Consultations give Civil Society Organisations in South Sudan the opportunity to provide feedback to the UN regarding their peacebuilding architecture.
Peacebuilding is a dynamic field, and the UN recognised that through the appointment of an Advisory Group of Experts (UN AGE) on UN Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA) in early 2015. To provide input from South Sudanese Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) to the AGE on the UN PBA, ACCORD arranged consultations for national civil society actors in South Sudan from 30th April to 1st May 2015. The input will go directly into UN policy discussions, as the AGE were nominated by the UN Secretary-General to perform a policy and institutional review of the peace building architecture and subsequently propose recommendations.
Organised at Juba Regency Hotel in Juba, South Sudan, the consultation brought together 18 CSO representatives in South Sudan. The South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission was also represented by Ms Betty Abauo. Three members of the AGE were represented: Ms Edith Grace Ssempala (Former Director, International Affairs, Office of the World Bank’s Vice-President for External Affairs, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative for the African Union), Mr Anis Bajwa (Former Director of the Division on Policy Evaluation and Training, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste) and Mr Funmi Olonisakin (Director, Security Leadership and Society Programme, King’s College London, and former member of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict).
The discussion was an opportunity for the CSO representatives to gather together and deliberate on the opportunities and challenges in peacebuilding, and the UN PBA in South Sudan. The climax of the two-day forum was a two-hour roundtable event, where the CSOs provided AGE with first-hand information on the peacebuilding context, the lessons learned and experiences of the UN PBA in South Sudan. The information can be utilised by UN AGE to compile its report to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
The civil society recommendations included but were not limited to the need for the UN PBA to provide/facilitate greater funding and capacity building for national CSOs, and information and experience sharing forums that could facilitate greater coordination and coherence of peacebuilding efforts between different stakeholders in South Sudan. The CSOs also recommended the UNPBA to focus more on long-term project implementation with an emphasis on community ownership and sustainability, consideration of local contexts, and adequate monitoring, evaluation and exit strategies. The CSOs emphasised that the UN PBA should place greater emphasis on women empowerment in South Sudan, with directly supporting and investing heavily on local women associations, and grassroots initiatives on a long-term basis.
The ACCORD will continue to assist with the UN PBA review by facilitating the regional UN PBA review on East Africa to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11-12 May 2015.