Statement by Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, at the Sixth Governor’s Forum
President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
First Vice President of the Republic and all the Vice-Presidents
Rt. Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speakers,
State Governors and Administrators of Administrative Areas
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of Parliament and the Council of States,
Excellencies and distinguished guests,
I am deeply honored to address the commencement of the Sixth Governor’s Forum, which recognizes the urgency of implementing the 2022 Roadmap. This is an opportunity to reflect on South Sudan’s recommitment to the Revitalized Peace Agreement. I commend the leadership of South Sudan’s government and the parties for reaching a consensus on the way forward and the ratification of the Roadmap only last week by the Transitional National Legislature.
I am pleased to see the nation’s leaders - from the bomas, payams, counties and capitals - coming together under one roof under the leadership of the government of the country. And over the next week, you will take forward conversations generated at state-level to inform a common understanding of priorities and challenges at the national level. A key theme of your deliberations will be the pathways towards a stable and prosperous nation so that every woman, man and child can benefit both peace and the natural abundance of this country. This process carries with it the added strength of the states moving together with the center, reinforced by the participation of civil society, of partners and the international community. We look forward to the full inclusion of women’s voices in this important dialogue.
Your Excellencies and distinguished guests,
The Roadmap relies on the Revitalized Peace Agreement as the central framework to achieve a durable peace in South Sudan. Implementation is not merely a box-ticking exercise: its success is heavily dependent on you – your leadership (that is the governors), your insights, your compromises, the civic space you respect and your creative engagement. It is a process for which the UN family remains your steadfast partners, as it is envisaged in our own mandates.
I recognize the crucial efforts of parliamentarians in passing foundational bills for the Roadmap’s implementation, including on constitution making and elections. Building from this, we look forward to the reconstitution of key bodies to jumpstart the national conversation toward good governance and the goal of representative democracy.
From our end, and at the request of the African Union Peace and Security Council, we have established a trilateral task force with the AU and IGAD/RJMEC, to coordinate our support to the government in the permanent constitution-making process and the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. It is critical that international community be aligned and in consonance with your own advocacy.
Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I share your concerns over the increasing insecurity across the country. Citizens in Upper Nile, the Equatorias, Unity, Jonglei, Warrap and elsewhere continue to be the impacts by subnational violence in their communities. Insecurity remains the primary driver of humanitarian needs in South Sudan, with 8.9 million people in need of assistance. This is compounded by bigger collective challenges like climate change, flooding and food insecurity. Addressing these require coordinated interventions from the national and subnational levels and, here, I cannot emphasize enough the role of Governors as a connector between the center and the periphery.
Moreover, UNMISS deeply values the role of Governors in exercising political leadership to promote harmony, unity and peaceful co-existence – including through their presence in the constituencies they serve. Governors are often the most critical change agents in securing the political solutions which are needed to move the Roadmap forward and to create opportunities for sustainable development.
I also want to recognize an issue of importance to many Governors here today, which is the proliferation of weapons. This has exacerbated conflicts within and between some states, and I join the governors’ calls for an accelerated, national program of peaceful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
In addressing all these challenges, I want to recognize the successful graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) and urge the finalization of deployment plans and a move towards phase two to enable the unified forces to contribute to intercommunal harmony, including in the states. I reiterate the steadfast support of UNMISS to the Transitional Government of National Unity as it carries out its responsibility to protect its civilians in South Sudan.
Honorable Governors and State Representatives,
You will lead us in the protection of the displaced and returnees, provide them with shelter, address their security needs and to lead them towards overcoming the various economic, social and environmental challenges they face.
I commend the resolutions of Governors Forum of 2021 and I urge that you implement to advance the interests of governance, peace, and security. In that regard, UNMISS recommends the creation of a dedicated Secretariat to expedite the fulfilment of the resolutions from these Forums.
In the same light, I wish to respectfully encourage all the stakeholders to the Roadmap, to avoid any further slippage of time in reconstituting the following:
- the Political Parties Council;
- the National Constitutional Review Commission;
- the Constitutional Drafting Committee; and
- the National Elections Commission.
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I stated during the recent RJMEC meeting, we hold the view that the extension of the transitional period is a second mortgage on the Revitalized Peace Agreement—one which must be repaid in good faith and on time.
I encourage you to renew your commitment to public service, maintain presence and accessibility in your jurisdictions and personally lead from the front in your states. I particularly urge you to lead the charge in addressing the protection of civilians and peace consolidation in your respective states. Finally, I encourage you to make extra efforts to bring on board civil society, women and youth as you jointly prepare the groundwork for a united, prosperous and democratic South Sudan.
With that, I thank you and wish you successful deliberations.