South Sudan Recommits to Revitalized Peace Agreement with 24-Month Extension, Security Council Emphasizes, Urging Country to Avoid Further Delays
Members Express Dismay at Continued Violence, Hunger, Record Displacement, Climate Change Effects in Country
The current year will be a “make-or-break” one for South Sudan, marking the start of a recent — and singular — 24-month extension of its transition process, United Nations officials told the Security Council today, warning against any further delays in implementing the young nation’s Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said the Transitional Government recently recommitted to implementing the 2018 Peace Agreement — known officially as the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Noting the Government’s promise that there will be no further extensions, he welcomed strides made to date, while also acknowledging some “slippage” against expected timelines. Several hurdles must be cleared to complete the final phase of implementation in 2024, he said, citing the need to draft a new constitution and fast-track preparations for the nation’s first-ever elections.
Confirming that the United Nations has received a request from the Transitional Government to support the electoral process, he said creating an environment conducive to voting is among several key UNMISS priorities. Another is helping to expand South Sudan’s civic and political space, which constitutes a “finishing line” by which the credibility of the electoral process will be judged and a democratic State can take root. There is also an urgent need to support the consolidation, strengthening and deployment of the country’s Necessary Unified Forces, and tackle inter-communal violence erupting in several parts of the country. It will also be crucial to address South Sudan’s deteriorating and underfunded humanitarian situation, in which aid workers continue to grapple with insecurity, criminality, operational interference and attacks, he said.
Briefing on the humanitarian dimension was Tareq Talahma, Acting Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Operations and Advocacy Division, who said the situation in South Sudan has worsened since his last briefing to the Council, in June 2022. Violence, displacement, hunger and climate-related shocks are among the drivers of massive humanitarian need, he said, noting that a record 9.4 million people — 76 per cent of the country’s population — are likely to require aid in 2023. Nearly 8 million people will face crisis levels of acute food insecurity during the April-June lean season.
Meanwhile, he said, armed conflict and intercommunal violence continue to serve as main causes of displacement and food insecurity. While the United Nations and its humanitarian partners reached 5 million people in 2022, even more needs to be done in 2023, he said, pointing out that this year’s $1.7 billion Humanitarian Response Plan currently stands at only 3.5 per cent funded. Against that backdrop, he drew attention to the selection of South Sudan as a pilot country in the Secretary-General’s newly launched Action Agenda on Internal Displacement, emphasizing that the project offers a unique opportunity for sustainable solutions.
As Council members took the floor to share their views, many praised the work of UNMISS amid extremely challenging circumstances, while expressing grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan. Some speakers welcomed the recent holding of the first-of-its-kind International Conference on Women’s Transformative Leadership in Juba, as well as a landmark visit to South Sudan by Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church. In addition, some delegates raised concerns about the impacts of climate change on the country’s humanitarian and security situations, while others warned against further expanding the UNMISS mandate.
The representative of Switzerland was among speakers who said South Sudan has now entered a decisive phase of its transition. “The expectations of the population must not be disappointed,” he stressed, noting the need to meet two key milestones — namely, drafting the constitution, and holding the country’s first-ever elections. He encouraged the parties to adhere to all deadlines set out in the roadmap agreed in 2022, which extended the transition period by 24 months, to establish institutions and to protect the country’s political and civic space. He also voiced concern over the recent escalation of violence in some parts of the country and worsening humanitarian crisis, which he stressed is compounded and exacerbated by the effects of climate change.
Mozambique’s representative, also speaking on behalf of the two other African Council members, Gabon and Ghana, spotlighted progress made in consolidating South Sudan’s State-building process. Praising regional efforts in support of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, he welcomed recent calls by South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, for all parties to refrain from violence. He welcomed the adoption of important new pieces of legislation, including laws that will help pave the way for political stability, while expressing concern that humanitarian challenges will further hinder national reconciliation. In addition, he underscored the need for funding to help South Sudan implement all aspects of the Peace Agreement.
