Lise Grande, UN DRSG/RC/HC/UNDP RR on signing of the United Nations Development Framework
I am enormously pleased to welcome everyone here today to witness the signing of the UN Development Assistant Framework.
The UNDAF is the framework for the UN’s development assistance to South Sudan. The programmes that are in this framework are smart, ambitious and if implemented quickly, can help South Sudan to “take off” and become a prosperous, democratic, just and well governed country—exactly the kind of country that the people who voted for independence want.
It is very meaningful that we are signing the UNDAF on the anniversary of independence. This has been an impressive year, but a difficult one.
Let’s first recognize South Sudan’s achievements. South Sudanese are building their country from scratch. During the CPA South Sudanese made huge progress. Nowhere else have so few people working from such a low base done so much. 29 ministries, 21 commissions, ten state governments, a national parliament and ten state legislatures were established. More than two million people returned to South Sudan, the number of children attending primary school tripled, measles was reduced from epidemic levels and 6,000 kilometers of roads were opened, connecting major cities and towns.
Despite this progress, the state building exercise facing South Sudan is the largest of this generation.
South Sudan has the biggest capacity gap in Africa. The human development indicators are amongst the worst in the world, with 80 percent of the population living on the equivalent of less than 1 USD a day. 4.7 million people are estimated to be food insecure this year. The maternity mortality rate is among the highest in the world. Every single Ministry and government institution suffers from a debilitating lack of qualified, competent staff. Less than half of the civil servants have the qualifications needed for their post.
Corruption, a scourge that puts at risk all of the incredible progress made so far, impacts all levels of government. We see encouraging signs that the government is making progress in introducing measures of accountability and transparency, including through the establishment of the audit chamber. But we all know that much more needs to be done to ensure that proposed measures deter any mismanagement of public resources.
Through the UNDAF, the United Nations Country Team will stand with the world’s newest nation as it puts in place the building blocks of statehood. The UNDAF we are signing today represents the joint UN work that 21 UN agencies, fund and programmes will be doing to support development in South Sudan.
Mr. Vice President, I can promise you that we will be work in coordinated way to achieve the same goals to provide clear, unified and efficient support without duplication. We have kept the UNDAF light and flexible to adapt to the new and changing context of South Sudan and we’re already taken measure to align with new dynamics including the current context of austerity.
A few words about the UNDAF. It was developed by the UN and partners under the leadership of the Government. It is fully aligned with the four pillars in the South Sudan Development Plan and has five big goals:
Goal one is to help ensure that core governance and civil service functions are established. The UNCT will do this by reinforcing core governance functions to promote better efficiency in the use of scarce resources.
Goal two is to reduce chronic food insecurity and increase livelihoods opportunities. This year, more than half the population, or 4.7 million people, is at risk of food insecurity. The UNCT will focus on programmes that secure people’s livelihoods for the future and we’ll work to ensure access to water and sanitation improves for the people of South Sudan.
Goal three is to help ensure key basic service delivery systems are in place, laying the groundwork for increased demand. The UNCT will focus on guarding front-line service delivery in the areas of health and education, and establishing social safeguards for the poorest and most vulnerable
Goal four is to reduce violence and improve community security The UNCT will focus on DDR and the prevention of community security.
Goal five is to improve access to justice and the rule of law, especially the core government function related to the judiciary, law enforcement and corrections.
This is what we intend to do as UN agencies. There’s no time to waste. Already, during this first year of statehood, the UN agencies have been working very hard.
• More than 100 UN Volunteer specialists and 200 civil servants from IGAD countries are being deployed to public sector offices, agencies and ministries to provide direct and on-the-job mentoring of South Sudanese civil servants.
• To tackle maternity mortality, which is among the highest in the world in South Sudan, the first College of Nursing and Midwifery has opened and dozens of UN Volunteer midwives from neighboring countries are embedded in health systems to provide mentoring support to community midwives.
• In support of improved child health, over three million children have been vaccinated against polio and more than 600,000 children have been vaccinated against measles.
• In support of education, 30 new primary schools and four new secondary schools are under construction.
As the Secretary General said last year when he was here to witness the birth of the world’s newest country, the road to peace and prosperity has been well traveled but there is still a long way to do. We want everyone here today to know that the UN agencies have been part of the journey and are going to stay the course—we’ll be here for generations, helping to reduce poverty, helping to promote good governance, helping to redistribute wealth and create equality, helping to protect liberty and freedom and helping to promote fraternity and partnerships in the region.
On behalf of the UN agencies, we would like to express our deep gratitude to our government partners, represented here by His Excellency the Vice President, and the UN family in South Sudan and our partners in the donor and NGO community for the thinking and prioritization that went into the UNDAF.