UN Secretary-General Report on South Sudan covering the period 2 Sept. to 30 Nov.2018 has focused on many issues that deserve study.Political developments Following continued extensive engagement by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and regional leaders, supported by the African Union and international partners, South Sudanese parties signed the Revitalized Agreement in Addis Ababa on 12 September. The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, signed for the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity, Riek Machar for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Opposition, Gabriel Changson for the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and Deng Alor for the SPLM “Former Detainees”. Representatives of the Other Political Parties group, other stakeholders and the guarantors also signed. The Agreement stipulates a pre -transition period of eight months leading to the formation of a new transitional government of national
unity, to govern during a three-year transitional period that will culminate in elections.
A breakaway alliance of constituent members of SSOA maintained that the agreement failed to address the root causes of conflict in South Sudan and had been imposed on the parties by the regional guarantors. On 2 October, the alliance announced the appointment of General Thomas Cirillo Swaka of the National Salvation Front (NAS) as its Chair, while, on 17 November, it announced its renaming to the South Sudan National Democratic Alliance. Government and opposition leaders continued engagement to persuade the breakaway group to join efforts to implement the Revitalized Agreement.
Implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has made progress but remains behind schedule. On 21 September, the President of the Sudan, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, organized a ceremony in Khartoum with South Sudanese parties and stakeholders to celebrate the signing of the Agreement. O n 31 October, President Kiir hosted a national peace celebration ceremony in Juba. The event was attended by Riek Machar and other opposition leaders and by the heads of State of Ethiopia, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda, and the Prime Minister of Egypt.
During the weeks following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement, the parties nominated their representatives to the various pre -transitional institutions and mechanisms. On 25 September, President Kiir appointed the 10 -member National Pre-Transitional Committee, mandated to oversee and coordinate the implementation of pre-transitional activities. In a statement issued on 27 September following a workshop in Djibouti, South Sudanese women leaders called upon the parties to ensure that nominations to the various institutions and mechanisms of the Agreement reflected their broad commitment to gender diversity and the specific commitment to the 35 per cent representation of women in the executive and transitional justice institutions. On 15 October, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly ratified the Agreement, following similar adoption of the text by the leadership organs of the other parties. The Government also made available 100 million South Sudanese pounds and $1 million to fund pre-transitional activities.
On 3 September, the national dialogue steering committee began its third plenary session to prepare for regional dialogue forums. To date, members discussed the outcomes of the grassroots consultations, plans for three regional dialogue forums (for greater Equatoria, greater Upper Nile and greater Bahr el -Ghazal) and related preparations. The steering committee passed a summary of the reports on the grassroots consultations, entitled “The People have spoken”, four technical notes on governance, the economy, security and social cohesion, and a proposal on the reorganization of the South Sudanese State based on emerging issues from the grassroots phase. The steering committee renewed calls for the inclusion of opposition constituencies in the coming phases of the national dialogue process and continued to stress the complementarity between the Revitalized Agreement and the national dialogue. Following an appeal by President Kiir on 31 October for opposition leaders to embrace the national dialogue, the SPLM/A in Opposition announced on 2 November that it had established a committee to consider the dialogue.
Key macroeconomic indicators have shown signs of stabilizing, but the prospects for recovery remain weak. On the parallel market, the South Sudanese pound has been relatively stable, at approximately 220 pounds to the United States dollar. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, consumer prices fell in August and September, while the rate of inflation in the 12 months to the end of September was 49 per cent (down from past levels of more than 100 per cent). There is no indication that the official removal of the fuel subsidy has had a negative impact on the prices of goods and services. Oil production remained at approximately 120,000– 130,000 barrels per day..
The humanitarian situation remained grave. By the end of October, the total number of people displaced by the conflict in South Sudan stood at 1.97 million.
Ebola virus disease was declared in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on 31 July. South Sudan has been placed at a level of “very high risk” by the World Health Organization (WHO), having had three Ebola outbreaks (in 1976, 1979 and 2004). The Government of South Sudan has set up a national task force, chaired by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO, to enhance national capacities for Ebola preparedness and response. The national health system, eroded by years of
conflict, remains weak and unable to effectively manage demands placed on it by a possible Ebola outbreak. The United Nations, including UNMISS and agencies, has developed a preparedness and contingency planning process to mitigate risks and support national efforts. UNMISS has developed a separate contingency plan in case its staff are confirmed with Ebola.
An estimated 6. 1 million people, or 59 per cent of the population, were severely food insecure at the peak of the lean season (July–August). This is the highest proportion of the population noted as food insecure since the start of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification in South Sudan in 2008.
The areas of most concern in October–December 2018 are expected to be Leer and Mayendit in Unity, Pibor in Jonglei, Panyikang in Upper Nile and greater Bagari in Western Bahr el-Ghazal. Mass displacement from the greater Equatoria region, which traditionally has the highest agricultural production, has exacerbated food insecurity. Approximately 1.1 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of acute malnutrition, of whom an estimated 260,000 are severely malnourished.
Notwithstanding the challenges, by the end of August, humanitarian partners had provided life-saving assistance to 4.7 million of the 6 million people targeted. The Humanitarian Response Plan was 60 per cent funded in mid-October, with $1 billion received towards the $1.7 billion required. The preparations for the 2019 response plan are under way.
Mission tasks implementation
The implementation of tasks under the UNMISS protection of civilians mandate continued to be guided by the three-tiered approach for the protection of civilians.Under tier one, protection through dialogue and political engagement, UNMISS engaged national authorities and other stakeholders at the national and local levels, including visiting Yei on 31 October to meet state authorities and a group of 1,500 displaced individuals and recent returnees from Uganda in order to discuss areas of potential additional UNMISS support to create a climate for returns. Engagements in Khartoum with leaders of the parties in the lead-up to the signing of the Revitalized Agreement also were used to emphasize the primary responsibility of authorities to protect civilians and to identify areas for constructive collaboration. That messaging was bolstered by a joint United Nations-African Union delegation visit to South Sudan from 7 to 9 October, led by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union and a member of the African Union Panel of the Wise, namely, the former Vice-President of Uganda, Specioza Wandira Kazibwe.
UNMISS conducted 24 workshops at the subnational level on subjects relating to social cohesion, reconciliation, conflict management and the role of traditional leaders, women and young people in peacebuilding. A total of 3,245 participants were reached (1,029 of whom were women), including representatives of internally displaced persons and host communities, state and county officials, members of the organized forces, traditional leaders, and youth and women’s representatives. In Boma, UNMISS facilitated a dialogue forum to address intergenerational violence among male “age sets” of the Murle.
The civilian character of the protection sites continued to be reinforced through the conduct of weekly meetings with community leaders to remind them of their own responsibility in curbing criminality in the sites. Searches were regularly conducted in the protection sites and at the entry points to control weapons and contraband in the sites. Regular town hall meetings with community representatives were organized in the Bentiu, Bor, Malakal and Wau protection sites to discuss UNMISS responses to criminality.
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