"Given its history, resources, ethno-political significance and location – at once both strategic and isolated – Unity state is today a territory of unique importance and complexity. Instability must be considered in light of the complicated history of this frontline state within the “old” Sudan, the strategic interests of national powers, and the complex web of relationships and shifting alliances among the state’s political and military actors. A new chapter is now being written, as the post-independence transition period has already prompted changes and will continue to influence the character and stability of the state. This background report analyses the series of inter-related pressures and the underlying governance crisis that together threaten continued destabilisation in Unity. It addresses concerns exclusive to the state, as well as those that exemplify challenges endemic to the emerging Republic. Now that South Sudan’s independence has been achieved, attention must turn to the stabilisation agenda at home. The perfect storm of stability deficits in Unity demands particular solutions, but it also demonstrates the scale of the challenge across the country. Popular expectations are high, as communities hope the new era will be marked by improved security, services and development, as well as more accountable government. The new government’s success will depend in large part on what can be achieved at the state and county level, rather than in the national capital. Much remains to be done at the centre, to be sure, but national and international actors must look beyond Juba, to the many challenges deferred not only in Unity but throughout the emerging Republic. "