South Sudan Not Ready for Free, Fair Elections Given Failure to Implement Peace Agreement, Human Rights Activist Tells Security Council
Conditions are not yet in place to enable the holding of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2023 in South Sudan, speakers told the Security Council today as members explored ways to address outstanding issues during the remaining 12 months of the three-year transitional period established under the Revitalized Agreement.
“We are tired of sharing the same stories of rape, child marriage, war, trauma and loss,” said Riya William Yuyada, a human rights and peace activist with Crown the Woman, a local feminist non-governmental organization promoting women’s human rights in South Sudan, in her briefing.
After enduring decades of conflict, “the resilience of South Sudanese is fading”, she noted, adding that since the signing in 2018 of the Revitalized Agreement, there has been “limited to no” progress in implementing crucial provisions related to security sector reform, constitutional and electoral reform, judicial reform and transitional justice.
Turning to the elections, she pointed out that there is general agreement among civil society members and citizens that “the ground is not ripe” for free, fair and peaceful elections. The necessary legal and institutional framework is not in place with less than one year before the planned elections, she said, adding that the current insecurity and lack of confidence South Sudanese have, due to the failure to implement the peace agreement, can only have a detrimental impact on the legitimacy of the outcome, which risks further violence.
Therefore, she continued, any UNMISS support to an electoral process must be geared towards ensuring the process is safe, inclusive and in alignment with international standards. The Council must also clarify that UNMISS, within its civilian protection mandate, is expected to ensure the safety and security of all voters, poll workers, candidates and officials, as well as human rights defenders and activists.
Also briefing the Council, Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) noted an “accumulation of unfulfilled commitments and the imperative to address them in the limited time at hand”.
Key pending benchmarks relate to the necessary conducive political and civic space, a secure environment, and technical and logistical prerequisites along with an agreed timetable for a free and fair electoral process to bring the transitional period to a close, he stressed. While UNMISS stands ready to support the electoral process, the Government has not yet pronounced on the Mission’s role, nor on a time frame for the elections, he added.
Charles Tai Gituai, Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), updated the Council on the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, saying that the accord has entered its fourth year, an indication of comparative success, compared with the previous 2015 agreement, which did not hold due to armed conflict that broke out within one year of signing.
He said the Commission has tasked the unity Government to review implementation status and develop a clear road map and strategy on how to complete the outstanding critical tasks before the transitional period ends in 2023. The road map should be consensus-based, with verifiable benchmarks and timelines, he added.
The Commission recommends that the Council actively engage the unity Government to ensure implementation of the critical outstanding tasks, especially the unification of forces and the permanent constitution-making process as both are fundamental to the holding of free, fair and credible elections, he said.
In the ensuing debate, Mexico’s representative concurred that the conditions are not present to hold elections within the timeline, given the lack of progress in security and the drafting of the constitution. The implementation of the peace agreement cannot be selective, he said, emphasizing that efforts must be concentrated on removing existing obstacles.
Members also examined the role of UNMISS ahead of its expected mandate renewal in mid-March, with the representative of the United States arguing that the protection of civilians and accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse must remain a top priority for the Mission.
Her counterpart from the Russian Federation said the Mission’s mandate should be renewed based on the needs of the country and the reality on the ground. In doing so, her delegation considers it counterproductive to focus on human rights and increase pressure on Juba. Instead, the Council should devote more attention to assisting the authorities in the peace agreement implementation and capacity-building for addressing local conflicts.
Albania’s delegate expressed support for the renewal of the UNMISS mandate, which would retain its four pillars, while making some adjustments. It is important to provide a clear mandate for the Mission to support preparations for free and fair elections, at the request of the Government, to increase the promotion of accountability for sexual and gender-based violence and human rights violations and abuses, and to include stronger language about addressing the effects of climate change.
Injecting an African perspective in the discussion, Kenya’s delegate, speaking also for Gabon and Ghana, reiterated the call to lift sanctions — which are counterproductive to the peace efforts and have had the unintended consequences of undermining the country’s potential for economic investments. He expressed hope that the Security Council and all those who have imposed unilateral coercive measures will heed the call by the African Union and IGAD in this regard.
