Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock: Opening and Closing Statements at the High-Level Humanitarian Event on South Sudan
UN Headquarters, New York, 25 September 2018
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this high-level event on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.
This is a good moment for the event, two weeks into the signing of the revitalized peace deal by the South Sudanese parties to the conflict.
This gives us an opportunity to take stock of the humanitarian situation, and especially to hear from affected people, and to discuss ways in which the humanitarian community is reaching people, despite the challenges that we face.
To set the tone of our conversation today, I invite you to watch the first of two short videos we will be seeing today from South Sudan.
That video gave a sobering message. And the people in it are the same as us in every respect – they want health care, they want schools, they want to have hope in their futures, and the single thing they want most is peace.
In the meantime, they want the assistance humanitarians can provide in a more consistent, sustained way, notwithstanding all the challenges.
We will now move onto our panelists and then the second video with voices of South Sudanese aid workers.
Thank you very much. I would like to thank all panelists and participants for their commitment to the millions of people affected by the crisis in South Sudan. I would just like to summarize some of the issues we have heard here today.
Firstly, the central issue is the crucial importance of an inclusive and sustainable peace, without which there will be no end to the crisis.
As a first step, the Government, with its supporters and neighbours, needs to build on and implement the recently-signed agreements. Thank you for the continued engagement from neighbouring countries.
Second, as long as fighting continues, parties to conflict must comply with international law, and they should expect to be held to account on this front. Attacks on civilians, especially on South Sudanese aid workers, have to stop. There has to be accountability.
Third, the whole humanitarian system has to work in a principled manner with a focus on the people affected by the conflict. The diversity of the response systems, including national organizations, was demonstrated in today’s discussion, and must be supported. Thank you again, Angelina [of Hope Restoration South Sudan], for your important contribution.
Fourth, we do need to ask our generous donors to sustain the large response for the crisis, both for life-saving elements and to enable us to get beyond the situation where we are looking at the response one year at a time, and to get into an approach that is longer-term, with a stronger focus on stabilization, resilience and recovery from the conflict.
As part of that I want to echo Angelina’s plea to put more resources in the hands of national organizations. And to work to strengthen them so they can absorb and use these resources. They are the ones who are always there, and who will always be closest to the people.
Finally, we showed you those videos because we wanted you to hear the voices of the people of South Sudan, like Mona, Atu and Peter.
The more we are guided by what they and their fellow South Sudanese say, the better job we will do.