Peacebuilding

A Hope from Within? Countering the intentional destruction of governance and transparency in South Sudan

Year of Publication
2016
Document Publisher/Creator
Brian Adeba
Institution/organisation
The Enough Project
NGO associated?
Summary
In April 2016, after considerable foot-dragging, opposition, and obstacles, the two main parties to the conflict in South Sudan that erupted in December 2013 formed a transitional government as mandated in the August 2015 peace agreement. Deadly and escalating violence in multiple parts of the country has since raised serious doubts about the future of the country’s peace and political process. Sustainable peace in South Sudan will continue to be elusive unless leaders make profound and fundamental changes to establish accountability and end impunity.

Accountability was never built into the governance structure of the violent kleptocratic system that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) established in the aftermath of the 2005 peace deal that ended the 22-year north-south war. By nature, violent kleptocracies hijack governance institutions for the personal financial benefit of those within the ruling network and for the security of the regime. These kleptocracies use extreme violence, including mass atrocities, to maintain their hold on power. In this regard, South Sudan’s governance institutions were hijacked and the ability of these institutions to implement oversight functions was compromised. Wanton corruption by the political elite accelerated to unprecedented levels and further stymied the government’s ability to deliver services to the populace. In 2012, President Salva Kiir estimated that $4 billion was siphoned from the country’s coffers.1 Over the years, many groups and individuals have studied institutional weaknesses in South Sudan. For the elites and their apologists, these weaknesses stem from a capacity shortfall; an affliction that they argue is inherent in processes of establishing new states. The term “capacity building” has become a catchphrase in the donor community, especially in the years immediately following South Sudan’s secession from Sudan. Donors spent a considerable amount of money and energy on capacity- building efforts in almost all sectors, including governance institutions.

Yet the perceived lack of capacity in governance institutions in South Sudan is actually the symptom of a much larger problem. Because governance institutions work at the behest of elite politicians, it is in the interest of these politicians to disable these institutions and limit their ability to play their role in oversight, regulation, and providing checks and balances on other parts of the government.

This coercion is manifest in a number of ways. First, elite politicians starve governance institutions of the funds required to enable them to perform their duties. Second, mandates to uphold accountability are undercut through the legal system. Third, elite politicians ensure that allies receive leadership positions in some of these institutions in order to wield control over their activities, and ultimately to undermine and counter the fight against graft.

 This report refers to the “government” and “transitional government” in South Sudan, using the terms interchangeably and acknowledging the many uncertainties about the status of the government and situation at the time of writing.

2 The Enough Project • enoughproject.org

A Hope From Within?

Countering the intentional destruction of governance and transparency in South Sudan

The perceived lack of capacity in governance institutions in South Sudan is actually the symptom of a much larger problem.

This report, based on information collected before the transitional government formed in April 2016 and before violence escalated in Juba in July 2016, reviews the weaknesses of three of South Sudan’s governance institutions that are most critical to establishing accountability: the Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Audit Chamber, and the Public Accounts Committee in the National Legislative Assembly. All three institutions face considerable operational challenges that have undercut their effectiveness in implementing their constitutional mandates. Drawing on field research, this paper shows that the weaknesses of governance institutions in South Sudan stem from deliberate efforts by elite politicians to stymie these institutions’ capacity to perform their core functions to promote government accountability.

In the right political atmosphere and with the right political incentives for reform, these institutions could, however, exercise their roles effectively. The weaknesses can be addressed; they are not inevitable. The weaknesses are instilled in large part by elite kleptocrats. With genuine political will for institutional effectiveness from top leadership, supported by pressure and incentives from international partners with South Sudanese leaders, these critical governance institutions could fulfill their mandates.

It is imperative for South Sudan’s leaders to understand the significance of strong and viable institutions in fostering accountability, and most importantly, credibility for the government. Equally, it is crucial that South Sudan’s top political leaders understand that grand, competitive corruption increases the likelihood of conflict and state collapse.

It is therefore imperative that the transitional government take all the necessary steps to reform institutions of governance as stipulated in the August 2015 peace agreement, or else it could find itself presiding over the disintegration of the state.