The representative of Ecuador, praising the work of UNMISS, expressed his hope that South Sudan’s first-ever elections will take place peacefully and without further delay. The current phase of the country’s transition requires full inclusivity, he stressed, calling on the Government to achieve the minimum quota of 35 per cent for women in transitional and executive bodies. He also voiced concern over attacks, intimidation, obstacles and other impediments to the work of civil society actors, while calling for the establishment of a hybrid tribunal in South Sudan to hold accountable the perpetrators of international law violations.
China’s delegate underscored the urgent need to implement the Revitalized Peace Agreement and benchmarks set out by the extended roadmap, calling on the international community to offer support through tangible action. Taking note of the Government’s request to the United Nations for election assistance, he voiced support for more targeted support, while calling for the immediate lifting of Council-imposed sanctions that are impeding South Sudan’s capacity to protect civilians. Ahead of the renewal of the UNMISS mandate — expected later this month — he called for realistic arrangements, pointing out that the mandate is currently expanding in ways that may exceed the Mission’s competence and undermine the Government’s trust.
Also participating was the representative of South Sudan, who said his country’s people are currently grappling with the severe impacts of climate change — namely, an unprecedented combination of floods and droughts, which are devastating crop yields and animal husbandry in rural areas. “Without prompt action from both the Government and the global community […] some regions may face a famine crisis,” he warned, noting that indicators already reveal impending signs of starvation. While the 24-month extension of South Sudan’s transition period began just 10 days ago, political differences have already arisen between several signatories, he said, calling for regional and international partners to step in. “We remain hopeful that South Sudan can move forward towards a brighter future and build upon the progress already made,” he concluded.
Also speaking were representatives of the United States, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Brazil, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France and Albania.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:48 a.m.
NICHOLAS HAYSOM, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said South Sudan’s Transitional Government recently and publicly recommitted to implementing the country’s Revitalized Peace Agreement in line with the timeline set out in the roadmap, adding that there will be no further extensions. Welcoming that commitment as well as strides made in implementing the Peace Agreement to date, he nevertheless noted some slippage, emphasizing that 2023 is a “make-or-break year, and a test for all parties to the Peace Agreement”. Several hurdles must be cleared to complete the final phase of implementation in 2024, he said, spotlighting the need to draft a new constitution through an inclusive process that gives a voice to all South Sudanese, including internally displaced persons, women and youth. In addition, there is an urgent need to reconstitute the Constitution Drafting Committee, and for Parliament to finally end its lengthy recess.
Confirming that the United Nations has received a request from the Transitional Government to support the electoral process, he said there is a need to fast-track all preparatory work immediately. He called in particular for the finalization of a legal framework for elections and for the reconstitution and funding of a national elections commission. “Key electoral choices must be determined soon,” he stressed, noting that they cannot be shelved until 2024. United Nations electoral support will first focus on creating the appropriate architecture and environment for elections, after which options for more concrete electoral support and assistance can be decided. Another key priority for UNMISS is the expansion of South Sudan’s civic and political space, which constitutes a “finishing line” by which the credibility of the electoral process will be judged and a democratic State can take root.
Spotlighting the outcome of the recently convened International Conference on Women’s Transformative Leadership in Juba and noting the visit by Pope Francis, he said those international efforts echo critical messages in support of tolerance, peace and reconciliation. Turning to the security situation, he spotlighted the urgent need for progress in the consolidation, strengthening and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces. Welcoming the completion of Phase I of that process, he said the Unified Forces must be able to achieve their mandate to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and their assets. “The Necessary Unified Forces can either be an asset or a liability during the transition,” he said, noting that the first challenge is to tackle violence erupting in some parts of the country, including Jonglei, Upper Nile State, the Equatorias and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, as well as areas adjacent to Abyei — all of which increasingly reflect conflict of an inter-ethnic or tribal nature.
He went on to note troubling increases in the use of gender-based violence as a weapon of war, while also voicing deep concern over South Sudan’s economic and humanitarian challenges — the latter of which is caused by climate shocks and conflict. In 2023, it is estimated that more than two thirds of the country’s population will require humanitarian assistance and protection. The United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan is requesting $1.7 billion, which is regrettably only funded at 3 per cent so far. Meanwhile, he said, humanitarian personnel on the ground continue to face insecurity, criminality, operational interference and attacks. More broadly, South Sudan remains challenged by the need to secure financing to implement the Peace Agreement, he said, noting that the international community “would likely be more forthcoming in assisting South Sudan were it to demonstrate political will demonstrable progress in the implementation of the [Peace Agreement] and a visible contribution of its own resources to the task”.
