1. Following the independence of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, the Economic and Social Council, through its resolution 2011/43, expressed interest in working with partners in addressing the extensive humanitarian, peacebuilding and development challenges facing the country. The present report is the sixth on South Sudan submitted to the Council since the country’s independence.
2. The first report (E/2012/76) outlined the support of the United Nations system for the Government of South Sudan and the building of local capacity after the country’s independence. The second report (E/2013/73) described the support provided to development and peacebuilding frameworks. The third report (E/2014/94) depicted how the outbreak of conflict in December 2013 reversed much of the progress made since independence. The fourth report (E/2015/74) provided a focus on the continuing impact of the conflict. The fifth report (E/2016/71), which was submitted in May 2016, before the crisis that took place in Juba in July of that year, emphasized efforts to support the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (Peace Agreement), signed in August 2015, and support for recovery and a shift from emergency humanitarian aid towards longer-term development priorities.
3. The present report outlines the major developments that have occurred since the previous report to the Council. In the first half of 2016, there was hope of returning to the path of peace and development, with significant steps being taken towards implementation of the Peace Agreement. A Transitional Government of National Unity was formed and, in April 2016, the opposition leader, Riek Machar, returned to Juba and was sworn in as First Vice-President. However, in July 2016, a violent crisis erupted in Juba as a result of the hardening of mutual suspicion and lack of trust between the parties. After several days of heavy fighting, Mr. Machar left Juba along with a number of his supporters.
4. This crisis was followed by continued instability and local fighting, a further severe deterioration of the humanitarian situation, erosion of social cohesion and deepening economic crisis. While the Peace Agreement remained recognized as the framework for the peace process, there was a further slowdown in the completion of the transitional milestones.
5. In December 2016, a national dialogue was launched by the Transitional Government of National Unity as a process for the people of South Sudan to clarify fundamental issues related to national unity and the structure of the State. At the same time, a technical committee was established to operationalize the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing within the framework of the Peace Agreement. In the first part of 2017, the humanitarian situation deteriorated even further, with a localized famine declared in February 2017 in some areas of the country.