JUBA – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Nicolas Haysom has said that South Sudan is on what he called ‘cusp’ to becoming a peaceful and a stable country, but said there is need for trust building efforts to realize that.
The United Nations diplomat was speaking during the opening session of South Sudan’s 5th Governors’ Forum in Juba on Tuesday which is being held under the theme: “Role of the States and Special Administrative Areas in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement for a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Sudan.”
“South Sudan lies at the cusp of a breakthrough: to becoming a peaceful, stable, and prosperous country for the first time since its independence. But the memory and trauma of conflict run deep,” UNMISS’ Haysom said.
“Trust therefore will be essential in forging a united front for national stability. It is the foundation for reimagining an inclusive social contract, by which people can live together in harmony. Where institutions lack sufficient trust, citizens may not cooperate,” he added.
“But where trust exists, governments and citizens can engage together on a shared agenda. I acknowledge that effective political systems are not achieved overnight. This depends on the sustained and collective will of leaders from all sides. I am confident this Forum will be another step towards the national effort to end decades of suffering of the people of South Sudan,” he continued.
Haysom said the parties to the revitalized peace agreement signed in 2018 have made progress, especially in chapter 1 of the deal and noted that ceasefire was holding across the country which he said creates conducive environment for the implementation of the peace agreement.
“Furthermore, the permanent constitution-making process is in progress. Now, the people and leaders of South Sudan can come together to agree on a legitimate, popular, and inclusive system of constitutional governance that is best suited for this country,” Haysom said.
“I strongly encourage you to see the constitution-making and upcoming electoral processes as important benchmarks in the march towards peace and stability. A sense of urgency is required, not a business-as-usual approach,” he added.
The top UN diplomat in South Sudan further urged the parties to make more progress on the parts of the security arrangements which provides for the reunification of the country’s rival forces.
“There is now a collective duty to finalize a coherent command and control structure for the graduation and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces. formation of the unified forces is only an initial step in a complex but essential process of constructing a national army that serves the interests of the nation—one that is a symbol and mirror of all its people,” Haysom said.
“The peace agreement calls on the Revitalized Government to consult youth groups and to ensure that youth representatives participate in the constitution-making and peace implementation processes,” Haysom added.
“Their voices and demands—for livelihoods, jobs, and education—must be heard so that they too can be positive agents of change,” he said.