Turning finally to UNMISS itself, he said the four pillars of its mandate remain valid, and the protection of civilians remains the “heartbeat” of the Mission. UNMISS takes seriously its responsibility to continue considering whether it is fit for its purpose, including whether it needs to strengthen its troop deployment. He also noted his request that Headquarters conduct a capability study to assess the Mission’s ability to adequately protect civilians and support implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. Against the present backdrop, the Transitional Government is now facing a stark choice. It can either embark on a path of mutual cooperation and reconciliation, or it can “take a low road”, which privileges self-interest and conflict, he said, expressing hope that it will “make the most of this fast-closing opportunity”.
TAREQ TALAHMA, Acting Director, Operations and Advocacy Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said South Sudan’s humanitarian situation has worsened since his briefing to the Council last June, with violence, displacement, hunger, and climate-related shocks as well as public health challenges driving humanitarian needs. As a result, a record 9.4 million people — 76 per cent of South Sudan’s population, are likely in need of humanitarian assistance this year, representing a 5 per cent increase over last year. Food security assessments project that an estimated 7.8 million people will face crisis levels of acute food insecurity during the April-June lean season, with 43,000 people likely to be in catastrophe/IPC Phase 5 (highest phase of famine classification) in Jonglei and Unity states. As a result, numbers of the malnourished and severely food-insecure have reached a record high, surpassing what was seen during the conflict in 2013-2016, he added.
Violence continues to be among the main drivers of displacement and food insecurity, with armed conflict and intercommunal violence recorded across the country, he continued, calling for sustainable solutions for affected people to return, integrate or move, as determined by themselves. In this regard, he spotlighted the good example represented by Western Bahr el Ghazal State, whose Governor devised a four-year strategic development plan to support conflict and disaster-affected communities, aligned with the Government’s strategic development plan. Further, the launch of the Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement and the selection of South Sudan as a pilot country offers an opportunity to reinforce sustainable solution mechanisms. He went on to express sadness over the killing of three aid workers in South Sudan in January, pointing out that the country remains one of the most dangerous places for aid workers, with nine losing their lives in 2022. Nonetheless, humanitarian partners reached 5 million people in 2022, he added, underscoring the need for early release of funds to support early action to enable interventions ahead of predicted shocks, to safeguard lives and assets.
More needs to be done in 2023, he said, pointing out that only 3.5 per cent of this year’s Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.7 billion to reach 6.8 million of the most vulnerable people, has been funded. In conclusion, he urged all actors to ensure the de-escalation of violence, and to uphold their commitments to protect civilians and civilian assets. Safe, unhindered humanitarian access must be provided, as well as international access for South Sudan, to help address the drivers of protracted crisis and needs in the country. Finally, he underscored the important role played by the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund and Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), pointing out that in 2022, the latter’s emergency relief coordinator approved $54 million for South Sudan, making the country the largest recipient of its allocations globally, adding that flexible, unearmarked and early funding will help meet the country’s formidable needs.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) expressed concern over the rise of violence in South Sudan during the reporting period, when, compared to 2022, killings of civilians increased by 79 per cent; civilians harmed by 87 per cent; abductions of women and children by 464 per cent; and conflict-related sexual violence escalated by 360 per cent. Reiterating that transitional leaders bear responsibility to end subnational violence and ensure accountability, he said the Government has failed to uphold its primary responsibility. Underscoring the importance of UNMISS’ freedom of movement, he urged the Mission to deploy peacekeepers to areas of violence irrespective of local or national authorities’ approval. On the humanitarian situation, he strongly called on the Government to facilitate access throughout the country. The year 2023 will be critical for South Sudanese leaders to uphold commitments on implementing the Peace Agreement, he added. Recognizing the Government’s request for UNMISS’ support for elections, he underscored that civic space must be expanded and conditions for inclusive participation created. The Transitional Government reported $1.6 billion in oil revenue in 2022, he said, noting that it fails to allocate those resources to address humanitarian needs. He urged officials to dedicate more oil revenue to and facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), praising the work of UNMISS, expressed his hope that South Sudan’s first-ever elections will take place peacefully and without further delay. The current phase of the country’s transition requires full inclusivity, he stressed, calling on the Government to achieve the minimum quota of 35 per cent for women in transitional and executive bodies. He welcomed the holding of the first International Conference on Women’s Transformative Leadership, calling for its outcomes to be mainstreamed across South Sudan’s peace and security nexus. He also voiced concern over attacks, intimidation, obstacles and other impediments to the work of civil society actors, while condemning child abductions, extrajudicial killings and other abuses, which have been reported recently. Those cannot go unpunished, he stressed, advocating for the establishment of a Hybrid Tribunal to hold all perpetrators accountable. In addition, South Sudan must implement the Plan of Action signed with the United Nations in 2020 to protect the rights of children, he said.
