WFSS joined the world in celebrating the independence of South Sudan on July 11, 2011, and also watched in dismay as conflict erupted in December of 2013. Since then the peace process has been a series of deals, cease-fires and broken agreements.
A recent editorial in the New York Times stresses that the only way for peace to last is for the US and United Nations to apply continued pressure on the South Sudanese. During President Obama's recent trip to East Africa he stressed the importance of holding South Sudan, and its neighbors, accountable in maintaining peace in South Sudan. Read the full editorial, A Peace Plea for South Sudan for more.
In another op-ed, appearing in The Daily Beast, Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast writes that the biggest obstacle to peace in South Sudan is the nature of the state itself. Prendergast notes that the only way that lasting peace will hold is to dismantle the violent kleptocracy that has become the norm. In its short life as a nation, governing institutions have been hijacked for personal enrichment and advancement by rival factions of military and civilian officials. Prendergast also notes the need for continued pressure from the US to root out corruption. He also urges a search for the assets that have been stolen so that they may be returned to the South Sudanese people. Read the full essay, Saving South Sudan from Kleptocracy.
Finally, James Copnall, a South Sudan analyst, talks about the obstacles facing the South Sudan peace process in South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace. He notes five obstacles, including the leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the terms of the deal, the involvement of South Sudan's regional neighbors, possible lack of unity on both sides of the conflict, and, deepening ethnic animosity among a people who have hardly known anything but war.
Continued pressure and attention from regional neighbors, and the world community are clearly needed to move the peace process along. The world's newest nation is still learning how to walk, and requires the aid and assistance of those who helped bring it to birth, to help it grow into a sustainable country, able to support itself.
Here at Water for South Sudan, we continue to monitor what's happening in South Sudan and share perspectives from a variety of sources both in that country and elsewhere. Our South Sudan team also helps to keep us informed. To date, the unrest in the country has not affected their ability to carry out operations.