Durable solutions to South Sudan’s challenges hinge on successful political process, says UN Peace Chief at end of four-day tour

unmiss south sudan under-secretary-general jean-pierre lacroix humanitarian crisis chef de cabinet courtenay rattray

Under-Secretary-General for UN Peace Operations, Jean Pierre-Lacroix, wrapped up his four-day visit to South Sudan by assuring the citizens of the world's youngest nation full support from peacekeepers and humanitarians alike as they navigate the difficult road from war to peace. Photo by Priyanka Chowdhury/UNMISS

9 Nov 2022

Durable solutions to South Sudan’s challenges hinge on successful political process, says UN Peace Chief at end of four-day tour

Priyanka Chowdhury

Meeting top political actors. Undertaking a visit to Bor, Jonglei to gauge the impact of climate change and the United Nation’s efforts to build community confidence. Engaging with women’s representatives and civil society to hear their asks as South Sudan prepares for elections. Engaging with humanitarian partners and the donor community.

It’s been a meaningful and productive trip for the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Courtenay Rattrey, and Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

The former is a first-time visitor to the world’s newest nation while the latter can be described as a peacekeeping veteran.

Where both these top UN officials coalesce, though, is their belief that for sustained peace to flourish galvanizing political will is critical.

“It’s clear that ultimately a durable solution to the challenges of South Sudan will come from a successful political process. The solution is political,” said USG Lacroix.

Chef de Cabinet Rattray agrees.

“What we all aspire to is stabilization of the situation in this country, followed by sustainable and enduring peace,” he stated.

The four-day visit by this high-powered delegation from UN Headquarters has played out against a backdrop where South Sudan is reeling from climate shocks in the form of floods while intercommunal violence continues to surge.

Consequently, there is a growing humanitarian crisis while donor funding is greatly reduced. Both officials stressed that UNMISS and humanitarian partners are doing everything in their power to support the most vulnerable.  

“One of the important goals of this visit is to convey the messages we have received on the ground to Member States, including the donor community, about how important it is to keep the situation in South Sudan high on the international agenda,” revealed USG Lacroix, especially considering competing humanitarian crises worldwide.

Crucially, Mr Lacroix emphasized that working to establish peace and stability in South Sudan is a collective effort, highlighting the international community’s hope for tangible progress in ongoing peace mechanisms.

“We recognize positive steps in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement but more needs to be done and this is a message we have conveyed to our South Sudanese interlocuters. Building peace in South Sudan is primarily the responsibility of the South Sudanese people and their leaders. We are duty-bound and committed to assist and hope there will be sustained implementation of the peace deal,” he averred.

Wrapping up his visit, USG Lacroix has a simple but eloquent message for communities here: “My message to the population of South Sudan is that we’re committed to supporting you, but more importantly, we’re committed to empowering you.”

That support and empowerment includes the full range of peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding activities, ranging from protecting civilians to supporting the constitution-making process and preparations for elections so South Sudanese citizens have the right to elect their leaders and determine their own future.