AMEIRAH ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) pointed out that South Sudan’s security situation must be addressed to reach peace endeavours. Condemning the kidnapping of women and children and violence against humanitarian workers, she said levels of violence in 2023 have decreased due to security procedures and increased patrols by UNMISS. Stressing that peace cannot be maintained in an environment of violence stemming from ethnic affiliation and competition for resources, she urged that national interests be placed above other considerations. Emphasizing the importance of regional and international organizations in developing mechanisms to support the country, she expressed hope that the African Union Peace and Security Council's recent visit will help South Sudan complete its transition period. Affirming the need to involve youth and women in political discussions, she welcomed the first International Conference on Women, Peace, and Security held in Juba. Underscoring the need to understand the linkages between climate and security, including tools to address them, she said her country is keen to discuss the matter in relevant forums — as co-chair of the Council’s Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security, incoming president of 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or in the context of the UNMISS mandate renewal negotiations.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland) said that, with implementation of the Peace Agreement’s roadmap, South Sudan has entered a decisive phase of its transition. “The expectations of the population must not be disappointed,” he stressed, noting the need to meet two key milestones — drafting of the constitution and holding of a first election since the country’s independence. Spotlighting recent progress achieved, including on a law that paves the way for next steps in the constitution-making process, he encouraged the parties to adhere to deadlines set out in the roadmap, establish institutions it provides for and protect the country’s political and civic space. Voicing concern about the resumption of armed conflict and the escalation of violence in several parts of the country, he called on the parties to respect international law, while also expressing concern about South Sudan’s worsening humanitarian crisis, which is compounded and exacerbated by the effects of climate change. In that regard, he urged the Government, with the support of UNMISS, to address those challenges through joint climate-sensitive analysis and programming.
FRANCESCA MARIA GATT (Malta) underscored the importance of progress in implementing South Sudan’s Revitalised Peace Agreement and called for conclusion of the transitional period without any additional delays. She welcomed progress made on the Constitution Making Process Bill and preparations towards national elections in 2024, as well as the recent graduation of the Unified Forces. Political will and commitment must be consolidated, with all parties to the peace agreement uniting to address deficiencies that might jeopardise implementation. Turning to women and civil society, she noted that the Council has been briefed by women from civil society in South Sudan six times over the past two years, sharing their frustration with the pace of reforms, unmet quotas for women’s political participation, and high levels of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and urging South Sudan to ensure that civil society organisations are safe and respected. She went on to express alarm over the security situation, with civilians bearing the brunt of violence, noting that three humanitarian workers have been killed on duty this year. She condemned these killings, destruction of livelihoods, and sexual and gender-based violence, calling for justice and accountability. Against this backdrop, she welcomed the creation of the country’s first Gender-Based Violence and Juvenile Court in 2020 and called for the immediate implementation of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces and Police on addressing conflict-related sexual violence. Further, she voiced concern that up to 77 verified grave violations have been committed against children. Turning to climate change impacts in South Sudan, including an unprecedented four years of flooding, she voiced concern that climate-induced loss and forced migration of livestock have become major drivers of intercommunal conflict, expressing support for UNMISS’ call to facilitate dialogue and peaceful coexistence between farmers and pastoralists.