify the country’s economy, promote agriculture and food security, as well as infrastructure development will require significant international resource support. We further urge South Sudan to take advantage of the opportunity and begin the engagement with the UN Peacebuilding Commission.
The A3 would like to conclude by highlighting the following three points for the attention of Council members and other Member States:
i. to enable the Government to follow through with the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, it is important that the international community provides the needed assistance both financial and technical for the purpose of equipping the NUF to enhance the protection to civilians,
ii. we urge the SRSG, the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, the head of the AU Mission in South Sudan, and the interim chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to continue to offer their good offices to encourage the parties to draft a mutually acceptable roadmap towards the next elections,
iii. further, the SRSG, the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, the head of the AU Mission in South Sudan, and the interim chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission should continue with their efforts to engage the South Sudanese authorities and all relevant stakeholders including the civil society and women organizations to address the surge in
intercommunal violence since some of such conflicts start from the grassroots.
Finally, we would like to join the Secretary-General in conveying our deep appreciation to the troop and police-contributing countries, SRSG Haysom, and uniformed and civilian personnel of UNMISS for continuing to work tirelessly towards peace in South
I thank you, Mr. President.