Commending UNMISS and the troop-contributing countries for their work, he said it is essential to provide technical assistance, capacity-building and logistical support to national and local institutions across the four mandated Mission tasks.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Ireland, Brazil, United Kingdom, Norway, China, France, India and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:45 a.m.
NICHOLAS HAYSOM, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said that 22 February 2022 marked the two-year anniversary of the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. During this period, the ceasefire continued to largely hold, and civilian casualties have significantly reduced over the past year. Executive appointments at the national and state levels were concluded. The Transitional National Legislature and Council of States were reconstituted, as were the state parliaments. Key institutions of Government, at national and state levels, are in operation. The cabinet endorsed the permanent constitution-making bill, and a task force was established to operationalize the transitional justice mechanisms of the Revitalized Agreement.
Parliamentary proceedings are now in motion, he noted, adding that South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s recent commitment towards economic and financial management reforms are welcome. He also applauded the launch of the Joint Technical Working Group, where UNMISS, supporting the South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission and other partners, is advancing the design of a community violence reduction project. The project will serve as a bridge until national plans are in place. He also welcomed the decision of the Amum and Malong factions of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance to engage with the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity under the Sant’Egidio-led mediation initiative. He went on to encourage the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance faction led by Thomas Cirillo to join these efforts as the holdout parties also have a responsibility to promote peace in the country. As the remaining 12 months of the transitional period approach, there is still an accumulation of unfulfilled commitments and the imperative to address them in the limited time at hand, he said. Key pending benchmarks relate to the necessary conducive political and civic space, a secure environment, and technical and logistical prerequisites along with an agreed timetable for a free and fair electoral process to bring the transitional period to a close. While UNMISS stands ready to support the electoral process, the Government has not yet pronounced on the Mission’s role, nor on a time frame for the elections.
Critically, the Constitution-Making Process Bill is still pending, and the process of drafting a new constitution for the country remains stalled, he said. Even though the parties remain engaged on the transitional security arrangements, the actual graduation of unified forces is yet to commence, with no agreement on the command structure. Stakeholders agree that the sluggish implementation pace is a cause of disillusionment amongst the people of South Sudan. This worrisome trend has the potential to undermine the peace agreement. “Peace dividends remain elusive,” he underscored, noting that “Nowhere is this more clearly reflected than in the frustration of marginalized youth, many of whom have joined tribal militias.” The dire economic situation and its impact on youth has resulted in a surge in criminality and xenophobic hostility towards humanitarians and peacekeepers.
Subnational violence continues to spread, he noted, adding this includes perennial conflicts, such as in Jonglei and Greater Pibor Administrative Area, and emerging cross-border conflicts in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Upper Nile States, and the Abyei Administrative Area. As briefings from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs demonstrate, in 2022, overall humanitarian needs are projected to continue growing. However, the appetite of donors to furnish additional resources is trending in reverse, he cautioned. Over the last two years, UNMISS has provided an extensive programme of assistance to political parties to facilitate consensus around multiparty electoral policies and alliance-building. UNMISS stands ready to provide technical advice on constitutional and electoral matters, acknowledging that ultimately these are sovereign decisions for the South Sudanese to take. Since 2021, UNMISS has established 200 temporary operating bases to prevent and respond to conflict hotspots, working with humanitarian partners, and leveraging the Mission’s capacities to support political solutions. UNMISS has also enhanced its capabilities by moving away from static, base-centric security tasks. The Mission’s strategic interventions contributed to a 42 per cent decline in civilian casualties over the past year.
CHARLES TAI GITUAI, Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), speaking via video teleconference, said it is the official oversight body mandated to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement. It oversees the mandate and tasks of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, including the adherence by the parties to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule. In July 2016, armed conflict broke out in South Sudan within one year of signing of the 2015 peace agreement, and barely two months after the first coalition Government was formed. By contrast, the 2018 peace agreement has entered its fourth year and the unity Government marked its second anniversary in February, an indication of comparative success.