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) underscored the importance of UNMISS, which has been critical to South Sudan for almost as long as the country has been independent. Acknowledging challenges it faces and noting South Sudan’s request to the United Nations for assistance ahead of the 2024 elections, he expressed hope that the Mission will provide the requisite support to this end. However, the Transitional Government and all major South Sudanese stakeholders must take important steps to ensure a conducive environment for the electoral process. South Sudanese projects and leaders will benefit from the growing involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission, which already supports essential projects in the country. He went on to voice concern about the worsening humanitarian situation, adding that Brazil is committed to taking part in solutions to respond to the food insecurity emergency in the country. Further, he underscored the need to create conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and deplored attacks that have killed humanitarian workers in the line of duty.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) said that, as a troop-contributing nation, his country stands committed to UNMISS’ continued deployment. It remains crucial to implement outstanding elements of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, in line with timelines established in its adopted roadmap, as the basis for sustained peace in South Sudan. Commending progress made to date in implementing some aspects of the Agreement, including the building of the Necessary Unified Forces and ongoing preparations on key draft legislation, he encouraged the Transitional Government to implement the roadmap inclusively and ensure the full participation of women and youth. He voiced grave concern over the high level of human rights violations and abuses, spotlighting the widespread proliferation of arms and weapons in South Sudan, and emphasized that the arms embargo must be properly observed. South Sudanese authorities should make further efforts to achieve benchmarks, allowing the embargo to be lifted as soon as possible, he said, also calling for full and unimpeded humanitarian access and the protection of humanitarian staff and resources from attacks, threats and looting.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said South Sudanese authorities have made major strides over recent months, including by enacting critical laws and launching preparations for elections planned for 2024. Nevertheless, she voiced concern over some lagging in the country’s agreed timeframe, and said the decision to extend the transition period to 2025 is the right one. Progress in reconstituting and deploying the Unified Forces is crucial, she said, noting the completion of Phase I of that process, while expressing concern that the launch of Phase II continues to falter. She expressed concern over surging violence and intercommunal clashes in some parts of the country, strongly condemning violence against civilians or humanitarian workers, but noted Government efforts to address them. She further praised regional efforts in support of South Sudan and the work of UNMISS, urging the Mission’s personnel to provide electoral support as requested by the Transitional Government. With regard to the renewal of UNMISS’ mandate, she underlined the need for a balanced resolution that reflects the views of all Council members and, most importantly, the wishes of the people of South Sudan.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) endorsed calls on the South Sudanese Government to stop violence, end corruption, and deliver basic services to the people. Commending progress on the Constitution Making Process Bill and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, he underscored the importance of implementing the laws, calling on the Government to reconstitute the Political Parties Council and adopt the National Elections Act. Expressing concern about the escalation of subnational conflict, he said failure to implement the Peace Agreement is driving humanitarian suffering. Noting that UNMISS personnel are being intimidated by armed groups across the country, he called on authorities to respect the Status of Forces Agreement and ensure accountability. Reiterating a call to remove constraints on humanitarian access, he urged the Government to address theft of humanitarian resources. “It is imperative that safe, unimpeded help can reach the most vulnerable”, he emphasized.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) recognized progress achieved in implementing South Sudan’s Revitalized Peace Agreement, citing several significant strides. “We must speed up the implementation of the roadmap, in order to make the possibility of elections by December 2024 credible,” she said, welcoming the Transitional Government’s request for UNMISS support to that end. It is also urgent to stabilize the security situation, she said, warning that the electoral process may well spark new violence. Reintegrating former combatants, reconstituting the Unified Forces is critical, she said, adding that the country’s security forces and all actors in the region should work to end violence. “The end of the transition must not be an end in itself,” she said, calling for upstream efforts to bolster the rule of law, restore State legitimacy and reduce violence. Those actions must not be delayed, or they will only fuel disappointment, she cautioned.
