Speech by UNDP Country Director, Balázs Horváth, Launch of the Jonglei Peacebuilding through Food Security Programme, Bor, Jonglei
- Your Excellency, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, Governor of Jonglei State,
- Honourable Justice Attilio Fuad Zolein,
- Honourable Mayen Ngor Atem, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry,
- Honourable Diing Kuol Diing, Minister of Local Government,
- Honourable State Ministers,
- Mr. Agut Adut Agut, Chair of the Community Security & Arms Control Bureau,
- Mr. James Apay, Chair of the Peace Commission
- Distinguished representatives of the international development community,
- Members of the community, Ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure and honour to be addressing you on this festive occasion on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme South Sudan.
With the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and the historic independence in 2011, the Government of South Sudan has made significant strides in creating a more peaceful society. However, a major challenge is to sustain this peace and promote community security, especially here in Jonglei, so that people no longer have to live in fear.
In November, together with the Ministries of Agriculture, Local Government, Culture, Youth & Sports as well as the Peace Commission, the Bureau of Community Security & Small Arms Control, we undertook consultations. We asked people in the communities, what do you need – the message was clear. The people collectively decided that mechanisms to support food production and improve food access were needed to prevent conflict. They were also clear that interventions targeting youth were critical. As a result, UNDP’s Community Security & Arms Control project, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development responded by supporting Government efforts to target food insecurity, increase economic opportunities for youth and ultimately, reduce conflict.
Today, we are handing over 30 tractors and the associated equipment to help expand food production in the 11 counties. Youth Farmers Associations have already been established in every one of the 55 payams across the state and will use these tractors to plough and prepare the land. Individual household plots have also been demarcated and will be the responsibility of youth farmers. But this handover is more than equipment – these are resources that will empower communities, particularly youth to generate income in a peaceful manner. We all know how important this is. Simply disarming youth to stop cattle raiding will not stop insecurity. It is critical that the root socioeconomic causes of violence be addressed and opportunities for earning income are created. Together, these can ensure sustainable peace and promote economic development.
Once the farmers have been mobilized, UNDP will also support efforts to deliver peacebuilding trainings and support conflict transformation projects.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to stress an important point. Maintenance, effective use and local management of these tractors is critical to the sustainability of this project. It is the collective responsibility of government and the communities to ensure that these tractors are maintained and the operators are well trained to enable this project to benefit Jonglei in the coming years and help future generations. This is highly sophisticated equipment and must be used appropriately to maintain soil moisture.
Here in Jonglei state, UNDP is dedicated to supporting the Government’s efforts to improve food security and access. Today’s initiative complements UNDP initiatives. UNDP has deployed 15 specialists through the State’s ministries of Education, Finance, Labour, Law Enforcement, Local Government, and the state hospital. They mentor and train South Sudanese Civil Servants while supporting the state in financial planning, IT, engineering and delivering needed medical services.
UNDP will continue to focus on empowering communities and reinforcing community security. We support the Government in the implementation of the South Sudan Development Plan and the Jonglei State Strategic Plan. We at UNDP are proud of the partnership we have with the State and County Government and we congratulate you on the consultative process that has led you to exactly this type of support. This project is nothing we dreamed up, but came from the people.
In closing, I would like to applaud the effective inter-ministerial cooperation and partnership between the Small Arms Bureau, the Peace Commission, Ministries of Agriculture, Local Government and Youth. Their multi-faceted approach to addressing food insecurity, helps mitigate conflict and supports youth in cultivating new economic livelihoods. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for their vision in driving this programme forward and again DFID for their support in making this project a reality.
And finally, to all members of the community, we congratulate you for taking this significant step and planting the seeds of security, prosperity and peace in your community.
Thank you very much.