South Sudan National Dialogue

05 November 2020


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, I would like to thank you for inviting me to this event.

May I also take this opportunity to commend all of those who have worked tirelessly to make this National Dialogue a process. The National Dialogue process this year is an opportunity for us to review progress over the past three years since the launch of this mechanism in 2017.

Since being declared independent in 2011, South Sudan has been on the pathway to bring sustainable peace. On behalf of the AUC Chairperson, I would also like to congratulate South Sudan for the peace accord and the establishment of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity.

In the context of my mandate as AUSE, I undertook several missions in South Sudan and spent 6 months with President Obasanjo as a member of the Commission of enquiry on South Sudan. I visited most of the regions and most of the IDP sites, met with all parties to the conflict, the communities, in particular the most affected population – women. I also jointly organised a solidarity mission with the UN Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNWomen. I have a reasonable understanding of the challenges that the people of this country have faced and continue to face and the resilience in the face of crisis.

As we all know, dialogue is critical to any conversation related to sustainable change as it helps us develop a sense of joint ownership of the process. This is why I am glad that we are all here as stakeholders to not just to identify new approaches and address common challenges, but to hold ourselves accountable for previous dialogue opportunities. Now more than ever, with emerging social crises and flooding, we can use the opportunity this dialogue presents to develop a set of social reforms options and help formulate an emergency economic plan.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

As we dialogue this year, there are a few things I would like to present for your consideration. The 2019 report of the AUC Chairperson on WPS highlights fundamental factors for a successful and sincere dialogue.

First, I think it is important to emphasise the need for inclusion both within the dialogues and with the outcomes of the dialogue. Including every stakeholder group will ensure that the dialogue is not a monologue and captures differing opinions, views and recommendations. On that note, it is very commendable that there is a deliberate effort to include refugees, internally displaced people and refugee returnees in this National Dialogue. This is demonstrative of the continuous commitment to building long-lasting peace. But we need to do a little more on inclusion. We need to ensure that we include our brothers and sisters who share differing opinions and viewpoints about the process. The impact of the dialogue session will not be complete without the full involvement of all key state actors. I enjoin the government of South Sudan to rally around all actors for their full support in this dialogue session.

As we include all stakeholder groups, we must ensure that these groups have the required legitimacy to speak for the constituency groups they represent. While people must be represented, inclusion also means ensuring that people feel represented. Similarly, may I enjoin delegates and parties to this dialogue to continue to remain accountable and be mindful of their responsibilities to the people they represent.  

Permit me to note with appreciation that the Government and People of the Republic of South Sudan continue to demonstrate commitment to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. As many of us know, we are commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which provides the framework for our engagement on the WPS Agenda. Since launching the National Action Plan in 2015 considerable progress has been made including integration with the Law Review Commission. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare for developing the National Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for monitoring gender mainstreaming across all government structures. However, there are still opportunities for rapid improvement. From a participation point of view, for example, women make up only 5% of the military, 10% of the police force and only 2% of the judiciary. For us to have sustainable peace, we need to ensure representation and participation of women across all spheres ensuring that we meet the 35% quota for women inclusions at all levels.

I am sure the values of human rights we all respect, a faith in a South Sudan we will continue to be proud of and the visions enshrined in Agenda 2063 will motivate us to continue to work together irrespective of the expression of our differences. Our common vision of delivering on a transformative agenda requires us to work together across various aisles and various leanings. I believe this will improve the quality of our engagements.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

I must recognise the difficult contexts within which these conversations are situated. We are dealing with a climate disaster and floods within communities in the countries. COVID-19 continues to test the resilience of our already challenges health, social and economic systems. Increasing communal clashes exposing people to a new type of risks.  All of these continue to exposing people, particularly girls and women, to increasing humanitarian challenges despite reduced incomes across the world.

Our conversations during the dialogue must recognise these contexts. Our discussions should therefore focus on lasting durable solutions while exploring quick wins. Lasting solutions require that we build a just society with strong mechanisms. It requires us to explore comprehensive security sector reform. It requires us to focus on building an inclusive economy that creates opportunities for young people and women traditionally excluded from existing systems.

In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the African Union Commission and especially, the AU Representation in South Sudan and my Office to support the roadmap for the implementation of the peace process. My office will continue to work with women groups across the country to build women leadership for continued engagement in the peace process.

Thank you for your attention and I wish you a fruitful deliberation.