Peace is the cure: How SDG 16 can help Salvage the 2030 Agenda in the wake of COVID-19

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
International Alert
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/covid19/peace-is-the-cure-how-sdg-16-can-help-salvage-the-2030-agenda-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/
Summary
This briefing argues that, if a leveraged focus on SDG 16 was necessary before COVID-19, it is imperative now – not just insalvaging the 2030 Agenda in the places where it matters most, but also in damping down the potential for far greater and more durable violent conflict.
Date of Publication
17/11/2020

Pastoralism and Conflict in the Sudano-Sahel: A Review of the Literature

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/pastoralism-and-conflict-in-the-sudano-sahel-a-review-of-the-literature/
Summary
Across the African continent, 268 million people practice pastoralism, both as a way of life and a livelihood strategy, contributing between 10 to 44 percent of the GDP of African countries. In recent years, this adaptive animal production system has faced growing external threats due to issues such as climate change, political instability, agricultural expansion, and rural ban-ditry that have transformed the rangelands in which they operate. From Mali to South Sudan, governments, regional bodies, peacebuilders, development agencies, environmentalists, economists, and security forces are actively attempting to address the sources of violence and instability that affect both pastoral communities and the rural societies with whom they share resources and landscapes.

These interventions are often shaped by differing assumptions about the source and nature of these conflicts, despite the avail-ability of extensive research and analysis. Though the local dynamics of conflict vary across different contexts, a number of trends and debates appear throughout the literature on pastoralism and conflict. This review draws on several hundred sources to synthesize the major points of consensus and divergence in the existing literature and identify relevant research gaps. This anal-ysis presents data from across Sudano-Sahelian West and Central Africa, to link comparable findings that are often presented in isolation.

Although conflicts over land and water resources in the Sudano-Sahel have long been a political concern and were a major point of contention in the colonial and post-independence eras, they have gained prominence in recent years due to the ongoing spread of violence, instability, and displacement across the region. Latent tensions over resource access and control, which his-torically only occasionally led to violence, have now erupted in some cases into cycles of mass killings and reprisals. In Nigeria, escalating rural banditry and reprisal violence between farmers and pastoralists has left thousands dead and many more dis-placed. In central Mali, the escalation of these conflicts culminated in the massacre of 160 members of the Fulani ethno-linguis-tic and traditionally pastoralist group in Ogossagou in March of 2019, as well as ensuing reprisal violence. And, across Sudan, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR), conflicts relating to livestock migration and cattle theft have played a critical and destabilizing role in internal insurgencies and cross-border conflict. For these reasons and more, conflict dynamics relating to pastoralism and pastoral communities have become a shared policy priority throughout the region.
Date of Publication
04/09/2020

Community Engagement in UN Peacekeeping Operations: A People-Centered Approach to Protecting Civilians

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Harley Henigson
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/community-engagement-in-un-peacekeeping-operations-a-people-centered-approach-to-protecting-civilians/
Summary
As the practice of the protection of civilians (POC) has evolved in peacekeeping missions, the UN has increasingly focused on “people-centered” approaches. As a result, community engagement has emerged as a core component of POC efforts. By engaging with communities, missions can build trust, gather information, and build a protective environment, ultimately improving their ability to protect civilians.

This paper examines the positive implications and impact of this increased focus on community engagement, as well as the challenges and risks it can pose for communities and missions. It analyzes the community engagement activities of the military, police, and civilian components of the UN missions in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and South Sudan. The paper concludes with recommendations for these four missions, the UN Secretariat, and UN member states on the Security Council:

UN member states should continue to refine the language on community engagement in peacekeeping mandates.
The UN Secretariat should develop more in-depth modules on community engagement in relevant training materials.
Relevant UN stakeholders should explore how missions’ military personnel can improve their community engagement.
The UN Secretariat and missions should optimize their use of community liaison assistants.
The UN Department of Peace Operations should continue to explore where the unarmed civilian protection methodology could complement community engagement by UN missions.
Date of Publication
26/11/2020

Genesis of South Sudan’s Engagement with China: The Dilemma of Non-Interference in the Face of African Agency

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Akok Manyuat Madut
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/genesis-of-south-sudans-engagement-with-china-the-dilemma-of-non-interference-in-the-face-of-african-agen/
Summary
The relationship between what would become South Sudan and China started with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 between the old Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Oil, a major trigger of the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005), continued to fuel the violent conflict, which led to the partition of the largest country on the African continent. Driven by the opening-up policy as an important vehicle of the Chinese reform trajectory, China found itself drawn into the Sudanese conflict. Underpinned by its scramble to invest in the oil industry overseas and to acquire energy to fuel its booming economy, China took part in the conflict by supporting the government of Sudan militarily, economically and politically against the SPLM/A. As soon as the CPA was signed, China started to court the SPLM and newly formed Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) led by the SPLM in Juba. Surprisingly, the leadership of the SPLM overlooked the belligerent past and opted for cooperation with China. Why?

