South Sudan sits at a critical crossroad, with swift action needed to quell chronic intercommunal clashes, ramp up assistance to ever more communities in need, and advance progress towards a durable peace, senior UN officials told the Security Council on Monday.
“We see 2023 as a ‘make or break’ year and as a test for all parties on the peace agreement,”said Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Briefing the Council on the UN Secretary-General’s latest report on South Sudan, he offered a priority action plan for the critical phase of implementing the nation’s milestone 2018 peace agreement designed to end a devastating civil war.
He also shared progress and reflections during the reporting period of 1 December to 15 February, which saw escalating humanitarian needs amid violence, displacement, hunger, climate shocks, and public health.
Drafting a new constitution is a critical opportunity to foster harmony and prevent a repeat of the civil conflict that has defined the last decade, he said. This requires an inclusive process that gives a voice to all South Sudanese, including marginalized communities, he said, calling on the Government to fast-track the process, including ending Parliament’s lengthy recess.
Following a Government request for assistance ahead of the planned elections in 2024, he said a 2021 assessment mission indicates that efforts should focus on creating the architecture and environment for safe elections.