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House of Commons International Development Committee: UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs Nick Dyer’s Visit to South Sudan

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The UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer returned to South Sudan between 17-22 July 2021, after his initial visit in November 2020 when six counties of South Sudan were assessed to be at risk of extreme food insecurity and famine-like conditions.

The visit assessed the international and government response to the humanitarian emergency in South Sudan, and included visits to Kuacjok and Tonj North in Warrap State.

The Special Envoy was very pleased to meet H.E. Riek Machar, First Vice President, H.E. Mme Rebecca Nyandeng Garang de Mabior, Vice President and Hon. Josephine Lagu, Minister for Agriculture. He discussed the Government’s efforts to address food insecurity, the safety of aid workers, and how best to develop sustainable agricultural practices and build resilience. The Special Envoy welcomes the new Youth Employment Committee, headed by the First Vice President and Vice President Mme Rebecca’s work to engage directly with communities to resolve issues.

In Warrap, the Special Envoy met the Governor, Hon Gen. Aleu Ayieny Aleu along with other government officials to discuss the current situation and identify what more needs to be done to address the food security issues in the state.

The Special Envoy also met with a wide range of beneficiaries of food assistance, including displaced persons and reviewed the work of nutrition and primary healthcare facilities, as well as visiting a school where he saw the value of cash transfers in boosting girls’ enrolment. It was extremely valuable and reassuring to see that some of South Sudan’s most vulnerable people are receiving life-saving assistance, but it is clear that primary health care facilities are overloaded, especially with rising malaria cases. The Special Envoy calls upon the Government to approve a credible budget to ensure that those providing essential services are paid their salaries.

The visit has underlined the serious concerns that remain regarding the levels of insecurity and instability in South Sudan. The UK wishes to reaffirm that violence aimed at the humanitarian workers who are working every day to save people’s lives is completely unacceptable, as are reports of the looting and destruction of humanitarian assistance. It is essential that the Government of South Sudan holds perpetrators of violence to account and ensured the safety and security of all aid workers and assets across South Sudan.

The frustrations that the young people of South Sudan experience are clear to see, and it is deeply regrettable that South Sudanese everywhere are yet to see the benefits of peace, but issues must be resolved peacefully through discussion and engagement rather than violence. Employment opportunities, development and private investment will only come once the immediate challenges of violence are resolved.

The Special Envoy, and the United Kingdom, calls on the government at all levels to work together to tackle violence and to ensure that assistance can be provided to meet the needs of the most vulnerable without threats or hindrance.

The United Kingdom thanks UNMISS, WFP, UNICEF, World Vision, GESS, HPF and their partners for their work in South Sudan and for their support with the visit of the Special Envoy.