Judy Cheng-Hopkins, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support commends IGAD initiative

18 Dec 2012

image Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins in a meeting with RSS officials, CSSOs, IGAD and UNDP Representatives; Photo: UNDP/Murtaza Shibli

Juba: On 15 November 2012, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support met with the Ministry of Labour, Public Service & Human Resource Development, IGAD Ambassadors, Civil Service Support Officers (CSSOs), the UN permanent Representative to South Sudan, Francis Deng, and representatives from UNDP to discuss the Republic of South Sudan (RSS)/Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Initiative for Capacity Enhancement.

The RSS/IGAD Initiative is an innovative approach to institutional capacity building.  Under the Initiative, 163 highly skilled and experienced public servants have been deployed for two years from IGAD member states, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to key Government ministries, institutions and commissions.  With support from UNDP, these CSSOs are “twinned” with South Sudanese civil servants to ensure direct transfer of skills through on-the-job coaching and mentoring.  This strategy goes beyond enhancing the skills of individuals, as it aims to build the organizational systems of Government and create an environment where policy can be implemented effectively.  

Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins expressed her admiration for the initiative, which differs from traditional development modalities and seeks to foster South-South cooperation.  Describing the relationship between South Sudan and its East African neighbours as unique, she praised this approach as an important step to regional peace and stability and pledged to be a Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative.

Deployed within 19 government institutions at both national and state level, CSSOs provide support to Government for the delivery of public services in areas of, public administration, financial management, human resources, rule of law, urban planning and health . Agau Rebecca Deng, Management Analyst at the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, who is mentored by Wachinga Simon Gikonyo, a Management Analyst (CSSO) seconded from the Government of Kenya, was confident that the Programme is working well. “I have gained tremendously from this initiative, especially because it has changed my attitude and the attitude of my [South Sudanese] colleagues towards management and delivery.  I am confident that we are now better capable of making a meaningful contribution to our country.”

Angeth Acol de Dut, Undersecretary for Public Service and Human Resource Development said the initiative has introduced a positive work ethic that has resulted in a surge in motivation among South Sudanese civil servants. “Credit must go to these CSSOs for improving our civil service through their help in drafting strategic plans for several ministries as well as helping us improve accountability and transparency in our processes by introducing quality management systems and standard operating procedures”

Ambassador Francis Deng, South Sudan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, praised the RSS/IGAD initiative as an optimistic and innovative model for South-South cooperation. “This initiative shows the spirit of true friendship and mutual acceptance.” He highlighted that the IGAD initiative can be replicated in other regions and the importance of fostering partnership in regional contexts. Ambassador Mohamed A.  Abdoul, IGAD Head of Office in South Sudan further explained how the IGAD model can be translated into future initiatives as "it provides a road map to expanding South-South cooperation and civil service support”.

The RSS/IGAD initiative is one of the key projects undertaken by UNDP’s Support to Public Administration programme, which has supported the Medium Term Capacity Development Strategy and the strengthening of the public sector. Mr. Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director, stated “The RSS/IGAD initiative has brought positive energy to our joint efforts with Government, the Norwegian Donor and CSSOs from neighbouring IGAD countries. UNDP is committed to supporting the Government of South Sudan in building responsive, effective and democratic institutions.”

For further information, contact:

Murtaza Shibli, Communications Specialist, UNDP, South Sudan. murtaza.shibli@undp.org, Cell: +211 (0)956213014