UNDP helps improve community security in Lakes state

18 Jun 2013

imageMinister for Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies, Honourable Abraham Makoi Bol shakes hands with Mr. Sharma Surendra after signing the handover documents at at Abina Ajok police post - Rumbek. Photo by: © Charles Okwir/UNDP.

18 June 2013 –Rumbek: “In the whole of South Sudan, security has become a dominant issue.  Without security, there will be no development – so we want this programme to continue.”

The government of Lakes state has taken charge of seven payam police posts and one county police station built with technical and financial support from the Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) South Sudan.  The seven police posts and one police station will help improve community security in Cuiebet, Rumbek Central, Rumbek East, Rumbek North, Yirol West, Yirol East, Wulu, and Awerial counties.

One prison courtyard built at Maper in Rumbek North, and 12 hand-pump boreholes distributed across all the eight counties of Lakes state were also handed over to the state government at a ceremony that took place at Abina Ajok payam – approximately four kilometres from Rumbek town, where one of the light blue police posts now stands as a symbol of State authority. 

The Governor of Lakes state, His Excellency Matur Chut Duol, who was represented by the Minister for Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies, Honourable Abraham Makoi Bol, underscored the importance of community security to the development of South Sudan.  “In the whole of South Sudan, security has become a dominant issue.  Without security, there will be no development – so we want this programme to continue.” the Minister said. 

To emphasise his wish for UNDP to continue supporting the government of Lakes state to establish more conflict-sensitive infrastructure projects, the Governor’s representative chanted “UNDP Oyee” – before explaining that during the liberation struggle, Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) used similar chants to boost the morale of its armed combatants.  “We now want to boost the morale of UNDP to continue supporting us.” said the Minister.

Mr. Surendra Sharma, UNDP Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Interior, who represented UNDP Country Director Mr.Balázs Horváth, said the projects that were being handed over, together with the additional $17million in infrastructure programmes being implemented through UNDP’s South Sudan Recovery Fund – Stabilisation Programme in Lakes state, are delivering “a critical mass of conflict-sensitive infrastructure that will leave a lasting impact on security in Lakes state.”  Mr. Horváth however urged the government of Lakes state to ensure that the facilities are regularly maintained, and police officers are well trained and deployed in order to achieve the desired impact on community peace and security.

He also pointed out that the projects now provide good entry points for the government and its development partners to engage with communities at local level and support development in areas that were affected by conflict, or were previously inaccessible.  Mr. Sharma however emphasised the importance of complementing ‘hardware’ projects like police posts with ‘software’ sensitisation and public information interventions, as well as peacebuilding programmes that target beliefs, attitudes, and cultural practices that fuel conflict and support the restoration of local conflict resolution mechanisms.

The conflict-sensitive infrastructure projects that were handed over to Lakes state government are a result of community consultations that were facilitated by the UNDP-CSAC Project that enabled communities identify projects that could help address their security concerns.  With financial support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNDP-CSAC Project responded to the findings of the consultations by supporting the government of Lakes state to establish the facilities requested by the people.

Speaking on behalf of DFID, Ms Kate Bradlow said: “we congratulate communities and the local authorities for this significant achievement, and recognise the excellent work of UNDP in facilitating this process.”  She however warned that UNDP-CSAC activities alone cannot address all the challenges that communities in Lakes state face.  “Strengthening the relationship between the government and the community to address insecurity is an essential foundation for development.” Ms Bradlow advised.

Each of the police posts have solar power, separate custody cells for both women and men, and are equipped with modern communication equipment that enables the South Sudan National Police Service to be more responsive to emergencies.  Furthermore, in line with the globally recognised ‘Sphere Standard’ for estimating the number of people served by every hand-pump borehole, at least 6,000 people across Lakes state stand to benefit from the 12 boreholes built with support from UNDP-CSAC Project.

Contact Information

Charles O. Okwir

Communications & Reports Officer - CSAC Project

United Nations Development Programme, South Sudan

Email: charles.okwir@undp.org Cell: 0954 396 338