The formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020 was a major step towards restoring peace in South Sudan.
One year on however, progress on implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement remains slow, and too limited.
While we welcome the appointment of a unified Cabinet, Governors, and Deputy Governors in all states- as well as the endorsement by the Council of Ministers of a roadmap for implementing Chapter 5 of the agreement- we call on the Transitional Government to intensify its efforts to implement the Agreement in full.
Let me highlight five priority areas:
First, the implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements and security sector reform. Almost no progress has been made on this vital part of the peace agreement. We urge the parties to take immediate steps towards the unification of forces.
Second, we stress the need for the immediate formation of all State Governments and legislatures; and the re-constitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and Council of States.
Third, to ensure the commencement of the permanent constitution-making process, and preparations for peaceful, credible, and inclusive post-transitional elections.
Fourth, for all parties to adhere to the provision of 35 percent female representation in political positions. And to ensure women’s participation in all aspects of the peace process, and security efforts.
And fifth, we call on the government to continue to implement the reforms envisaged in Chapter 4 regarding transparency and accountability.
Structured and effective progress on these priorities is a matter of urgency.
Norway will continue to work closely with our partners in the Troika, and we continue to support IGAD and the regional guarantors’ leadership in overseeing the implementation of the peace agreement.
While the national ceasefire has generally held, we are deeply concerned by the level of violence across the country. It is exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.
7.2 million people are facing severe levels of food insecurity, and more people are in need of assistance now than in any year since South Sudan’s independence.
We call upon the Government to: ensure immediate de-escalation of sub-national conflict, to provide safety and security for aid workers, and allow free and unimpeded humanitarian access.
We also want to remind all parties of their responsibility to: protect civilians, humanitarian workers, and to reduce the violence. We are particularly concerned by the prevalence of sexual violence, and also the abuse of children.
We encourage the government of South Sudan to ensure that the newly included child protection provisions are fully incorporated into all reconstruction planning programmes, and strategies. Including in peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts.
The combination of intensified conflict and COVID-19, compounded by the adverse effects of climate change- like abnormal flooding- have contributed to increased food insecurity and the dire humanitarian situation.
A part of our response must be strengthening South Sudan’s resilience to climate change, and integrating climate-related security risks into the UN’s analysis, planning and response- including conflict resolution efforts.
Recent restrictions in civic space, including arbitrary arrests and detention of persons exercising their freedom of expression, or peaceful assembly, are indeed worrying. It is clear that long-term peace and development in South Sudan requires: a more equitable division of power, of resources, and a more inclusive political process. Progress towards these aims is vital for South Sudan, and it is vital for the region.
Together with regional partners and the UN, we stand ready to support.