Peace actors take stock of the peace process and agree on joined-up actions

Jun 10, 2016

South Sudan peace actors in a meeting at UNDP premises to consolidate the established gains and encourage further implementation of the peace agreement.

As part of its mandate, on 9 June 2016, the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC), supported by UNDP’s Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) project, convened the second quarterly peace actors meeting, which brought together over 50 stakeholders, from Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), Parliament, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), Security Services, development partners and civil society organization (CSOs), to take stock of the peace process and agree on joined-up actions to consolidate the established gains and encourage further implementation of the peace agreement.

Beyond public pronouncement by TGoNU and JMEC, there is no medium for consistent multi-stakeholder discussion to assess implementation, and share perspective on what is working and what isn’t, think as one, act as one and talk as one in advocating for full implementation of the peace agreement.

The following questions animated the discussions of the second quarterly meeting: What are some of the eminent threats and risks that might jeopardize the peace process and what should be done to address them? How can peace actors connect local peacebuilding efforts to some of the milestones of the peace agreements and vice versa? What are the challenges faced by peace actors and what could be done to address them? What are some of the extremely urgent joined-up actions and standard messages that must be undertaken to consolidate and incentivize the peace process?

There was a consensus that some progress has been made on implementation of the peace agreement, but more still needs to be done. Presidential Advisor for Education, the Hon, John Gai Yoh noted that “”Amongst the strong achievements secured so far, the fact that peace agreement is in Juba and is being discussed in Juba, not Addis Ababa is indeed a milestone.”

Commenting on the role of media, Hon Chuol Rambang Luoth stressed that “The CNN effect must not only be about the negative and periodic setbacks on the peace process. It should also be about the simple moments of communities coming together. It should also be the steady return of people to their home from refugee and PoC sites.”

The TGoNU provided an update on the progress being made and some of the 12 outstanding issues the TGoNU is trying to address. It was agreed that while time is of an essence, the quality of the outcome of the peace process will be determined by the processes used to build consensus and facilitate implementation. For the time being, the presidency (President, 1st Vice and Vice President) is the preferred mechanism, and the idea is to allow for consensus building-implementation by consensus.

JMEC representative noted that some progress has been on the formation of the TGoNU, transitional security arrangement, the establishment of committee to look at the issue of 28 states, composition of the Transitional Legislative Assembly, humanitarian access, Joint Integrated Police. However, he stressed that there is need to accelerate the legal and institutional reform called for by the peace agreement.

It was agreed that what would constitute successful implementation of the peace agreement is not just stability; it must include social cohesion and national integration. Going forward the following joint actions were agreed:

•    Peace Commission and JMEC to advocate for the TGoNU to move to the states;

•    Peace Commission should ensure early warning report, and recommendations are shared with coordination mechanism of the peace agreement;

•    Peace Commission and JMEC should explore the option of creating a mechanism to collate and feed citizen opinion into implementation of the peace process (regular survey of opinion);

•    Peace Commission to facilitate confidence building in cantonment areas between the army and other stakeholders like CSOs;

•    Peace Commission to continue advocate and protect civic space;

•    Peace Commission should share with the wider public periodic update on implementation of the peace agreement;

•    Peace Commission to facilitate engagement between the media and peace actors to begin building a culture of conflict sensitive reporting.

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