UN Peace Chief begins four-day visit to South Sudan, says Revitalized Agreement key political framework for sustained peace
JUBA - It was a sunny day in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, when United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, touched down for a four-day tour of the world’s youngest nation.
High on USG Lacroix’s agenda: Meeting key political interlocuters, the UN family, civil society, as well as the diplomatic and donor communities.
Mr. Lacroix’s visit comes in the wake of a recent agreement by all signatories on a roadmap to push forward outstanding benchmarks contained within the 2018 peace deal, as South Sudan still struggles to deliver the peace, recovery, and development it promised its citizens, after the devastation wrought by repeated civil wars.
“There have been positive steps forward in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, but much more needs to be done,” stated the USG.
“We are here to encourage further progress in the implementation of the peace deal because it is the political framework which offers hope for South Sudan to achieve more stability,” he added.
USG Lacroix began his day with a briefing on the current state of play by senior leaders from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including it's support for a robust, competitive political process leading to free, fair and credible elections that will mark an end to the country’s extended transitional period.
This was followed by interactions with humanitarian partners and the donor community, given rising humanitarian needs at a time of greatly reduced donor funding.
USG Lacroix stressed the need for shoring up recovery, resilience, and expressed hope that, with continued support from international friends, future generations can look forward to brighter, more prosperous lives.
“It's important to try our very best so that the people of South Sudan can receive the humanitarian assistance that they need at this juncture,” he said.
“This is challenging because the world is, unfortunately, affected by many humanitarian crises; therefore, one of the goals of this visit is to learn from our partners what we can do to continue directing the international community's attention towards South Sudan,” he explained.
Climate shocks have exacerbated the dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan as the country grapples with some of the worst flooding in nearly a century, while soaring sub-national and intercommunal violence continues to create protection emergencies that UNMISS is proactively responding to.
It is against this complex backdrop of interconnected challenges that USG Lacroix, accompanied by the UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Earle Courtenay Rattrey, is undertaking this timely visit.