United Nations, Mar 9 : September’s UN-backed South Sudan peace agreement is holding and has led to positive change, but tens of thousands of civilians in the war-weary nation are still reliant of life-saving humanitarian assistance, and time is running out, the message that David Shearer, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan, relayed to the Security Council.
Although South Sudan has seen relatively stability for some five months, the population is still facing high levels of food insecurity, and an absence of health and education services.
Mr Shearer pointed out that the aid received by South Sudan in 2018 – some $1 billion – is more than twice the country’s state budget, a situation he described as unsustainable: “It is a reality that South Sudan’s leaders often forget - or take for granted - that their country is supported by taxpayers around the world.”
The UN envoy added that United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other agencies are focusing on building up the resilience of communities in more stable regions of the country, in order to promote a shift away from reliance on aid.
Mr Shearer warned that there are just two months to go until a transitional government, which will include representatives of the main opposition is scheduled to take office, and that a failed peace process could herald a return to violence, “The cost of failure is unthinkable. So, while responsibility lies primarily with the parties to the conflict, it also is beholden on us all to ensure that we move forward together to make this agreement a reality for the sake of the people of South Sudan.”