South Sudan peace agreement and modalities of building trust
This is the second event co-hosted by the two institutions under a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to create a platform to generate new ideas that are relevant to the drivers of conflict in the Horn of Africa.
13 March 2019
On 6 March, IPSS in partnership with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a “Consultative Working Group Meeting on South Sudan”. This joint event aimed to generate ideas to identify policy implications for further engagement and further interaction on South Sudan. This is the second event co-hosted by the two institutions under a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to create a platform to generate new ideas that are relevant to the drivers of conflict in the Horn of Africa.
The opening remarks were given by Dr. Kidane Kiros, Director of IPSS and the discussion was moderated by Ms. Michelle Nidaye, Director of Africa Peace & Security Programme (APSP) at IPSS.
The general discussion reflected on:
The South Sudan peace agreement, with areas of divergence and recommendations
It was recognized that the overall timeline for peace agreements is always shorter than the number of tasks that need to be achieved and often the establishment of a roadmap does not necessarily mean people know how to implement them. However, custodians of peace agreements tend to be focused on immediate issues which have a backlog effect. There is an increased urgency and attention paid to the security arrangements in South Sudan and unmentioned is when the power-sharing government will be formed or of the deadline around the constitutional reform process or the committees that are expected to deliver on decisions.
Some of the elements mentioned for successful power-sharing included: Reflecting on what worked with the previous government and to set a clear agenda; comprehensive formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms; an oversight role of the international community and establish Sudanese citizens as guarantors of the agreement. IGAD should also be guarantors with a clear buy-in from its Member States to ensure regional stability.
Reflections on the ISS study on perceptions of South Sudan on peace and conflict
The study, entitled “Whose power are they sharing anyway,” shows that about 2 million refugees are yet be consulted on the implementation of peace agreements. The study carried out field visits in Gambella (Ethiopia) and Adjumani (Uganda) where about 100 respondents who expressed a high degree of frustration with their personal situation and the IGAD peace process, which they claim focused on power-sharing rather than other root causes of the conflict. The respondents highlighted that as refugees, they tend to be followers of internal security dynamics rather than influencers. There is a need for greater inclusion and participation of refugees in all processes as they are part of the guarantors for the sustainability of the peace agreement.
Part of the modalities highlighted of building trust within, with regional actors and donors
Consensus on the implementation of the peace agreement was on the need for inclusivity and for all local stakeholders to address the changing dynamics as local politics is national politics. In particular, recognizing that the survival of the agreement is fundamental to the African Union, the national, regional and international political will in South Sudan needs to converge. Although it was agreed that the people of South Sudan need to own the peace agreement, building trust with the citizenry, regional and international stakeholders ought to be prioritized by the new leadership.
Since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2005-2013, there has been growing scepticism from diverse stakeholders including the international community, nevertheless, the international community support should embed a holistic approach of support from political, financial, and humanitarian aspects among others.
However, it was also mentioned that the narratives on funding could be premature as the implementation of the peace agreement is still at its foundation. Participants commended the national dialogues and the ongoing commission of inquiry. Also, the international community was commended for continued efforts to ensure justice and accountability in South Sudan. Optimism was placed on the realization of a hybrid court for transitional justice in South Sudan.
Political dynamics and elections in 2022
Overall, participants highlighted that the possible issues to challenge the implementation of the peace agreement include :
In conclusion, it was agreed that the “People in South Sudan need a chance to live in peace”. The revitalization process of the agreement has taken five years to its current stage and there is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders to support South Sudan in its implementation of the peace agreement. The region is tired of volatility and is moving towards regional integration. In South Sudan, refugees have a right to return and the process is ongoing. It was also noted that tribalism is not just a South Sudanese problem but an African issue.
Click here to access the IPSS South Sudan conflict insights (category: peace and security report).
Click here to access the ISS report on South Sudan.