The initiative “South Sudan: Supporting a Sustainable Solution to the Conflict” aims for a peaceful and sustainable transformation process in South Sudan by engaging on three levels: the regional, national and local. Past peace agreements have focused on the national actors, and have not adequately addressed local stakeholders. Berghof’s initiative in South Sudan works in partnership with other key stakeholders, such as the African Union and civil society, in order to support a comprehensive agreement on all levels.
2017 - 2019
South Sudan has been affected by various states of political conflict for more than half a century, with short periods of peace, still punctuated with local violence and anti-government insurgencies. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005)led to a period of relative peace however, internal divisions within the SPLM government came to the surface after South Sudan voted for independence in 2011, culminating in an outbreak of a new civil war in December 2013.
The war quickly spread to the countryside where the parties manipulated ethnicity and local grievances to mobilize civilian support. A peace agreement, known as ARCSS, was signed in August 2015, and provided for the return of the political elites into a Government of National Unity. However, fighting resumed in Juba in July 2016. Now few South Sudanese are not feeling the repercussions of the civil war. UN officials are warning of signs of a potential genocide and the economy is close to hyperinflation. The first global famine in six years has recently been declared in South Sudan. According to UNHCR, South Sudanese fleeing to neighboring countries to escape violence and famine now number 1.6 million.
The complex dynamics between and within stakeholder groups requires a multi-faceted approach engaging key actors at all levels. This is too wide in scope for any one actor and requires careful coordination and facilitation with partners at all levels, from regional bodies to those motivated by local grievances. Berghof’s project will play a role in connecting the various actors on the different levels to change engagement from a piecemeal approach to a comprehensive one.
The primary goal of the project is to first find a means to reduce violence and improve humanitarian access in South Sudan so that the immediate needs can be met. Building on this initial outcome, the project will aim to support a sustainable peaceful solution to the conflict through a comprehensive political process which includes all key stakeholders.
The project is carried out in partnership with the African Union Mediation Support Unit to support the work of the High Representative of the AUC Chairperson for South Sudan. The project will also partner with local civil society actors in South Sudan.
The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.