DAI BING (China) welcomed key legislative steps by South Sudan, such as the Constitution-making process bill and graduation of the first batch of elements of the Unified Forces. As well, he welcomed ratification of four conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adding that such steps are vital in improving the country’s governance structure and paving the way for a smooth electoral process. He underscored the urgent need to implement the Revitalized Peace Agreement and benchmarks set out by the roadmap, calling on the international community to support the country through tangible action. UNMISS, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) play a vital role in the country’s peace process, said, taking note of the Government of Sudan’s request to the United Nations for election assistance and voicing support for a more targeted support program to be agreed in this regard. Further, he called on the international community to lend support to the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism to ensure their continued smooth functioning. On the security and humanitarian front, which is worrying due to escalating violence across many regions, including Jonglei and Upper Nile states, he called on all parties to cease hostilities and settle their differences through negotiation. Emphasizing the role of the Government in maintaining security, with the international community’s assistance in security sector reform, he called for the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed by the Council on the country, which impede its capacity to protect civilians. Ahead of the renewal of the mandate of UNMISS, he called for realistic arrangements to be set out in the draft resolution, as its mandate is currently expanding in ways that may exceed its competence and also undermine the trust of the Government.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) said that timely implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and the roadmap remain crucial during the extension of South Sudan’s transition period. Calling on all parties to redouble their efforts to implement outstanding benchmarks — which are long overdue — she welcomed recent strides, while adding that sustained momentum is needed to build upon them. The Government’s request for UNMISS assistance for the preparation of elections is a welcome step. However, the parties must create conditions conducive for inclusive and credible elections with broad political consensus and the inclusion of women, youth and civil society. She joined other speakers in voicing deep concern about the security situation and increased violence in some parts of the country, which have displaced thousands. The alarming increase in conflict-related sexual violence and large-scale abductions of women and children clearly show the need for protection of civilians to remain a key priority for the Government and the Mission, she added, calling on the former to tackle human rights violations and hold perpetrators to account. The Council should ensure that UNMISS has a robust mandate, in particular to protect civilians, she stressed.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique), Security Council President for March, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, recognized progress made in consolidating the State-building process in South Sudan, cognizant of its complexities. Welcoming the role of the Trilateral Taskforce in enhancing awareness of the roadmap and Revitalized Peace Agreement, he recalled the appeal of South Sudan President Salva Kiir to refrain from violence and embrace joint synergies. Commending the adoption of relevant legislation, he said it will pave the way towards political stability. Against this backdrop, he expressed concern over the security situation, noting that it will hinder the national reconciliation process and aggravate economic and humanitarian challenges. Urging the South Sudanese people to remain committed to the Agreement’s implementation, he encouraged them to take stock of Pope Francis’ visit. On the humanitarian track, he reiterated that the Horn of Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change consequences and called for international support. Welcoming all initiatives from different sources, he urged the authorities to collaborate with humanitarian workers and secure their working environment.
Underscoring that inclusion of youth and women in the peace process will yield the desired results and bring more cohesion among communities, he encouraged political and civil society leaders to promote their participation. Expressing concern over technical, financial and resource challenges, he outlined the importance of financial support for implementation of the roadmap and Peace Agreement. The continued support, he said, will allow the country to create the command-and-control structure of the army, redeployment and logistics. Spotlighting the importance of the Necessary Unified Forces training for Phase I, which involved nearly 50,000 trainees, he expressed hope that the process will soon move to Phase II. The peace implementation process must continue to be fully representational of the spectrum of South Sudanese populations, including all regions of the country, political affiliations, women, youth, and civil society, he emphasized.
AKUEI BONA MALWAL (South Sudan) spotlighted the severe impact of climate change on his country’s people, noting that they are currently grappling with an unprecedented combination of floods and droughts, which are devastating crop yields and animal husbandry in rural areas. “Without prompt action from both the Government and the global community […] some regions may face a famine crisis,” he warned, noting that indicators already reveal impending signs of starvation across the countryside. The 24-month extension of South Sudan’s transition period began 10 days ago, marking a new chapter in its journey towards lasting peace and stability. However, he cited recent reports that differences have emerged between signatories of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on changes within the Defence and Interior Ministries, calling on them to address those issues early to prevent them from escalating, and urging international and regional partners to step in and help find a swift solution. “We remain hopeful that South Sudan can move forward towards a brighter future and build upon the progress already made,” he stressed.