12 August 2019—The South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC) and UNDP, in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), recently conducted a training on conflict early warning and early response (CEWER) in Juba. The training is the first of its kind to be held in South Sudan and aims to help the SSPRC to activate its CEWER system in line with other members of IGAD, such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
The training targeting building the capacities of national and state level CEWER focal points, who include civil society organizations (CSOs), SSPRC staff, county-level peace committees and UNDP staff. The University of Juba’s Institute of Peace, Development and Studies and the National Transformational Leadership Institute (NTLI) were also represented, as they play key roles in CEWER data analysis and capacity building of peace committees.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Bethlehem Abebe, the head of IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) highlighted the training as an important launchpad for a comprehensive CEWER system in South Sudan. She emphasized that the diverse pool of participants were “experts in dealing with conflicts, and IGAD is only bringing the tools to help boost resident expertise in data collection for early predication and response,” she said.
UNDP has supported more than 71 peace committees comprising of over 1,000 members trained in transformational leadership, conflict management and peacebuilding. These peace committees built over the past three years will be instrumental for data collection and early response at local level.
Ms. Judy Wakahiu, Peace and Community Cohesion project manager, spoke on behalf of the UNDP Resident Representative, noted that “response systems are needed at all levels of society. What is happening in a village in Pochalla could potentially impact peace in Greater Jonglei and the wider country. The role of inclusive peace committee members, like local sultans/chiefs, local government state officials, traditional and local leaders, community-based organizations, women, youth, and faith groups, is key in providing information for conflict early warning and response.”
Speaking at the same event, the chair of the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission Hon. Chuol Rambang said “UNDP is a great partner of the Government of South Sudan and the Peace Commission. It is though partnership that we can rationalize data collection for early response as well as develop a robust website with capacity to share analyzed data,” he said, further thanking UNDP and the Government of Sweden for the support they have provided to the SSPRC.
Training and general support to strengthening South Sudan’s conflict early warning and response system is provided by Sweden to UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion project, in line with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs strategy for “more inclusive processes for peace, community building and accountability” and UNDP’s country programme outcome of strengthened infrastructure for peace in South Sudan.