A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Amidst jubilant celebration, the new Republic of South Sudan entered the international stage in July 2011 albeit as one of the least developed countries in the world. The challenges and opportunities are enormous, and donors, the government, implementing agencies and most importantly the people of South Sudan have a lot at stake – but much more to gain.
Against a backdrop of chronic under-development, the country is acutely vulnerable to recurring conflict and climatic shocks. More than 220,000 people were displaced last year due to conflict and more than 100,000 were affected by floods; and already this year, fighting in the disputed border areas, clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia groups, disputes over land and cattle, and attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army, have forced nearly 300,000 people from their homes.
South Sudan is a complex context that challenges normal humanitarian and development paradigms. Such complexity has not always been reflected in the strategies of either donors or implementing agencies. This paper presents ten areas that the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and donors must prioritize in the first years of the country’s independence so as to ensure the best possible results for the people of South Sudan.
The joint NGO paper was written as part of Oxfam’s Conflicts and Disasters campaign aimed at highlighting the right to appropriate assistance and adequate protection for people caught in conflicts and crises. In light of independence the Government of South Sudan and many donors are seeking to establish aid and investment priorities and strategies. These new plans must:
- Continue support for humanitarian needs;
- Seek to prevent conflict;
- Support community and civil society participation;
- Ensure equitable development across the country;
- Prioritize vulnerable populations;
- Promote sustainable livelihoods;
- Strengthen government capacity;
- Enable an appropriate transition to government authorities;
- Provide timely and predictable funding;
- Engage in multi-sectoral integrated programming.
This is a critical time to get aid policies and programs right in order to ensure peace, security, and prosperity for the people of South Sudan.
Government of South Sudan, donors, and implementing agencies must:
- Balance development assistance with continued support for emergency humanitarian needs. Continue to support international humanitarian response institutions; strengthen efforts to build government emergency preparedness and disaster management capacity.
- Ensure an equitable distribution of assistance appropriately targeted to promote equitable social and economic development. Avoid unintentional exclusionary effects when determining geographic focus areas, prioritize the most vulnerable and ensure social protection.
- Promote pro-poor, sustainable livelihoods. Provide more substantial support for small-scale agricultural production, and better targeted livelihoods support in areas hosting large numbers of returnees.
- Allow sufficient time for transition towards government management of international aid. Build government capacity to manage aid funds, and build civil society capacity to engage in the budget development and monitoring process.
Statement from the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) (01 September 2011): This note summarizes views presented by the SSRRC and MFAIC at a meeting between representatives of government and 6 NGO representatives (on behalf of the 38 signatory agencies to the report) held in Juba on 31 August 2011. NGOs welcome the Statement from government representatives and invite further discussion on the recommendations in the report and the views shared in the government response.
Aid agencies that have signed up to the report are:
Action Against Hunger, ACTED, ADRA South Sudan, American Refugee Committee, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, AVSI, CARE, Caritas Luxembourg and Switzerland, CHF International, Cordaid, DanChurchAid, Danish Refugee Council, GOAL Ireland, Handicap International, HealthNet TPO, Humane Development Council, International Aid Services, ICCO, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, JEN, Malaria Consortium, Malteser International, Medair, Mennonite Central Committee, Mercy Corps, Merlin, Mission Aviation Fellowship International, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Pact, Plan South Sudan, Population Services International, Relief International, Saferworld, Save the Children, South Sudan Law Society, and World Vision.