“In the coming months, what is needed is national leadership, resources and a visible commitment from the leaders of South Sudan to fulfill their responsibilities under the peace agreement and to take necessary steps to bring the country out of the transition period,” Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, told a Security Council meeting.
“As the Secretary-General mentioned in his report, with the April 3 agreement, South Sudanese leaders have shown that they can make real progress when there is a sense of urgency and determination. We therefore hope that the parties to the peace agreement – with the same sense of urgency – will now agree on a roadmap,” added Mr. Haysom, who is also the head of the United Nations Mission. in South Sudan (UNMISS).
According to him, this roadmap should serve to re-engage the parties to the revitalized peace agreement and must be accompanied by clear benchmarks and timelines. In particular, it should deal with the completion of outstanding tasks, such as the deployment of the necessary Unified Forces, the approval of pending legislation for national elections, as well as critical reforms of the security, judicial and financial sectors. .
Regarding the elections, the UN envoy considered that not only technical and logistical arrangements were needed, but also an appropriate political environment.
“Unless the parties demonstrate a common collective objective, there will be difficulties in meeting these commitments,” said Mr. Haysom, for whom “the sheer magnitude of the tasks at hand requires the full and unrestricted attention of the international community “.
The UN envoy recalled that this year, more than 80% of civilian casualties have been attributed to intercommunal violence and community militias, violence that “divides communities and hinders reconciliation”. “Peace saboteurs have also proven adept at instrumentalizing these conflicts for their own interests,” he said.
However, he stressed that the decline in civilian casualties, compared to the previous year, continues. According to him, UNMISS is more than ever challenged to maintain its prevention and response efforts. “UNMISS continues to deploy an increasingly mobile and robust posture, even in challenging terrain and weather conditions,” he said.
Nicholas Haysoma pointed out that the country is facing a serious humanitarian crisis. As humanitarian needs increase to around 8.9 million people in need, resources dwindle. Currently, only 26% of the $1.7 billion required for the humanitarian response plan has been received.
The UN envoy urged donors to continue their essential assistance, including to help more than 2 million women and 4.6 million children.
The specter of starvation
The Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Ghada Eltahir Mudawi, also noted that most humanitarian indicators have deteriorated in recent months due to the violence.
In March, violence displaced more than 40,000 people in the administrative area of Abyei. The displacement of people continues elsewhere due to violence and conflicts over resources such as livestock.
According to Ms. Mudawi, women and girls are at serious risk of gender-based violence when clashes erupt.
The country is threatened by the specter of severe hunger and even starvation, she warned. In addition to violence, climate-related shocks are the other major driver of humanitarian needs. South Sudan is now facing a fourth year of above-average rainfall, which has disrupted the agricultural season and limited food production.