This paper will discuss a handful of issue: the pragmatic approach to cooperation in the light of the opening-up policy of China and its role in the war of liberation of South Sudan; how the realities of The Comprehensive Peace Agreement drove China’s quest to court the SPLM and GoSS during the interim period; how oil became a double-edged sword in the context of African agency; and role of China in the partition of old Sudan and the challenge to the doctrine of non-interference. This paper has mainly utilized data collected during fieldwork research in the form of interviews with so-called elites and the review of official documents.
Date of Publication
07/09/2020

From crisis to opportunity for sustainable peace: A joint perspective on responding to the health, employment and peacebuilding challenges in times of COVID-19

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
International Labour Office
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/covid19/from-crisis-to-opportunity-for-sustainable-peace-a-joint-perspective-on-responding-to-the-health-employment-and-peacebuilding-challenges-in-times-of-covid-19/
Summary
This paper examines key policy and programmatic considerations for international health and employment
interventions responding to COVID-19 in conflict-affected countries. It outlines a range of important
peacebuilding considerations and highlights significant contributions the World Health Organization (WHO)
and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are making to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
By doing so, this paper aims to shed light on the risks and resilience factors that are particularly relevant in
countries recently or currently affected by armed conflict, or where the risk of an outbreak, escalation of, or
relapse into violence is high (for the sake of readability, these situations are hereafter referred to as “conflictaffected”). It suggests how these considerations can best be incorporated into COVID-19 policy responses
and programming, and provides general and practical guidance for how programmes and interventions may
need to be adapted to become optimally effective, do no harm and strengthen prospects for peace. Thus, one
of the main added values of this paper is the link of peace to health.
The paper stems from a partnership among WHO, ILO, Interpeace and the UN Peacebuilding Support
Office (PBSO) of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.1
This publication targets national
governments/donors, international agencies and civil society engaged in the COVID-19 response specifically
in the areas of health, decent work and employment, and peacebuilding in conflict-affected settings.
Attachment
Date of Publication
11/01/2021

Advantages and Challenges to Diaspora Transnational Civil Society Activism in the Homeland: Examples from Iraqi Kurdistan, Somaliland and South Sudan

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
Yaniv Voller
NGO associated?
Source URL
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/104138/1/CRP_advantages_challenges_to_diaspora_transnational_civil_society_published.pdf
Summary
Investment in overseas developmental projects is a multifaceted effort which involves a variety of actors. These include donor governments and their departments for international aid, international organisations, recipient governments and the societies in the recipient countries. With relation to the latter, the existence of an active civil society has been identified as crucial for the advancement of socio-political reforms (Putnam 1995; Kaldor 2003; Neumayer 2005). Certainly, aid providers have become more aware of the need to take civil society into account when supporting initiatives aiming to promote democratisation, human rights, and human security in general. The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), two of the largest government-supported aid agencies, have invested resources in exploring the importance of civil society in recipient countries and the avenues for encouraging its further development (DFID 2012; Giffen and Judge 2010; USAID 2014).

More recent works on civil society have recognised, though, the fact that such actors are not confined to particular territorial boundaries. Civil society campaigns are often global, involving elements that operate at the international and transnational levels. One element, nevertheless, has been overall neglected by both policymakers and scholars examining transnational civil society, and that is diaspora communities. The refugees of previous decades, which have evolved into well-established communities in the West, have traditionally played pivotal roles in the reconstruction of their homelands. But as time has gone by, they have become involved in other aspects of state- and society-building in the homeland. As the paper concludes, while there is undoubtedly eagerness among highly motivated and talented diasporans to contribute to social and political changes in the homeland, on the ground, there are difficulties and challenges. These challenges may limit the contribution and hinder diasporan integration in, and contribution to, activism in the homeland. Aid providers and donors should develop clear strategies to incorporate diaspora communities in development programmes. Such integration would help not only to utilise the advantages that diaspora returnees possess when participating in civil society campaigns in the homeland, but could also help these returnees to overcome potential challenges that they face.
Date of Publication
08/09/2020