He said the Revitalized Agreement has contributed significantly to the cessation of violence across the country and continued holding of the permanent ceasefire, the establishment and reconstitution of all pre-transitional institutions and implementation mechanisms of the 2018 accord, and establishment of the transitional Government and state-level Government, among other achievements. However, some critical tasks remain pending, including the establishment of the ad hoc Judicial Reform Committee mandated to study and recommend appropriate judicial reforms to the Unity Government; ratification of eight bills related to security, constitution-making, and political parties; and reconstitution of the Political Parties Council and of a competent and impartial National Elections Commission, as well as amendment of the National Elections Act 2012. The unity Government has yet to establish the three transitional justice mechanisms, namely the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, and the Compensation and Reparation Authority. The permanent constitution-making process to guide the conduct of elections is not complete.
Progress in implementation of the 2018 peace agreement has generally been very slow from the beginning, he continued. His Commission has tasked the unity Government to review the status of the implementation of the agreement and develop a clear road map and strategy on how to implement the outstanding critical tasks before the transitional period ends in 2023. The road map should be consensus-based, with verifiable benchmarks and timelines.
The Commission recommends that the Council actively engages the unity Government to ensure implementation of the critical outstanding tasks, especially the unification of forces and the permanent constitution-making process as both are fundamental to the holding of free, fair and credible elections, he said. The Council must encourage the unity Government to reconcile their inter-party differences and to work collegially in the best interests of South Sudan and its people. The Council should support the unity Government to establish the Special Reconstruction Fund and convene a South Sudan pledging conference to provide aid to conflict-affected states and communities. The Council should also continue supporting the full implementation of the peace agreement and the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. He appealed to the Council to consider visiting the country again, and to continue supporting the Commission in its mandate.
RIYA WILLIAM YUYADA, a human rights and peace activist with Crown the Woman, a local feminist non-governmental organization promoting women’s human rights in South Sudan, spoke via video link from Juba. Since the signing of the 2018 peace agreement, there has been “limited to no” progress in implementing crucial provisions of the accord on security sector reform, constitutional and electoral reform, judicial reform and transitional justice, she said. The exclusionary nature of political and peace efforts at all levels is driving the increased violence. Communities do not feel represented, and there is no accountability for those who misuse their authority. This is a particularly important lesson for the Council to take forward when renewing the UNMISS mandate. “We are tired of sharing the same stories of rape, child marriage, war, trauma and loss,” she said, noting that after enduring decades of conflict, “the resilience of South Sudanese is fading”. To expect the South Sudanese to remain resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other trauma — losing children and loved ones, being displaced from homes, dying from hunger, floods, disease and witnessing the impunity with which sexual violence is committed under the watch of this Council and its Member States — is unacceptable.
Turning to the elections tentatively planned for 2023, she said that there is general agreement among civil society members and citizens that the ground is not ripe for free, fair and peaceful elections. The necessary legal and institutional framework is not in place with less than one year before the planned elections. The current insecurity and lack of confidence South Sudanese have, due to the failure to implement the peace agreement, can only have a detrimental impact on the legitimacy of the outcome, which risks further violence. Any UNMISS support to an electoral process must be geared towards ensuring the process is safe, inclusive, and in alignment with international standards. The Council must also clarify that UNMISS, within its civilian protection mandate, is expected to ensure the safety and security of all voters, poll workers, candidates, and officials, as well as human rights defenders and activists. For proper elections to take place, citizens wish to see that all forces are cantoned and military forces and allied militias are unified under one central command.
