South Sudan: UNDP Board approves first ever country programme for new state

Feb 3, 2012

South Sudan marked its independence day in the capital of Juba on 9 July 2011. (Photo by Silvia Mantilla / UNDP)

In yet another milestone for the world’s newest country, South Sudan has its own first ever United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plan crafted together with the new government, and approved by the organisation’s governing board last night.

The two-year programme will support the government’s plans to build its own capacity, develop pro-poor policy and improve health systems, as well as reintegrate ex-combatants.

“UNDP will work closely with partners, including the UN Mission in South Sudan, to support South Sudan at this critical stage of its nation-building,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said yesterday to the Executive Board, a 36-member group from various countries that oversees the organisation’s work.

Previous support to the people of South Sudan was based on priorities agreed within the broader Republic of Sudan programme. 

The new UNDP country programme is in line with the new South Sudan Development Plan and covers the government’s priorities through to 2013.

South Sudan became independent on 9 July 2011 following a referendum on self-determination six months earlier, held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South.

In addition to managing significant funds for the January 2011 referendum in which 98 percent of registered voters chose secession, UNDP has been working with the government and other development partners to strengthen institutions and build core functions related to rule of law, management of public resources, public administration and natural resource management. 

By the end of 2011, UNDP had placed over 120 UN Volunteers experts in state government, training South Sudanese officials in fields as diverse as fiscal and economic management, civil engineering, information technology, urban planning and medicine.  

More than 140 civil service experts from neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are also providing on-the-job training to their South Sudanese counterparts at central level ministries, commissions and the state governments, to enable service delivery to the population.

UNDP has also strengthened its support to community security and stabilisation, handing over 54 new police posts to the police service and supporting training of police officers. To help reduce conflict and bolster the authority of the new state, UNDP is improving access to water by constructing boreholes and supporting infrastructure such as new roads into insecure areas.

UNDP has been working with the new government to draft and implement policies that will help ensure inclusive growth and build citizen confidence in their new state, such as the South Sudan Development Plan. We also helped design a social cash transfer scheme to better distribute the nation’s wealth among its citizens.

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