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SC/14737
15 December 2021
8931st Meeting (AM)

Humanitarian, Environmental Challenges in South Sudan Threatening Sustainability of Peace Process, Senior Officials Tell Security Council

While noting certain progress in the implementation of South Sudan’s Revitalized Peace Agreement, officials told the Security Council today that a flagging constitutional process, inadequate aid funding and persistent security, humanitarian and environmental challenges are threatening the sustainability of the peace process overall.

Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), presented the latest report on the situation (document S/2021/1015) and outlined several positive developments in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.  The first high‑level meeting of all members of Government since that agreement was signed in 2018 concluded on 29 November, parliamentary appointments have continued and the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has reconstituted and appointed members of nine state assemblies.  Further, the country’s Council of Ministers has adopted legislation that — once approved by South Sudan’s Parliament — will guide the permanent Constitution‑making process and pave the way for elections.

While he welcomed these steps, he stressed that “they are not sufficient if the peace process is to be sustained”.  He expressed concern over restrictions on the civic space in advance of elections planned for 2023, and over the slow operationalization of the country’s Parliament that threatens to delay critical legislation that would facilitate Constitution‑making and electoral preparations.  Turning to civilian protection, he underscored that “the Mission is doing all that it can” to support the Government in this responsibility, including through the flexible deployment of temporary operating bases that enable rapid humanitarian assistance, stabilization and security for returning displaced persons.  He added that the Mission is also working to address climate-related security risks, given the increasing frequency of droughts and severe floods in South Sudan.

Wafaa Saeed, the Director of the Coordination Division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also briefing the Council, pointed out that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated since September.  The country is facing its highest levels of food insecurity since it gained independence in 2011 and, between April and July, 7.2 million people were estimated to be in a crisis phase, of which 2.4 million were in an emergency phase.  Further, increased food insecurity, illness and poor access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation are heightening malnutrition levels among children under the age of five, with about 1.4 million estimated to be acutely malnourished and in need of treatment in 2021 — the highest number since 2013.

Noting that South Sudan remains among the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, she detailed conflict and violence directed at such individuals and their assets, as well as the operational interference, bureaucratic impediments and physical‑access challenges impacting the humanitarian response.  Turning to funding, she warned that the scope and scale of humanitarian needs and challenges are “outstripping our ability to adequately respond”.  While the 2021 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan is funded at about 68 per cent, many sectors — such as health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene — are severely underfunded.  More is needed, by more donors, to provide early funding for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.7 billion to support the 8.4 million people in need.

Also briefing the Council was Hai Anh Pham (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan, who provided an overview of the Committee’s 2021 activities.  These included the Chair’s visit to South Sudan from 16 to 20 November, during which the Chair and his delegation met with varied stakeholders concerning the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.  Turning to the arms embargo, he noted that the Committee received one exemption request in 2021, which was granted.

In the ensuing discussion, many Council members expressed concern over slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, stating that this inertia has led to an increase in subnational violence that further frustrates efforts to address a dire humanitarian situation.  Some speakers, underlining the importance of establishing transitional security arrangements and the Constitutional framework for upcoming elections, called on the international community to provide resources and capacity‑building assistance to the Government towards these ends.  While several members stressed that the Government must protect the civic space and address human‑rights violations, still others drew attention to positive developments in the peace process, urged those present to support efforts to negotiate rather than engage in finger-pointing and called on the Council to reconsider sanctions measures.

The representative of the United Kingdom was among the speakers stressing that slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has grave consequences for ordinary South Sudanese, calling for the country’s leaders to redouble their efforts towards this end in 2022.  He also joined other delegates in refuting the argument that the arms embargo is responsible for the lengthy delays in graduating the Necessary Unified Forces, recalling that an exemptions procedure remains in place for the Government’s legitimate security needs.

The representative of the Russian Federation, underlining the importance of swiftly establishing such unified forces, echoed others’ concerns over ongoing clashes between Government forces and opposition groups and over reports of sporadic intercommunal conflict.  Welcoming positive developments in other areas, however, she called for reconsideration of the sanctions regime against South Sudan as the country normalizes.

The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, also speaking for Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, similarly urged the consideration of lifting sanctions measures given the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.  She further stressed that security challenges cannot be delinked from prevailing socioeconomic and humanitarian difficulties in the country, which have been exacerbated by COVID‑19 and the adverse effects of climate change.

Viet Nam’s representative, speaking in his national capacity, pointed out that, despite remaining challenges, South Sudan is one of the African nations on the Council’s agenda with overall positive developments in the past two years.  He concurred with other speakers, however, that the country’s increasing economic and humanitarian challenges must be addressed as over half the population is affected by food insecurity.  It is important that the sanctions regime be regularly reviewed, he added.