Welcoming the Government’s adoption of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces on addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, she deplored that more than a year after its adoption, its implementation does not match the immense suffering and needs of the high numbers of survivors. Alleged perpetrators, often in positions of power, face little to no consequence. The result is that those individuals, who continue to live and work in the community, are free to threaten survivors. Since 2013, countless victims are still waiting for justice. Yet, the Government does not invest in the judicial system, refusing to establish the Hybrid Court enshrined in the peace agreement. The Council must follow-up on its previous call on the Government to improve the judicial system, establish the Hybrid Court and swiftly implement the Revitalized Agreement.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) noted the volatile security situation in South Sudan and said that fighting among various armed actors had led to horrific allegations of human rights abuses. She called on local, state and national leaders to immediately intervene and hold the perpetrators accountable, regardless of affiliation. The protection of civilians and accountability for sexual exploitation and abuse must remain a top priority for UNMISS. The civil society briefer has demanded that the Council deal with this issue and her request must be listened to, she urged. She is appalled by the recent findings of the joint report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNMISS on human rights abuses in Tambura, including the abduction and the killing of at least 44 civilians. The report noted that political and security sector elites instigated and facilitated violence and manipulated ethnic identities. The victims noted in the report were predominantly women and girls. At least 19 of them were publicly sexual assaulted and then brutally killed. One of them was 13 years old. “This Council has to take these kinds of reports seriously,” she warned, noting that “we can’t stay silent, and the region can’t stay silent”. The Government must investigate and hold accountable all those responsible, especially those in positions of authority. She also underscored allegations of abuse by UNMISS personnel, including two that were filed in December 2021. The Government must implement key provisions of the 2018 peace agreement to work towards democracy, including a public constitution drafting process. It is behind in meeting benchmarks and needs to stabilize the legal and institutional framework required to conduct free and fair elections.
ENRIQUE JAVIER OCHOA MARTÍNEZ (Mexico) said that the conditions are not present in South Sudan to hold elections within the timeline, given the lack of progress in security and the drafting of the constitution. In this context, he expressed concern over reports of restrictions of civic space and the restriction of rights such as the freedom of expression and association. It is very difficult to carry out elections if these incidents are taking place, he stressed. The implementation of the peace agreement cannot be selective, and efforts must be concentrated on removing existing obstacles. Although the ceasefire is being maintained, the security situation in the country is deplorable, he said, underscoring that violence has led to tens of thousands of displacements in 2021. Violence also has a direct impact on humanitarian operations, he said, condemning the attack on the World Food Programme (WFP) convoy. Violence is fed by ethnic divisions and economic depression, among other factors, he said.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) welcomed the intention of the South Sudanese authorities to hold elections in 2023. Her delegation trusts that UNMISS can provide necessary electoral assistance upon South Sudan’s request. Welcoming the recent progress on dialogue among the non-signatories of the 2018 peace agreement, she said only the swift and full implementation of the reached agreements will help increase mutual trust among the parties and will prevent the country from repeating the past mistakes. It is critically important to speed up the formation of unified armed forces. Sanctions have never been a solution. Moscow will work constructively on the Mission’s mandate renewal based on the needs of the country and the reality on the ground. In doing so, her delegation considers it counterproductive to focus on human rights and increase pressure on Juba. Instead, she called on the Council to devote more attention to assisting the authorities in the peace agreement implementation and capacity-building for addressing local conflicts.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), welcoming progress in constitution-making, nonetheless voiced regret that implementation of South Sudan’s peace process remains limited. “Overall progress is simply too slow,” she said, adding that reports emanating from Tambura are shocking. “Politicized subnational violence, grave human rights abuses, including the systematic use of sexual violence, are completely unacceptable,” she stressed. Against that backdrop, the role of UNMISS in monitoring and investigating human rights violations remains critical. Lauding the increased deployment of UNMISS Temporary Operating Bases, she voiced regret over the State’s failure to invest time, energy and resources in stemming rights violations and called for unrestricted humanitarian access and the protection of humanitarian workers. She also cited the “undeniable” impact of climate change on peace and security in the country, adding that Ireland proudly funds an UNMISS Climate Security Adviser to identify and address climate-related security risks and support community measures to mitigate such risks and prevent violence.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya), speaking also for Gabon and Ghana, welcomed encouraging steps at this critical juncture — only one year remains of the transition period under the peace agreement on the resolution of the conflict — and urged the non-signatory groups to take the opportunity in the next round of mediation by Sant’Egidio to join the implementation of the peace process. Further efforts are needed to register success during the transition period, he said, urging the leadership of the parties to refocus their efforts and resources to implementation of the remaining items of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. Fundamentally, the engagement and the role of IGAD, the African Union and regional leaders, as well as the support of the United Nations and international partners remains indispensable to the process. Welcoming the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council requesting a trilateral evaluation of the electoral and constitution-making needs for South Sudan, he said elections alone cannot guarantee stability without adequate implementation of the provisions of the peace agreement. In this regard, the proposed South Sudan leaders’ retreat for mutual confidence-building and for the parties to draw a road map for the remainder of the transition period remains critical.
