Five Community Consultation Reports launched at Community Security Roundtable
Five Community Consultation Reports were launched at the ‘Roundtable Discussion on Community Security in South Sudan’ held at the UNDP Compound, Juba. The reports, that are based on public consultations with communities in five states – Eastern Equatoria, Lakes, Unity, Upper Nile and Warrap, brought together village elders, traditional authorities, youth leaders, women leaders, religious leaders, local government, state ministers, and community members to discuss and find local solutions to their security issues.
The consultations were led by the Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control (BCSSAC) and the Peace Commission, with technical support from UNDP. As a result of these findings the UNDP CSAC project and the South Sudan Recovery Fund (SSRF) in partnership with state and local governments, supported the implementation of conflict-sensitive development projects based on the priorities identified during the consultation process. Many of the projects have made a tangible impact by helping reduce violence and insecurity, and include building boreholes, water haffirs, roads, police posts, police stations and distribution of agricultural equipment.
Welcoming the launch, Hon. Chol Rambang Luoth, Chair, Peace Commission said the reports offer a fair understanding of what was going on at the county level. “These reports provide links between human security, community security and development and give us an opportunity to address insecurity from a bottom-up approach”.
Dr. Riak Gok Majok, Head of BCSSAC described the problem of community security and social cohesion as enormous and hoped that these community consultations will inform future thinking about the conflict in South Sudan. “Ensuring civility and security across south Sudan is crucial, and that is why we are all here.”
Mulugeta Abebe, UNDP Deputy Country Director-Operations, said these consultations were welcomed by the communities with many of them stating that it was the first time that the Government reached out to them and consulted them about their problems. He described community consultations as a means to empower people to voice their concerns about security, adding that it extends the state’s authority by allowing the government to deliver services that meet the needs of the people. “It provides a platform for negotiation between the government and communities, thereby improving accountability, building trust and fostering the social contract between the people and their government”.
UNDP’s Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) team delivered a presentation on the community consultation process, its framework and methodology. The team highlighted the effectiveness of the consultations as having extended the state authority, generating demand for services and creating entry points for peacebuilding and reconciliation through communities meeting and dialoguing. The consultations also created baseline data and knowledge on security to inform future conflict sensitive interventions.
Dr. Amanuel Gebremedhin, Team Leader Conflict Prevention and Recovery Unit, UNDP South Sudan, reminded the challenges of changing the militerized mindset, stressing that there is a need to develop an indigenous approach that will build capacity at all levels. “For an effective conflict transformation strategy, it must be a home-grown process where communities identify themselves with the instrument developed”.
A discussion on community security and conflict mitigation engaged representatives from the BCSSAC, the Peace Commission, SSRF, UNDP and the international development community. The participants acknowledged the importance of such discussions and raised concerns that any conflict mitigating projects should benefit all without prejudicing any group or community.
For further information, please contact: Marguerite Nowak, Communications Officer, United Nations Development Programme, South Sudan firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 095 619 1254