Remarks of President Kiir to the Summit on Horn of Africa Crisis

Posted: September 9, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Speeches

Remarks of H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit
President of the Republic of South Sudan

The Summit on the Horn of Africa Crisis
“Ending Drought Emergencies”
A Commitment to Sustainable Solutions:

Your Excellency, Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya

Your Excellencies Heads of Delegation

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to bring greetings from the people of South Sudan who have recently attained their independence on July 9th, 2011, and also sincere sympathy from the people of South Sudan to our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa, who are heavily affected by the drought, especially in Somalia and the Northern part of Kenya.

It is now general knowledge; that the Horn of Africa countries are facing one of the worst natural disasters for the last three decades. According to the UN and other agencies, the current rainy season is the driest since 1950. This has caused a major food crisis in the region that has escalated to famine within our Region. The number of countries and populations affected magnifies the disaster.

This crisis is not about loss of crops and livestock, alone. It is about more than that. It is about the loss of lives. It is about the loss of habitat and ecology. It is about the loss of serenity and culture. And most of all, it is about the impact of this crisis on the security which is deeply alarming. I mean security in the larger sense of the term, that is to say, food security, physical security, national security and health security.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to draw your attention to the movement of our affected population who have been internally displaced meanwhile others have sought refuge across international borders. Some of the international reception centers and refugee camps are hosting more than they can accommodate. Should any out-break occur in these centers, it could be disastrous to the affected population and beyond. Unless we take urgent, collective and concerted measures into account in this region, such conditions are recipes for instability in an already conflict-ridden region.

We are grateful to the United Nations, and other agencies both International and National, and to our friends and allies for their support and assistance on yet another crisis-time in the Horn of Africa region.
Aid in funds and in kind is pouring into the affected region. But the needs are overwhelming and the funding gap is still huge.

Since the Ethiopian ‘catastrophic famine’ of 1984-1985, the region, the UN, the international relief non-governmental organizations and the international community at large have come a long way and have accumulated knowledge on the logistics, diplomacy and security realities of drought and famine emergency aid. Early warning systems related to drought patterns and food shortages are now believed to be generally accurate. However, official governmental response; national, regional, continental and international­­, is lagging behind and below the required funding to adequately confront the food crisis. Now is the right time for concerted actions to avert future famine in our Region.

Dissemination of information and raising awareness of the people of the region regarding the drought and food crisis is paramount. Affected countries need to mobilize their societies as a whole including the general public, private sectors, civil societies, religious organizations and political parties. Each of these components needs to contribute to addressing this disaster. The Private sector in particular can also commit resources towards research, small projects in the drought-affected localities as well as in the implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

South Sudan has just joined the international community of nations on the 9th of July 2011 as an independent nation. Today marks the passage of two months since the proclamation of the independence of South Sudan. As a new nation, we are also affected by the current food crisis. There is stoppage of cross-border trade by the Government of Sudan, which has affected four of our states that border Sudan. We continue to face challenges integrating the returnees who have come back to South Sudan. This challenge has been compounded by the most recent fighting in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States as refugees have fled into South Sudan. All of these people are now fully dependent on food assistance.

However my Government remains committed to creating alternative reliable sources for food import other than what we get from Sudan. We will also devote adequate resources for rehabilitation of our agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors in order to bridge the food shortages and enhance our food security.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

We are also committed to sustainability of rural life in all key sectors. It is the vision of our country to ‘take the towns to the villages’. Our former Leader, Dr John Garang de Mabior, articulated this vision repeatedly. It is the responsibility and the duty of my Government to make it a living reality. We need not reinvent the wheel; there are existing initiatives, frameworks and regional strategies, which need to be streamlined, coordinated and introduced to national programmes that already exist. My Government will adopt the Nairobi Action Plan and ensure that it is included in our Three Year Development Plan for implementation.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

In conclusion, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to the President and Government of Kenya for organizing this Regional Summit to consider the drought situation affecting the Horn of Africa Region. It is timely and opportune as it comes in the aftermath of the Africa Union Pledging Conference on the same theme. And in this regard I wish to reaffirm our earlier pledge to contribute One Million United States Dollars to be devoted to the ongoing efforts to combat the devastating effects of the drought that has affected our Region. This contribution is modest and may only be a drop in the ocean in terms of the enormous needs that have to be met. However we consider it an important symbolic gesture that underscores our commitment to the Region.

We know the Kenyan people and Government are resilient, industrious and generous. Kenya stood by the people of South Sudan for many years.
Kenya continues to support the Government and the people of South Sudan to consolidate peace, prosperity and independence. South Sudan will stand by Kenya and the countries of the Horn of Africa region in every way we can. Together we will rebuild our affected communities, assist them to reclaim their lands and livelihoods and gradually regain their confidence to build up their food security.

May God bless us all.

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