While pleased that the permanent ceasefire has held, he remained seriously concerned by the worrying incidents of ethnic and intercommunal clashes in some parts of the country, adding that the Government of South Sudan has a duty to protect its civilians. Indeed, improvements in the security situation can only be guaranteed through implementation of the transitional arrangements. Deeply concerned by the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in South Sudan, he called for an urgent scaling up of humanitarian support and urged the Government to take appropriate measures to protect aid workers and facilitate unhindered access to all those in need. Reiterating the call to lift sanctions — which are counterproductive to the peace efforts and have had the unintended consequences of undermining the country’s potential for economic investments — he expressed hope that the Security Council and all those who have imposed unilateral coercive measures will heed the call by the African Union and IGAD in this regard. Highlighting the impact of the extreme weather conditions, he said recovery efforts and the development assistance must include drafting strategies on climate change mitigation, adaptation and building resilience. Commending UNMISS and the troop-contributing countries for their work, he said it is essential to provide technical assistance, capacity-building and logistical support to national and local institutions across the four mandated Mission tasks.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) said protection of civilians is a primary responsibility of the South Sudanese authorities, as well as a cornerstone of the UNMISS mandate. Noting that violent incidents against civilians and casualties have decreased, he turned next to the peace process, spotlighting the establishment of the National Legislative Assembly and the approval of a Constitution Amendment Bill as important transitional arrangements. However, implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has been slow, which poses risks. Urging the South Sudanese authorities to move faster towards the unification of its forces and to take advantage of the Mission’s effort and expertise, he echoed other speakers in describing the recent killings in some parts of South Sudan as deeply concerning. Dispute resolution, mediation and good offices will only be truly effective if sound development strategies and fair distribution of resources are in place and palpable to the concerned individuals, he said.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said that as the renewal for the Mission’s mandate approaches, he hopes that it continues to receive the Security Council’s support, particularly considering the upcoming elections. Two years have passed since the formation of the unity Government, he said. Progress remains woefully slow and the human price of these delays should not be forgotten. He expressed concern over the lack of progress on the unification of forces and their redeployment. He went on to echo the Secretary-General’s concern over armed clashes between different armed factions, noting that they perpetuate division when unity is more important than ever. The human rights situation is deeply worrying, he said, underscoring that the crackdown on civic space — including restrictions on freedom of speech and association — are unacceptable. He is extremely concerned by the deeply disturbing reports of sexual violence and violence in Tambura. Noting the urgent humanitarian crisis, he said than an estimated 2 million people will be acutely malnourished in 2022. The Government must remove illegal checkpoints and other bureaucratic impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid, he said.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) expressed support for UNMISS in providing electoral assistance to deliver inclusive and legitimate elections. Although the primary responsibility lies with the Government, all parties must implement the peace agreement, meet the key benchmarks, establish institutions and reforms, unify the command of the armed forces and ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, youth and civil society in all peacebuilding efforts. She also expressed support for the renewal of the UNMISS mandate, maintaining its four pillars, while making some adjustments. It is important to provide a clear mandate for the Mission to support preparations for free and fair elections, at the request of the Government; to increase the promotion of accountability for sexual and gender-based violence and human rights violations and abuses; and to include stronger language about addressing the effects of climate change.
