South Sudan

Situation in South Sudan - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2021/172)

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I. Introduction

  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2514 (2020), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to 15 March 2021 and requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate every 90 days. The report covers political and security developments, the humanitarian and human rights situation and progress towards the implementation of the Mission’s mandate since the previous report dated 9 December 2020 (S/2020/1180).

II. Political and economic developments

  1. The parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan made progress on the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. On 30 December, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, appointed deputy governors for six states. The incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity was allocated Jonglei, Western Bahr el-Ghazal and Western Equatoria while the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) was allocated Eastern Equatoria, Lakes and Unity. On 22 January, Mr. Kiir appointed deputy governors from the Other Political Parties coalition for Warrap, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Central Equatoria. Significantly, SPLM/A-IO and the Other Political Parties coalition adhered to the 35 per cent quota for women in their appointments. The reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the appointment of the Council of States, however, remained pending. The absence of county commissioners continued to affect the provision of social services, conflict mitigation and humanitarian action.

  2. On 29 January, following a six-month impasse over the position of Governor of Upper Nile, Mr. Kiir appointed Budhok Ayang Kur and James Tor Monybuny as Governor and Deputy Governor, respectively, of the state. On 28 January, he replaced the Governor of Warrap, Bona Panek Biar, with General Aleu Ayieny Aleu, stating subsequently that he had done so to improve law and order. On 30 January, the new officials were sworn in.

  3. With regard to the Abyei, Greater Pibor and Ruweng administrative areas, representatives of the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity and SPLM/A-IO agreed on 18 January to allocate 55 per cent of administrative posts to the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity, 27 per cent to SPLM/A-IO, 10 per cent to the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and 8 per cent to the Other Political Parties coalition.

Implementation of the Revitalized Agreement

  1. From 7 to 13 December, the senior commanders of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and the opposition participated in a training course on leadership, peacebuilding and reconstruction, held in Nairobi.

  2. The Joint Military Ceasefire Commission reported that, while it had registered 87,000 soldiers, the planned graduation and deployment of those forces had been further postponed. The lack of a coherent security strategy and funding impeded progress on the implementation of the transitional security arrangements and left cantonment and training in dire straits. On 28 January, at a reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission seminar on the transitional security arrangements, the Chair of the National Transitional Committee, Tut Gatluak, stated that Mr. Kiir had ordered the graduation of the necessary unified forces at the earliest possible opportunity.

  3. Following the review of the Public Financial Management and Accountability Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill of 2020 and the Southern Sudan National Audit Chamber Act of 2011, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee concluded a twoday stakeholder validation workshop in Juba on 1 December. The stakeholders proposed the inclusion of gender-based budgeting techniques and capacity-building for legislators, among other things. On 28 January, the Committee started to review the draft amendments to the Petroleum Revenue Act and the Public Financial Management and Accountability Act. On 28 January, the Committee reported to the First Vice-President the financial constraints that it faced and sought support from the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

Peace process developments

  1. From 1 to 5 December, SPLM/A-IO held its sixth national conference, in Juba, at which it reiterated its commitment to the Revitalized Agreement and called upon partners to work together to address the challenges faced in the peace process. The party recommended, inter alia, increasing the benchmark for the participation of women to 40 per cent, establishing an independently managed fund for the implementation of the Agreement, holding parties accountable for the past actions of defectors once they have joined them, and graduating the necessary unified forces.

  2. From 3 to 5 December, the Community of Sant’Egidio convened talks in Rome between the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance and the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity on the cessation of hostilities and a declaration of principles that was pending from the talks held in October. Howe ver, the parties were unable to agree on several issues, deferring them to the next round.

  3. On 5 December, Brigadier General Kennedy Ongie, the Commander of Section 9 of the Tafeng Division of SPLM/A-IO in Eastern Equatoria, defected to the National Salvation Front (NAS). On 10 January, the Chair of the Communication Committee and Spokesperson for the National Democratic Movement, David Lawrence Lual, resigned from the party, arguing that its leadership was flawed. On 22 January, the Khartoum-based faction South Sudan United Front-Progressive Peace announced its intention to return to the original group. On 1 February, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration of NAS resigned.

  4. On 21 January, Major General Defalla, the Deputy Chair of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, during a meeting of its Technical Committee held in Juba, noted that, although the ceasefire continued to hold, the defections from the opposition forces to the Government were a source of rising tension, in particular in Central Equatoria.

  5. On 26 January, SPLM/A-IO issued a press statement accusing government forces of attacking Banketa, Upper Nile, an SPLM/A-IO assembly area. It condemned the attack and demanded an immediate withdrawal of government forces to avoid escalation.

Regional engagements and developments

  1. On 20 December, the Vice-President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, attended the thirty-eighth Extraordinary Summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Government, in Djibouti. The Summit commended the parties for the progress made in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and appreciated the resumption of the Rome peace talks.

  2. On 10 January, the Deputy Chair of the Sovereign Council of the Sudan,
    Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, met Mr. Kiir in Juba and gave him a briefing on the implementation of the Juba Agreement for Peace in the Sudan.
    On 14 January, Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Adviser on Security Affairs, informed the Chair of the Sovereign Council of the Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, that Mr. Kiir had offered to mediate in the border conflict between Ethiopia and the Sudan over the disputed Fashaqah region.
    Other major national developments 15. On 27 January, while closing a peace conference in Juba for Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, Mr. Kiir called upon the communities to forgive each other and to coexist peacefully. In the conference communiqué, abductions, revenge and arbitrary killings and cattle raiding were condemned, and calls were made for justice and accountability, security and law enforcement, the strengthening of relationships with neighbouring communities, humanitarian interventions and the provision of socioeconomic and peacebuilding opportunities.

  3. In a statement issued on 26 January, the Jieng Council of Elders expressed concern about escalating community violence across the country, the co llapse of the economy and the lack of progress in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement. It also endorsed the outcomes of the national dialogue and recommended its implementation.

Economic situation

  1. The low price of oil has further depreciated the South Sudanese pound. The rising gap between the official rate and the parallel market rate continued to cause hardship and tension. Inflationary pressure has aggravated food insecurity for households, including those hosting a total of 1.24 million internally displaced persons living outside displacement sites.

  2. The national budget for 2020/2021 has not yet been approved. The proposed resource envelope for 2020/2021 indicated a fiscal deficit of over 50 per cent of the $1.3 billion budget, with no clear indication of how it would be funded. However, the Government continued with its public financial management reform agenda, with the National Revenue Authority eliminating unduly applied tax exemptions.

  3. Efforts to diversify the economy continued through the promotion by the Government of gum arabic exports and foreign investment as well as tourism.
    Separately, in January, South Sudan and the Sudan reached an agreement to increase oil production. In January, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, supported by the United Nations Development Programme, launched a review of the national development strategy for 2018–2021 in order to update and reflect national priorities for the transition period.