Moving beyond fragility in South Sudan

23 Sep 2013

image Toby Lanzer, Rebeca Grynspan, Awut Deng Acuil, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye

South Sudanese ministers met with senior representatives of UNDP and donors countries on the margins of the UN General Assembly to discuss the preparation of a roadmap that aims to take the new country out of its fragility.

In Busan in 2011, South Sudan and 18 other fragile and conflict-affected countries, known as the g7+ Group, agreed to a “New Deal” with the international community. The New Deal identifies  five peace- and state-building goals intended to accelerate the transition from fragility.

The meeting today in New York was designed to discuss progress in implementing New Deal commitments in South Sudan, and the next steps required to consolidate that progress.

Opening the meeting, the Associate Administrator of UNDP, Rebeca Grynspan, said improvements in the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan, together with the resumption of oil production and the Government’s commitment to the New Deal, create a key opportunity to shift the discussion in South Sudan towards long-term development and tangible improvements in the well-being of South Sudanese citizens.

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan and its development partners have committed to the preparation of a “New Deal Compact” -- which will include measurable benchmarks for South Sudan and the donor community, as well as partnership principles for more effective delivery of aid. The government intends to complete the Compact before the end of the year.

As part of the Compact, for instance, the country’s government will commit to benchmarks such as boosting reconciliation efforts, organizing free and fair elections, creating jobs and diversifying the economy. Emerging benchmarks for donors include long-term aid commitments, increased joint planning and sub-national capacity building.
Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, South Sudan’s Minister of Finance, Commerce, Investment and Economic Planning, said the Compact “can be used to create a framework for dialogue and for mutual accountability between the government and its partners”.

Consultations to determine the priorities of the New Deal Compact have taken place so far in six of South Sudan’s 10 States, with the remainder to take place over the next weeks. By November, more than 1,000 people from a wide diversity of backgrounds will have been consulted on the benchmarks. These include government representatives, civil society and non-governmental organizations and academia.

At the New York meeting, international partners, such as the UK, US, Japan, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and the EU congratulated South Sudan on its commitment to the New Deal. A number of partners, however, also expressed concern regarding the situation in Jonglei state, and the need for Government to ensure humanitarian access, and progress in investigations of and accountability for human rights violations in the troubled state. 

The South Sudan government representative noted these issues were also of significant concern to the government and highlighted the measures it was taking in addressing them, and said ongoing partnerships with the international community would be necessary to address the underlying challenges.  

South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marial Benjamin Barnaba; the Minister of Finance, Commerce, Investment and Economic Planning, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni; and the Minister of Gender and Social Development, Awut Deng Acuil, spoke at the meeting.

UNDP was represented by the Associate Administrator, Rebeca Grynspan; the Head of UNDP Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye; and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer.