South Sudan

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock opening remarks at briefing to Member States on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, 6 May 2021



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining today’s discussion on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

I’m pleased to be joined by South Sudan’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, His Excellency Mr. Peter Mayen Majongdit and Ms. Sibylle Katharina Sorg, Director-General for Crisis Prevention, Stabilization, Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Assistance at the German Federal Foreign Office.

We also have Gloria Ndong Morris, Head of the Titi Foundation. And two of my UN colleagues - firstly my good friend, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the FAO, and Alain Noudehou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan.

Today’s discussion will cover three things.

First, the need for swift assistance to South Sudan. Second, what the humanitarian community can achieve with the right resources. And third, what Member States can do to prevent further suffering.

South Sudan faces its highest hunger levels in its ten-year history as a nation.

Conflict and climate shocks have left six people in ten food insecure. More than 100,000 are either one step away from, or already in, famine conditions. And with thousands displaced at this critical start to the planting season, many more people are on the brink.

Averting famine must be our Number 1 priority.

That’s why the Secretary-General has convened a High-Level Task Force to Prevent Famine, with South Sudan being one of four priority countries.

Conflict, two years of heavy flooding and Covid-19 have triggered livelihood losses, high levels of malnutrition, repeated disease outbreaks, and left two thirds of the country without access to clean drinking water.

Humanitarian workers have scaled up the response in all sectors, and have overcome obstacles including violence, looting and bureaucratic impediments on the ground. In recent weeks there have been multiple attacks on aid workers and assets. Despite this aid workers continue to reduce suffering and save lives. All parties must assure the safety of aid workers.

What most civilians want is durable peace. The peace process has had a real impact but there are worrying levels of violence still in some areas, many of which are now at the highest risk of famine. Member States need to sustain the momentum on building peace and security across South Sudan.

This year, humanitarian organizations need $1.7 billion to provide life-saving help to 6.6 million people. Thank you to donors who have been generous. But much more is needed: less than 20 per cent of required funding has been received to date.

We have no time to lose. The rainy season is coming, and we need to pre-position food and other supplies now to avert famine. The earlier we act, the further that money goes, and the more lives we can save.

I now have the honour of introducing H.E. Mr. Peter Mayan Majongdit, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, South Sudan.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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