Transitional Justice in South Sudan: A Case for Sustainable Peace, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing

Year of Publication
2021
Document Publisher/Creator
Santino Ayuel Longar
Institution/organisation
The Sudd Institute
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.suddinstitute.org/publications/show/602b9d3319101
Summary
The justice versus peace dichotomy or lack thereof has spawned both legal practice and international law literature for decades. As the debate pertains to the application of transitional justice specifically against the backdrop of mass political violence or civil wars, some jurists, legal practitioners and other scholars suggest that, on the one hand, justice and peace are mutually exclusive concepts. This implies that neither peace nor justice can be pursued without adversely impacting or displacing the other. Others, on the other hand, maintain that peace and justice are mutually reinforcing virtues, suggesting that the pursuit of one serves to augment the other. While the third school of thought acknowledges that both peace and justice are indispensable virtues for a dignified human life, it contends that an overreliance on the pursuit of justice at all costs is detrimental for sustainable peace. As well, it argues that justice should not be sacrificed on the altar of peace. In this regard, the third way proposes that the stringent standards of pursuing peace and justice should be relaxed in the interest of a balanced solution. Cognizant of the fact that South Sudan is a deeply divided and polarized country, this piece suggests that the most appropriate vehicle for pursuing transitional justice in South Sudan is in the form of truth, reconciliation and healing (TRH) and, perhaps, compensation but not through criminal prosecutions of the actions of key players in the recently concluded conflict. Failure to observe the delicacy of balancing peace and justice only operates to fester the conflict. That is in part because key actors in a mass political conflict are cushioned by their (ethnic) constituencies and in part because, generally, justice deferred solely for the sake of peace may actually breed more insecurity just as sacrificing peace for the sake of justice only yields incendiary results.
Date of Publication
19/02/2021

Access to Health for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in South Sudan

Year of Publication
2020
Document Publisher/Creator
United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and OHCHR
NGO associated?
Source URL
https://www.csrf-southsudan.org/repository/access-to-health-for-survivors-of-conflict-related-sexual-violence-in-south-sudan/
Summary
Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence continue to struggle to access adequate medical and mental health care, according to a new report issued by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the UN Human Rights Office.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear, if there was ever any doubt, just how important it is for everyone to have immediate and adequate access to health care,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. “For the survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, it goes beyond treating their physical injuries and psychological trauma. It is quite simply a crucial step in giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and the lives of their families.”

The report, titled “Access to Health for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in South Sudan,” takes an in-depth look at the adequacy of health care available in Unity and the Central and Western Equatorian regions, which account for 85 percent of conflict-related sexual violence cases documented between January 2018 and January 2020.

It found that funding for public health care in South Sudan has not been prioritized, with just 1.2 percent (USD 14 million) of the national budget allocated for this purpose. This has resulted in international organizations using donor funding to try to fill the gap. Despite the enormous financial investment, the medical response for survivors of sexual violence remains weak.
Date of Publication
09/09/2020

Speaking Truth to Power in South Sudan: Oral Histories of the Nuer Prophets

Year of Publication
2019
Document Publisher/Creator
Jedeit J. Riek and Naomi R. Pendle
Institution/organisation
The Rift Valley Institute
NGO associated?
Source URL
http://riftvalley.net/publication/speaking-truth-power-south-sudan
Summary
Prophets—those recognised as having been ‘seized’ by a divinity—have played an important role in the history of South Sudan, particularly that of the Nuer people. They were seen as being powerful political actors and, alongside chiefs, important intermediaries for the colonial authorities. However, the influence of the Nuer prophets goes much further than mobilizing or de-mobilizing the Nuer population to or from violence. In the UN Protection of Civilians Site (POCS) in Bentiu, where over one hundred thousand war-displaced now live, the histories of the prophets have become a means through which POCS residents explain both the spiritual causes of war and their current predicament.
Speaking Truth to Power focuses on the life of Kolang Ket—a major prophet in the early twentieth century. His story, as recounted in the Bentiu POCS, includes his seizure by the deity known as MAANI, how he has wielded political authority and his legacy, which extends to the present day. Acknowledging the influence of the prophets is important to those trying to understand the contemporary political reality of South Sudan. This, by extension, can help external actors to assist the South Sudanese population in shaping a more sustainable, locally relevant peace, which goes beyond the fragile elite deals normally agreed by the country’s politicians.
Date of Publication
10/09/2020