Addressing the Council, the representative of South Sudan stressed that implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has been “slow, but steady”.  While widespread intra‑ and intercommunal conflict continues, such conflict has started to decline since the formation of state governments.  Noting the displacement and suffering caused by droughts and floods in his country, he called on the international community to assist the Government with both addressing the immediate needs of affected populations and implementing long‑term adaptation and mitigation measures.  Also underscoring that the Revitalized Agreement’s financial weight is too heavy for the parties thereto to bear alone, he called on the Council and the international community to “stop sitting on the fence, cherry‑picking”.  “Let’s put our money where our mouths are”, he urged.

Also speaking were representatives of the United States, Ireland, Mexico, India, Estonia, France, Norway and China.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 11:45 a.m.

Briefings

NICHOLAS HAYSOM, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), briefed the Council that, on 29 November, the country concluded its fifth National Governors Forum, which marked the first high-level meeting of all members of Government since the signing of the peace agreement in 2018.  Additionally, parliamentary appointments have continued and, by December, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, had reconstituted and appointed members of nine state assemblies.  He also welcomed the adoption of legislation by the Council of Ministers that — once approved by South Sudan’s Parliament — will guide the permanent Constitution-making process, which is a prerequisite for elections.  He also pointed out that, on 4 November, the Government held its first-ever interactive dialogue with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

However, while he welcomed such steps to implement the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, he stressed that “they are not sufficient if the peace process is to be sustained”.  The failure of parties to reach an agreement on command ratios has promoted a fracturing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, and mediation efforts that began in Khartoum have been undermined by the political crisis in Sudan.  He underlined that the Government bears a special responsibility to establish the Necessary Unified Forces, which is but an initial step in the complex, essential process of constructing a national army that serves the nation’s interests.  On that point, he reported that, following his meeting on 8 December with the President, funds have been released to the Joint Defence Board for screening soldiers at training centres preliminary to graduation of unified forces.  Delivery of food and medicines has also commenced.

Noting the President’s announcement that elections will be held in 2023, he stressed that 2022 will require both technical and political preparation towards that end, including an agreement on the Constitution and the rules governing the election.  Expressing concern over restrictions on the civic space, he urged the Government to promote the fundamental human rights of all South Sudanese — including freedom of expression — to create a platform for democratic dialogue in a free, fair electoral process.  He also expressed concern over the slow operationalization of the country’s Parliament, which threatens to delay critical legislation to facilitate Constitution‑making, election preparations, the establishment of national justice institutions, budget adoption and public financial reforms.  For its part, UNMISS has already intensified support for legislative and Constitution‑making processes.

Turning to the protection of civilians, he noted that the permanent ceasefire is holding and, partly because of UNMISS, the number of civilian casualties attributed to localized violence has roughly halved in 2021 relative to 2020.  “The Mission is doing all that it can”, he said, to support the Government in its primary responsibility to protect civilians, including through the flexible deployment of temporary operating bases.  These bases enable UNMISS to rapidly deploy to hotspots for conflict resolution and create conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance, provide a stabilizing environment where peace has been elusive or provide a security umbrella for the safe and dignified return of displaced people.  Highlighting that the increasing frequency of droughts and severe floods demonstrate South Sudan’s high vulnerability to climate change, he reported that a newly established UNMISS working group will develop integrated strategies to address these climate‑related security risks.

WAFAA SAEED, Director of the Coordination Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported that since September, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated.  The country has faced the highest levels of food insecurity since its independence in 2011.  At the height of the lean season between April and July, 7.2 million people were estimated to be in a crisis phase, of which 2.4 million were in an emergency phase.  About 108,000 people in Akobo, Pibor, Aweil South, Tonj East, Tonj North and Tonj South counties faced catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity.  In five of these locations, conflict was the major driver of displacement leading to the loss of lives, assets and livelihoods.  Increased food insecurity, illness and poor access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation heightened malnutrition levels among children under the age of five.  About 1.4 million children in that group and 480,000 pregnant or lactating women were estimated to be acutely malnourished and in need of treatment in 2021, the highest number since 2013.

