South Sudan Governors’ Forum Agrees on Key Recommendations to Achieve Food Security

03 Dec 2012

imageThe Second Governors' Forum at the Freedom Hall, Juba (Photographs: UNDP/Joseph Tabani)

The Second Governors’ Forum, which ran from 26 November 2012 – 30 November 2012, brought together representatives from the ten state Governors’ offices, members of the Legislature, key ministers and development partners.  Held nine times since 2006, this year marked the second time that key stakeholders met as an independent nation under the interim constitution.  Organized by the Office of the President, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Forum provides a platform for discussion and action on policies related to political, fiscal and administrative governance issues.  In addition, it offers a space for broader discussion on important issues such as corruption, post-independence challenges and state-level concerns. 

The 2012 Governors’ Forum organized under the theme, ‘Agriculture for sustainable food security and economic growth’ discussed key issues relating to food security, decentralisation, allocation of national revenues transferred to the states and key state issues like infrastructure and education. 

The Forum was officially opened by the President of South Sudan, H.E.  Salva Kiir Mayardit and facilitated by the Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who has been instrumental in gathering and presenting the Forum’s resolutions and recommendations at previous events.   In the President’s opening Remarks, H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit declared war on poverty, stating “We are still challenged by an enemy who looks mighty, complicated but manageable...It is poverty. Statistics show that out of our 8.3 million people 51 percent live below poverty line, about 48 percent are food insecure, life expectancy is about 42 years and still our primary schools enrolment is about 46%.  Today I want to declare war on this enemy called poverty.”

In his opening remarks UN Deputy Special Representative to the Secretary General and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Toby Lanzer highlighted the paradox that food insecurity exists despite abundant natural resources “We know that this country is blessed with soil and climatic conditions that allow for the production of a wide variety of food and cash crops. Yet, the cereal deficit has doubled since 2010 and 2.4 million people need food assistance.”

The Forum also incorporated participation from the South Sudan Agriculture and Trade Fair, with experts from the agriculture and food security sectors discussing potential initiatives, opportunities for South Sudan, and examples from neighbouring counties on how agriculture can serve as a catalyst for development. 

“The Governors’ Forum drives the dialogue between the states and the central Government enabling the needs of bomas and payams to be articulated to national government while the open discussion fosters democracy,” said Balázs Horváth, UNDP Country Director.  The Forum concluded with key recommendations on food security, in addition to resolutions on security, fiscal management, decentralisation, infrastructure, health, capacity development as well as mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of future Governors’ Fora.  Key recommendations included:

  • Formalising the relationship between security agencies at the state and national level, centralizing information and clearly communicating to the security agencies their respective responsibilities;
  • Review the centralized tax collection system and the current method of allocating funding from the central government to the states with the participation of representatives from all States;
  • Develop a Rapid Action Plan for Food Security to meet the goal of becoming a net food exporter by 2014, to include strengthening financial capacity for agriculture, strategic food reserve, and supporting infrastructure development like feeder roads;
  • Allocate 10% of budgetary funding for agriculture as envisioned in the Maputo Declaration;
  • Operationalise the South Sudan Food Security Council;
  • Continue to support the decentralisation framework as outlined in the Decentralisation Roundtable and Transitional Constitution of South Sudan;
  • Ensure key health issues are addressed at the state and national level, including HIV/AIDS;
  • Support the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development in implementing the Medium Term Capacity Development Strategy;
  • Improve monitoring of Governors’ Forum recommendations and participation in future fora.

The Governors Forum is one of the key activities undertaken by UNDP, which has strengthened and supported states’ capacity in planning and public financial management, revenue management, public administration and budgeting. 

For further information, please contact:

Murtaza Shibli <br>Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme, South Sudan <br>Email: murtaza.shibli@undp.org   Tel: +211 (0)95 621 3014