Building Peace in South Sudan: Progress, Problems and Prospects

This meeting reflected critically upon the challenges of, and prospects for, peacebuilding in South Sudan; and to examine the role of major actors – such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the Troika (comprising the United States [US], Britain, and Norway), and China – in supporting local and national peace processes. Visionary and transformative leadership by the South Sudanese ruling elite that prioritises inclusive statebuilding and peacebuilding is an imperative. Traditional authorities can play a critical role in this endeavour, but need to move away from ethnic exclusivism. Efforts should be made to encourage the creation of a National Council that brings together ethnic-based institutions, such as the Dinka and Nuer Councils of Elders, and aims to promote inclusivity and unity, while exerting a positive influence on the conduct of SPLA and SPLA-IO soldiers, as well as militia fighters. African leaders and organisations, including, in particular, IGAD and the AU, need to engage South Sudan’s political leadership in constructive dialogue for greater accountability for the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as respect for international humanitarian law. The AU Commission needs, as a matter of urgency, to establish the Hybrid Court of South Sudan, as envisaged in the Addis Ababa peace agreement, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of atrocities, and end impunity for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious crimes under international and South Sudanese law including sexual and gender-based violence. Conflict analysis and peacebuilding interventions need to address both notions of masculinities and women’s issues, for a holistic approach to achieving gender equality in South Sudan.