New Strategic Plan for the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation CommissionMay 26, 2016
On 24 May 2016, South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC) met with diverse stakeholders, from the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), CSOs, research institutions, development partners and youth and women groups, to discuss its 3rd Strategic Plan, covering the period from 2016-2018.
The Strategic Plan comes at a time when the Commission, as the leading national institution with a mandate on peacebuilding, is being called upon to promote peace and contribute to the established positive momentum on implementation of the Peace Agreement.
“During a long time our people could not even seat down together, we didn’t even eat together. Now we have peace and now is the moment for our people to come together to make peace works,” declared SSPRC Deputy Chairperson, Peter Gwang Akiech.
The objective of the Strategic Plan is hedge against a relapse into conflict and to contribute to the implementation of the peace process.
“Peace Commission role is to advice the Government in any law related to peace, it is to make sure that every activity in the country brings people together, and for this we need to communicate strategically. This strategic plan is the premise from the Peace Commission to the South Sudanese on what is the peace that we all want. This plan reflect a realistic appreciation of what is needed and what could be achieved,” said UNDP Governance Advisor, Chrysantus Ayangafac.
The Plan emanated from a consultative process that began in June 2015 and it aims to strengthen collaboration between stakeholders, including those created under the peace agreement.
“The Peace Agreement provides for establishment of a number of institutional instruments, which are tasked with initiating and overseeing a permanent constitution-making process leading to national elections; ensuring justice and accountability for the crimes committed during the conflict; implementing institutional reforms related to economic and financial management and devolution of executive powers; and creating an enabling environment for providing humanitarian assistance and reconstruction,” explained UNDP representative, Mr. Andrew Churuma.
Organized with UNDP’s Community Security & Arms Control Project’s support, the workshop aimed to secure wider consensus amongst all stakeholders on the expectations, content and implementation of the strategic plan.
“No country in the history of this planet has ever become united, just peaceful and prosperous without a clearly defined vision and a robust plan to pursue that vision. The strategic plan will guide not only the Peace and Reconciliation Commission but also the civil society organizations engaging in peace building and reconciliation activities around the country. On our part as the civil society, we advocate for full implementation of the peace agreement”, declared the representative of the Civil Society, Mr. RajabMohandis.
During the workshop, the TGoNU retired its commitment to the peace process and promised to support the Commission.
“This strategy is important because makes the SSPRC the magnet and coordinating body for peace process in the country. The Government has a national mandate to ensure peace and security. Reconciliation is an absolutely necessity to achieve peace and the peace commission is an institutional expression of the desire of all South Sudanese to work together for peace,” expressed Presidential Advisor for Education, Hon. John Gai Yoh.
Participants welcomed and applauded the content and orientation of the plan. Some of them pointed out the importance of education to achieve lasting peace in the country.
“The youth of today only understand the power of guns, without education they can never move through. When I was a child my father sent me to the school to learn what he didn’t manage to learn. If children in the classroom listen to peace messages during all the years that they are studying, the new generation will change,” affirmed, Dr. Yath, one of the participants.
“Education is part of peace building, teachers in the classroom are tools for peace so they must be empowered, concluded Unicef Peace Building manager, Thelma K. Makela.
UNDP’s support for the Peace Commission is aimed at proving South Sudan with the relevant capacities, process and structures to manage diversity and secure social cohesion and national integration.