Conflict and violence directed at aid workers and their assets, operational interference, bureaucratic impediments and physical access challenges continue to impact the humanitarian response, she noted, highlighting that South Sudan remains among the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers.  After several days of violence in Leer, Unity State, a nutrition aid worker was killed a few days ago, bringing the total number of aid workers killed in 2021 to four.  UNMISS facilitated humanitarian access through long‑range patrols and the setting up of temporary operating bases in several locations.  The delivery of adequate basic services is vital to sustain livelihoods, strengthen resilience and enable conditions for those who wish to return to their areas of origin.  However, for many of the now 2 million displaced persons, return may not be an option.  Those sites may become permanent urban or suburban settlements for many of them, including in former protection of civilian sites, such as Bentiu and Malakal.  This needs to be recognized and steps should be taken to support people wherever they choose to stay.  Long‑term planning will be required to address this new phenomenon.

Turning to funding, she warned that the scope and scale of the humanitarian needs and the challenges are “outstripping our ability to adequately respond”.  Although the 2021 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan is funded at about 68 per cent, this belies the fact that many sectors such as health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene are severely underfunded.  Pooled fund mechanisms are playing an essential role, with $35 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund and $69 million from the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund provided in 2021.  More is needed by more donors to provide early funding to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.7 billion to support 8.4 million people in need.  Reiterating three key actions, she said adequate, and early funding is required to sustain the gains made so far, particularly in averting catastrophic food insecurity levels.  Government and non‑State actors need to abide by their obligation to facilitate safe and unhindered access and to protect aid workers.  Lastly, the implementation of the peace process remains slow, and violence continues to erupt.  All actors with influence must work to ensure the protection of civilians across South Sudan, she stressed.

HAI ANH PHAM (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan, briefed the 15-member organ about the Committee’s activities in 2021, including the Chair’s visit to South Sudan in mid‑November.  He reported that the Committee has met in‑person three times for informal consultations, and has also met thrice in closed video teleconferences.

On 29 January, the Committee met for a closed video teleconference to hear a presentation by the Panel of Experts on its interim report (document S/2020/1141), and was briefed on 26 February by the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  On 26 March, in a closed video teleconference, the Committee heard a presentation by the Panel of Experts on its final report (document S/2021/365) and discussed its recommendations.  On 18 June, the Committee met in person to hear a presentation by the Panel of Experts on its final report in a meeting open to South Sudan and regional States.

On 15 October, during informal consultations, the Committee was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Children and Armed Conflict, and it was briefed on 2 December, during informal consultations, by the Chair on his most recent visit to South Sudan, which took place from 16 to 20 November.  During this visit, the Chair and his delegation met with stakeholders including South Sudan President Salva Kiir, representatives of UNMISS, diplomatic missions and civil society representatives, including women’s groups and religious leaders, both in Juba and Wau, with discussions primarily focussed on implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.  Turning to the arms embargo, he said that during 2021, the Committee received one exemption request to the arms embargo, which was granted.  Also, two exemptions requests were received concerning the travel ban and asset freeze measures, all of which were granted.

Statements

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said catastrophic floods in South Sudan have endangered over 850,000 people, paired with food insecurity and other issues, creating a dire humanitarian situation.  She encouraged the international community to address gaps in funding and resources, and actors at the national and subnational levels to facilitate humanitarian access and protect aid workers.  Voicing concern over subnational violence in several regions, she cited looting and mass displacement, human rights abuses and killings based on ethnicity.  With reports of murder and mutilation of pregnant women, elderly people and civilian captives, she called on the Government of South Sudan to hold perpetrators responsible and protect civilians, humanitarian and development workers, journalists and displaced persons.  Targeting of civil society discourages participation, including preparation for elections.  Noting it has been over three years since the peace agreement was signed, with progress slow, she urged the Government to swiftly implement a constitutional drafting process, transitional security and other measures to ensure free and fair elections in 2023 that reflect the wishes of all South Sudanese.  She stressed that arms embargo provisions are not responsible for the lack of training of necessary unified forces — they are intended to create space for the peace process.  That embargo helps protect civilians, and if the Government requires arms, clear exemption procedures are in place.  She noted the Committee only received one request in 2021, which was granted.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking also on behalf of Kenya, Niger and Tunisia, noted the promising advances on the political front in South Sudan, and urged all relevant stakeholders to continue with the full implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.  She underscored the importance of the principle of inclusivity in representation in governance institutions, including the minimum 35 per cent quota for women’s participation, along with youth representation.  Commending the permanent ceasefire which continues to hold in the country, she also noted worrying incidents of ethnic and intercommunal clashes in some parts of the country and tensions amongst factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition.  Stressing the importance for the security measures to be strengthened and enhanced, she pointed out that security challenges cannot be delinked from the prevailing socioeconomic and humanitarian difficulties, which has been exacerbated by COVID‑19 and the adverse effects of climate change.  Also calling for full respect of international law, and compliance with the status of force agreement, she urged consideration on the lifting of all sanctions and other unilateral coercive measures in light of COVID‑19.

