Archive for September 6, 2011

Report Says Donors Must Adopt Key Priorities in Building South Sudan

Posted: September 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Mike Onyiego | Nairobi

A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011.

Photo: Reuters

A man waves South Sudan’s national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011.

As South Sudan works with international donors to plan for its future, organizations working in the newly-formed country say a focus on key priorities is necessary to help it overcome chronic poverty and underdevelopment.

Just two months after South Sudan’s independence from Khartoum, the world’s newest nation now faces the difficult task of building itself from almost nothing.

A coalition of 38 humanitarian and aid groups working in South Sudan has released a report listing priorities in need of emphasis by international donors to help build the country successfully.

Africa’s 54th nation is also one of the world’s poorest, with more than half of its citizens living below the poverty line. The country also has very little infrastructure, including less than 100 miles of paved road. But there has been rapid improvement, and increasing investment in the oil-rich nation.

The report, entitled Getting it Right from the Start , focuses as much on economic challenges as urgent humanitarian and social challenges still facing the country. One of the report’s key recommendations is to maintain and even increase humanitarian aid to the many Southern Sudanese who still need it.

“The most important thing is to get the right balance between humanitarian and development assistance," said Surendrini Wijeyaratna, a spokesperson for Oxfam in South Sudan. "There are still emergency context because of localized conflicts, because the country is susceptible to droughts and floods and also because there are still quite a lot of people returning from north Sudan to South Sudan.”

Another area on which the report urges international focus is conflict. South Sudan’s independence is the direct result of a peace agreement reached in 2005 after a 20-year war with Khartoum.

But the end of the bloody civil war has not brought peace and stability to the region. During the past year there have been clashes with northern forces, chiefly over disputed borders in the oil-rich Abyei region. But much of the violence in the South has been local.

As many as five rebel militias have been active in South Sudan since the country elected for independence in January. There is also increasingly frequent inter-ethnic violence between communities over livestock and land. Recent tribal clashes in the Jonglei state in August left more than 600 dead.

The report estimates more than 2,600 people have been killed in violent conflicts this year, while another 275,000 have been displaced.

The constant conflict in South Sudan has crippled both agricultural production and social structures, a problem the coalition says must be addressed or, at least, understood.

“The impact of conflict in South Sudan is pervasive," said the spokesperson. "There has been the legacy of decades of conflict that people here are living with. But also, if you look at the last year, within South Sudan levels of violence are still very concerning.”

Getting it Right from the Start also called for help strengthening the capacity of the government of South Sudan, as well as the country’s civil society. The coalition is urging the development of policies that prioritize the social protection of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Organizations that signed the report include Oxfam International, the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council.

Don’t squander the chance to build a better South Sudan

Posted: September 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Aid agencies urge donors to get priorities for newest nation right from the start�

A coalition of 38 aid agencies today (Tuesday 06 September 2011) called on donors not to squander the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people of South Sudan, the world’s newest nation. The call came as new violence in Jonglei state increased emergency needs.

Donors are due to meet with Government of South Sudan officials over the next coming months to discuss development priorities. The country is one of the poorest in the world, with half the population living below the poverty line and, after decades of brutal war, is being built up almost from scratch.

In a joint report, the aid agencies, which include Oxfam, World Vision and the South Sudan Law Society, said it was vital that donors get their priorities for tackling poverty right from the start. �The report outlines key priorities for donors working to improve lives in South Sudan.

Mary Kudla, Acting Country Director from Oxfam in South Sudan said:�

"The war is over, and the struggle for independence achieved, but the struggle to ensure peace and safety for all and win the battle against extreme poverty in South Sudan is only just beginning. Today a 15 year girl is more likely to die in childbirth than finish school and people are still being displaced from their homes due to new violence. The excitement following the birth of a nation is hard to overstate, but the disillusionment following a failure to deliver change for the poorest would be equally severe. Donors need to get their policies on South Sudan right from the start."�

Crucially the report calls on donors to continue to provide emergency aid to the volatile nation and improve their understanding of conflict dynamics. �Already this year, some 2, 611 people have been killed in violent conflicts, with tribal clashes in�Jonglei�State in mid-August resulting in the deaths of at least 340 people and displacement of 26, 800. A further 275,000 people have already been displaced by violence this year which has hindered much needed agriculture and crop cultivation.�

Dong Samuel Luak, Secretary-General from the South Sudan Law Society said:

"South Sudan has a complex mix of emergency, recovery and development needs. �The country remains vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods and drought and is still susceptible to conflicts. As the recent clashes in Jonglei show, people still need emergency aid. Sustained humanitarian funding is required, along with increased support for basic services and security and justice provision.

The report also calls on donors to build up the capacity of the government of South Sudan, so it is able to provide more and better services for its people including effective security and rule of law across the country. Government structures are extremely weak and being built up from almost nothing, especially outside the main towns. The agencies say that it will take time for South Sudan to assume full responsibility for the delivery of services.�NGOs are currently responsible for the majority of basic service delivery in South Sudan, such as health, education and water and sanitation, and it’s vital that donors continue supporting these services as they support the government to build up its capacity to deliver these services itself.

The aid agencies also urged donors to support agriculture and income generating opportunities for the poorest communities �Currently only an estimated �4 per cent of arable land is cultivated, the production of livestock and fish is just a fraction of the potential and exports and trade between different regions of South Sudan are minimal.

Edwin Asante, Programme Director from World Vision South Sudan said:

"In Western Equatoria mangos lie rotting on the ground while traders import juice from neighbouring Uganda. �The local farmers’ association wants to buy a juicing machine, but they don’t have the money. Across the country, there is a complete absence of equipment and technology that would help South Sudanese farmers add value to their products. Wheat flour, maize flour, sugar and palm oil all available in abundance in their raw forms, are imported from neighbouring countries. Donors could change this and tap into South Sudan’s untapped potential."

The agencies also called on donors and the government to help build up social protection schemes to help the most vulnerable in South Sudan, such as cash transfers for those prone to food insecurity.