Roads for Peace: UNMISS begins rehabilitating 300 km route connecting Jonglei and Greater Pibor
JONGLEI – When South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbour, Sudan, the country’s infrastructure needed much work.
Unfortunately, repeated civil wars massively affected this young nation’s ability to shore up basic services. Government buildings, power and water supplies as well as roads were destroyed.
The country’s climate hasn’t helped the process of rebuilding in the wake of a peace deal. Heavy floods often leave roads impassable during the long rainy season, freezing travel, trade, and efforts to build peace.
But international partners such as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have extended a helping hand as part of its mandate to protect civilians and build peace.
Recently, engineers from South Korea serving with the UN Peacekeeping mission have begun repairing a nearly 308-kilometer stretch between Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
The advantages of this mammoth project: Providing access to services, increasing trade between areas which brings down the cost of goods in the market, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.
“Through roads, people from different communities build trust with each other; this deters conflict,” said Jonglei State Minister for Roads and Bridges, James Mawich Makuach.
“Peace comes when people are connected,” he explained succinctly.
Colonel Jong Sil Park, Commanding Officer of the South Korean engineers agrees.
“We are mandated to protect civilians and building social integration is key to that. The more people can convene, connect, and learn about one another, the greater the chances of a durable peace,” he averred.
An added benefit, according to Colonel Park, is greater mobility for peacekeepers and humanitarian partners.
The estimated time frame for the road to be completed is three months. The final route will connect Anyidi in Bor, Jonglei, with Gumuruk, Pibor, and Likwangulei counties in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
The project was inaugurated by Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and the UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Courtney Rattray.