Turning to transitional justice arrangements, she noted that the country bloc is satisfied that the South Sudan Cabinet approved the establishment of the Hybrid Court.  Establishment of truth‑seeking mechanisms and providing reparations for victims will help to reconcile and unite the South Sudanese people, she noted.  Stressing the importance of continued engagement and support of the international community, regional organizations and South Sudanese partners, she stressed that Government holds the primary responsibility for protecting civilians.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) recalling the recent visit of the Committee to South Sudan, said that the main message relayed by interlocutors at all levels is that implementation of the peace agreement has been too slow.  This has led to an increase in subnational violence, an impaired security apparatus, impunity around conflict‑related sexual violence, serious human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, facilitated by a lack of sufficiently robust accountability mechanisms and inadequate supports for survivors.  It also compounds efforts to address an already dire humanitarian situation, exacerbated by record levels of flooding.  Ireland has contributed to efforts to strengthen United Nations capacity to address these security risks in South Sudan through support for the Climate Security Mechanism.  She highlighted that the holding of inclusive and democratic elections in South Sudan is a welcome prospect.  The reconstitution of the National Legislative Assembly is a positive step, however its inaction to date has been a disappointment, she noted.

JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) underscored the need to progress the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, which “to date has been minimal and selective”.  He called on South Sudan’s Government to expedite efforts towards this end — especially in the areas of security, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration — and to adopt legislation disbursing the resources necessary to affect such measures.  Attempting to justify delays in implementing the Agreement as consequences of the arms embargo calls into question the Government’s sincerity in this regard.  Noting that South Sudan is prone to sudden, constant floods — affecting almost 850,000 in 2021 — he stressed that the magnitude of these phenomena will prevent the country’s recovery before its next rainy season.  This will have a domino effect on internal displacement, food insecurity and disease, which will, in turn, exacerbate tensions and clashes between communities.  Against that backdrop, he expressed alarm over increasing incidents relating to access for humanitarian assistance, and urged authorities to guarantee security and unfettered access for humanitarian personnel.  He also demanded that authorities respect the human‑rights standards and norms contained in the international instruments to which South Sudan is a party.

RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) noted progress over the past three months, including adoption of the Constitution Making Process Bill and appointment of new members of the Transitional National Legislature Assembly.  Political violence has decreased and the parties have been largely faithful to the Revitalized Agreement, with a stable economic situation.  Last month’s visit by the 2206 Committee revealed positive progress, he said, including increased economic activity in Juba.  The end goal remains free, fair and credible elections.  While the ceasefire continues to hold, localized violence persists, though it has decreased by 53 per cent compared to 2020.  Violence underlines the importance of early establishment of the Unified Command of the military and graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces.  He emphasized that implementation of transitional security arrangements remains critical for the electoral process.  Citing the humanitarian situation impacted by recent floods, he called on the international community including the United Nations to bridge resource and capacity gaps faced by the Government, as the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan has a shortfall of nearly 33 per cent or $550 million.  He noted improved communication between UNMISS and the Government, enhancing Mission operations, evident from the decrease in status of forces agreement violations.  India has been one of the largest troop‑contributing countries to UNMISS since its establishment a decade ago, with nearly 2,300 troops serving in the country, and is also contributing to sustainable development and welfare of the people of South Sudan with computer training and veterinary assistance camps.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia) said his country, for the entirety of its membership in the Security Council, has asked for the swifter implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan, warning that this delay will eventually erode the credibility of that country’s leaders.  Although Parliament was inaugurated on 30 August, it has made minimal progress, which in turn delays the passage of critical legislation.  Parliament’s work is of crucial importance if South Sudan is to have free, fair and credible elections.  The crackdown on civic space and the harassment of human rights activists are unacceptable.  All civil society actors must be able to express their views freely and without fear of retaliation.  Expressing concern about the extrajudicial executions carried out in Warrap and Lakes, he called on the Government to investigate these killings and stressed the need to improve the human rights situation, especially regarding conflict‑related sexual violence.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said implementation of the peace agreement remains “too slow”, stressing this lack of progress has real and grave consequences for ordinary South Sudanese.  Joining others in calling for South Sudan’s leaders to redouble their efforts in 2022, he said the recent progress on public financial management shows what can be achieved through partnership with the international community.  He also urged the Government to approve the delayed annual budget, improve economic transparency and tackle corruption to improve livelihoods and help make that country more attractive to international investors.  Refuting the argument that the arms embargo was responsible for the lengthy delays in graduating the Necessary Unified Forces, he recalled that an exemptions procedure remains in place to ensure the embargo does not constitute an obstacle to South Sudan’s legitimate security needs.  He then reiterated the urgency of approving the proposed slate of Panel of Experts, so that this Council can be adequately briefed on the ongoing dynamics.