MONA JUUL (Norway) noted that the Revitalized Agreement has not entered its final year. She expressed her deep concern over the situation in South Sudan, cautioning that time is running out if elections are to be held as scheduled. The level of violence in the country remains unacceptably high and humanitarian needs are increasing. Competition for political control and resources between various armed actors is causing fighting throughout the country, including between signatories of the peace agreement. “It is fair to ask if the permanent ceasefire is actually holding,” she said. South Sudan has made some progress recently on public financial management reforms, which are important for addressing the link between economic mismanagement and insecurity across the country. The Government must eliminate avenues for corruption and increase transparency and accountability, especially for oil revenues. Blaming slow implementation of the peace agreement on lack of resources is not convincing, she said. She appreciates the focus of UNMISS on securing the meaningful participation of women in local peace agreements. She called on all parties to end violence at all levels and remains deeply concerned over the humanitarian situation. Violence has increased humanitarian needs and prevents humanitarian actors from delivering assistance. Human rights violations, including sexual exploitation and abuse, is close to breaking up the very fabric of South Sudan.
DAI BING (China) said that South Sudan is confronted with unique challenges in its nation building. The international community should show more patience rather than focus on castigation, he said, noting that it should become a participant and contributor to the peace process. South Sudan’s national legislative bodies have been reconstituted. He called on parties that had not yet signed the peace agreement to do so without delay. Conflict resolution is the wish of the people of South Sudan. The security situation has been generally stable but sectarian conflicts occur from time to time. The causes of these need to be addressed through mediation and development. The formation of the necessary unified forces is not smooth sailing, he said. China has been providing support to the establishment of these forces to the best of its capacity. South Sudan’s humanitarian needs remain high, he said, calling on international partners to increase humanitarian relief efforts, noting that such aid cannot address the root causes. His country has also provided emergency food aid, medical equipment and vaccines.
SHERAZ GASRI (France), welcoming progress in implementing South Sudan’s peace agreement, nevertheless said delays in that process remain worrying as the transition period draws to a close. Noting that the implementation of security arrangements remains unfinished, she said the signatory parties must reach an agreement on the composition of a unified command and finalize the training of combatants, each of which are essential for the holding of elections and reviewing the country’s arms embargo. A constitutional and legal framework for elections should be put in place and the national electoral commission operationalized, and the rights of expression and peaceful assembly must be guaranteed. Noting that UNMISS, IGAD and the African Union should help in elections preparations, she added that the South Sudanese authorities must demonstrate the political will to prioritize unity. France stands ready to strengthen the technical assistance mandate of UNMISS, provided that the objectives laid out by the Council are met by the Government, she said, also condemning clashes between the peace agreement’s signatory parties and attacks against humanitarian and medical personnel.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India), noting positive developments in South Sudan, stressed the need to focus on further expediting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, particularly graduation and unification of the Necessary Unified Forces and addressing legislative issues concerning election preparations. Pointing to continued intercommunal and intracommunal violence, he noted that the 2021 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan has been underfunded, calling on the international community to step in to bridge the resource and capacity gaps faced by the Government. Noting positive developments with regards to the facilitation of the operations of UNMISS, he also acknowledged the Mission’s efforts to support rule of law and accountable institutions by supporting special courts, mobile courts and development of framework for victim and witness protection programmes. India has been one of the largest troop-contributing countries to UNMISS since its establishment and contributed to the sustainable development and welfare of the people of South Sudan, he said, adding that it has been providing humanitarian assistance there, including life-saving essential medicines and food assistance during the pandemic.
AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates), Council President for March, spoke in her national capacity, stressing that the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement remains the basis for achieving stability, peace, development and unity in South Sudan. Expressing hope for enhanced women’s participation in the peace process, with the aim of reaching the 35 per cent target, she also welcomed the constructive role of regional and international partners, especially IGAD and the United Nations, in mediation efforts. Greater focus should also be placed on protecting civilians, including women and children, who are subjected to violence such as sexual violence and sexual gender-based violence. Further, her delegation is concerned by the growing repercussions of climate change, especially on the humanitarian and security situations, and looks forward to continued efforts between UNMISS and the United Nations country team towards responding to climate and security challenges. In that regard, she commended the collaboration between the Government and UNMISS on leveraging renewable energy for the benefit of local communities.