UN Peace Chief visits Bor, reiterates UN’s commitment to helping build enduring peace in South Sudan
JONGLEI - As South Sudan grapples with continued conflict, rising humanitarian needs and a flagging peace process that urgently needs all parties to galvanize political will, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix travelled to Bor, Jonglei state, an area where communities have been severely impacted by intercommunal violence, flooding, and cattle raids.
His focus: To see firsthand the work done by the United Nations family and get an overview of the challenges in the region.
“Flooding caused by climate change has impacted populations here,” said USG Lacroix.
“But floods also cause access challenges for peacekeepers and humanitarian actors. This is a population that needs support for development and for humanitarian aid,” he added.
The top UN official began his day meeting government leaders to reinvigorate greater collaboration between the UN Peacekeeping mission, UNMISS, and state authorities to effectively tackle critical challenges faced by communities.
The Governor of Jonglei, Denay Jock Chagor, was appreciative.
“This is the meeting that we have been looking for,” stated Governor Chagor. “We shared a wide range of issues, especially with regard to the roadblocks in fully implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement at the state level, as well as day-to-day challenges being faced by our citizens,” he explained.
Across Jonglei, livestock equals livelihoods but is also a driver of conflict, with cattle rustling often leading to death, displacement, and destruction of properties. However, USG Lacroix was heartened by testimonies from cattle keepers in Makuach who benefit from partnerships between the UN family, international NGOs and the South Sudan Trust Fund for Reconciliation, Stabilization, and Resilience designed to reduce violence in the community.
“I have been very impressed by colleagues who are supporting livestock owners. We all know how important cattle are to the fabric of South Sudan and the sustenance animals are receiving, thanks to all partners involved in this project, is genuinely peacebuilding in action. This is the sort of help that truly enables communities to recover and rebuild their lives,” revealed the USG.
Difficult terrain and inclement weather were some challenges that USG Lacroix was briefed on by UNMISS peacekeepers, who demonstrated their use of amphibian all-terrain vehicles that are expected to enhance the mission’s ability to protect civilians
Other highlights from his day-long trip to Bor included the inauguration of a road rehabilitated by UNMISS engineers from South Korea and a Guard of Honour.
USG Lacroix’s visit, by his own admission, ended on a note of hope.
“I am grateful for the warm welcome by our government partners and for a chance to see the immense integration between UNMISS, humanitarian Agencies, Funds and Programmes, nongovernmental organizations and community members,” he revealed at the end of the day.
“There is a lot more to be done for the people of Jonglei and the people of South Sudan, but I am hopeful that with team efforts like what I have witnessed on the ground today, we will be able to make a tangible difference. I want to assure everyone that the UN is committed to helping build a durable peace for all South Sudanese.”
USG Lacroix was accompanied by the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Courtenay Rattrey as well as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom.