JUBA (Dec. 11, 2015) CARE, one of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations, released a new paper that argues the Compromise Peace Agreement signed in South Sudan in August presents an opportunity for the country’s authorities and the international community to adopt a new approach, one that balances community reconciliation with economic development.
Marking the second anniversary of the crisis that has left more than 2.2 million South Sudanese displaced and almost a third of the population without enough to eat, the paper, ” ‘Our Small Peace Cannot Survive Alone’, Lessons in Peacebuilding and Economic Development in South Sudan,” says that any investment in South Sudan’s future must provide peacebuilding as well as economic benefits.
“Peacebuilding and economic development should be treated as two sides of the same coin,” says Paul-André Wilton, CARE’s Conflict Policy Advisor, “one that must be given equal weight in strategy decisions from both South Sudanese authorities and donors.”
“In the past, technical focus on economic development and institution building has failed to deliver tangible peace dividends across the country.”
“Our research found that peace and economic development are naturally aligned at community level. Trading links and small business activity are already acting as a force for peace between communities so let’s continue to expand on those foundations. Likewise, within communities, peace structures such as peace committees sponsored by CARE are helping strengthen economic activity,” continued Wilton.
Drawing on CARE’s integrated approach to peacebuilding and economic development in Pagak, Upper Nile state, and interviews with stakeholders in Juba, the report also argues that any community reconciliation and development should be linked to national mechanisms.
“There is peace in Pagak,” noted David Gatluak*, a member of the town’s CARE-sponsored peace committee, “but there is no peace in South Sudan. We have to stop the fighting and bring peace to the whole country otherwise our small peace cannot survive alone.”
For South Sudan, community peace without national reconciliation is unsustainable, and vice versa. The August peace deal is by no means the end of the conflict but marks a milestone in removing some of the obstacles to peace. Peace will come slowly to South Sudan, led by a mix of traditional, governmental, religious and civil society actors, and with patient and flexible support from the international community.
* Name changed to protect privacy
About CARE in South Sudan:
Since the outbreak of violence, CARE has provided assistance to more than 600,000 people across South Sudan’s three hardest-hit states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei. CARE’s is providing assistance in health, nutrition, peace building and gender based violence.
CARE has been operating in Southern Sudan since 1993, initially providing humanitarian relief to internally displaced people in Western Equatoria. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 allowed CARE to expand into Jonglei and Upper Nile states to support returnees from the refugee camps, and the organization has since broadened its operations to include development programs.
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit care.org.
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