Communities in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) have endured protracted conflict cycles for decades, leading to severe humanitarian crises that have hindered the region's development. The conflicts, which are usually characterized by cattle raiding, child abduction, age-set fights, land disputes and competition over natural resources, claim an average of 35 lives every month in wider GPAA, Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria (Bor Peace Committee Incident Report, 2019; UNHCR et al, Joint Protection Assessment Report, 2019).
In 2020, amidst intense feuds between Dinka, Nuer and Murle communities, GPAA’s Chief Administrator Joshua Konyi launched the Inter-communal Reconciliation and Healing Through Dialogue Initiative to promote harmony amongst communities (Jie, Anyuak, Kachipo and Murle).
"We have lost our loved ones and our properties. We are living life on the run, due to constant intra- and inter-communal conflict. We welcome this effort to bring peace through dialogue by our Chief Administrator. We hope it will bring sustainable peace so that we experience and live a normal life," said Alan Gogol, the Head Chief Representative for Pibor during an inter-communal dialogue held in Marou Hills, as part of the initiative.
UNDP supported two of the dialogues held in Marou Hills and Pochalla on 20–24 and 28–31 December 2020. Each inter-community discussion focused on identifying conflict drivers and passed the following resolutions to ensure sustainable peace within Greater Pibor Administrative Area:
1. Abolition of child abduction; those abducted be reunited with their parents;
2. Criminalize revenge and extrajudicial killings;
3. Eradication of the culture/practice of cattle raiding;
4. Establishment of courts to promote the rule of law to increasing access to justice;
5. State authorities to provide security to protect people and their properties in the communities;
6. Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities amongst communities;
7. Prioritize child education;
8. Discourage random ages-sets movement amongst communities;
9. Communities to embrace the principle of peaceful coexistence.
"Since the establishment of the inter-communal peace dialogue and continuous guidance from UNDP, many of our internal issues as Anyuak community never turned violent. As Pochalla peace committee, in collaboration with traditional authorities, we easily settle our disputes. Through this dialogue, I hope our brothers from Murle will change their hearts and accept peace," said King Oman Obel, an Anyuak representative, during the inter-communal dialogue in Pochalla.
The Chief Administrator envisions further extending the Inter-communal Reconciliation and Healing Through Dialogue Initiative to neighboring communities in Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states.
In the quest for sustainable peace, UNDP, through the Peace and Community Cohesion project will continue to support Greater Pibor Administration to sustain community-led conflict resolution by creating avenues and atmosphere for dialogues, strengthening local and traditional mechanisms for addressing conflict drivers, and investing in interdependency projects that cement relationships across communities.