SHERAZ GASRI (France) said the work of Parliament has not started while several key bills on several reforms need to be considered.  The implementation of security arrangements also remained at a standstill.  She expressed regret that the arms embargo is being used as a pretext to justify delays in forming unified forces.  Noting the presentation by UNMISS of its assistance for the security reform process, she said France is mobilized to support these efforts, including the implementation of innovative strategies on the reintegration of ex‑combatants.  Her country is also ready to strengthen the Mission’s technical assistance mandate, provided that the Government achieve the goals set by the Security Council.  The South Sudanese authorities must redouble their efforts to ensure that general elections are held after the end of the transition period.  In this regard, it is essential to put in place without delay the security arrangements, the constitutional and legislative framework for the elections, operationalize the national election commission and allocate the necessary resources to the organization of elections.  All parties must ensure that unity prevails.  Commending the efforts of regional actors to support the peace process, she encouraged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union, Kenya and Uganda to remain mobilized in facilitating dialogue between the South Sudanese parties.

ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) welcomed positive developments, including the continued functioning of the Revitalized Agreement, the preparation of a fundamental draft law on the Constitution, and the South Sudanese leadership’s evident intent to hold elections.  However, the security situation remains complex, despite an overall decline in violence, and will play a decisive role in future outcomes.  She expressed concern about ongoing clashes between Government forces and opposition groups, and about a split in the camp of the First Vice‑President Riek Machar, which was opposed by several influential field commanders.  Moreover, reports of sporadic intercommunal conflict are concerning, particularly the situation in both Equatorias.  She underlined the importance of swiftly establishing the unified armed forces, and to enhance dialogue with the Kitwang faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition.  Mutual trust can only be enhanced through the full implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.  Further, she called for the sanctions regime against South Sudan to be reconsidered as the situation in the country normalizes, expressing her conviction that the control indicators pursuant to resolution 2577 (2021) will be implemented.

MONA JUUL (Norway) expressed deep concern about the situation in South Sudan, where the humanitarian situation has never been worse, and is now aggravated by heavy flooding.  However, the main obstacle to a better future is the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, she said, adding:  “A collapse of the peace agreement will have dire consequences for the whole region.”  She welcomed the recent reconstitution, and appointment of members, to most of the State Assemblies, and urged the Government of South Sudan to finalize the process.  While welcoming the President’s decision to resume the Rome talks with non‑signatories, she said South Sudan’s leaders must demonstrate real determination to make the whole agreement work.  Moreover, the implementation of Chapter 2 on security arrangements must be finalized, and members must be urgently nominated to the Transitional National Legislate Assembly’s specialized committees to accelerate the passing of critical legislation.  Delays will jeopardize the process towards free and fair elections.  Norway is deeply concerned by the shrinking political space in South Sudan; attempts to silence civil society activists and the media, through arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention runs counter to the spirit of the Peace Agreement, and the rule of law.  She called for the full and meaningful participation of women to be ensured through a 35 per cent representation quota.  Expressing concern about the many subnational conflicts, including in Tambura and Jonglei, she reiterated that the Government has a responsibility to protect all civilians.  To curb corruption, it must also invest more in key reforms to bring transparency and accountability to the country’s public finances.

HAI ANH PHAM (Viet Nam), speaking in his national capacity, said in 2021 South Sudan continued to show progress in its peace process, as it marks its tenth anniversary of independence and third anniversary of the Revitalized Agreement.  Despite remaining challenges, South Sudan is one of the African nations on the Council agenda with overall positive developments in the past two years.  Calling on the Government and all relevant parties to continue advancing implementation of the Agreement, culminating in national elections, he urged advancement of constitutional reform and transitional security arrangements.  He further called on the Government to facilitate participation of women in leadership to attain the 35 per cent goal.  All relevant parties must continue to resolve their differences and engage in dialogue and confidence‑building, he said, emphasizing the roles played by UNMISS, the African Union, IGAD and other international partners in advancing peace and development.  Stressing the critical importance of upholding the permanent ceasefire, he urged the Government to effectively and sustainably address intercommunal violence and ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.  He commended efforts by the United Nations Mine Action Service in clearance and risk education activities.  It is also crucial to tackle increasing economic and humanitarian challenges in the country, as 7.2 million people are affected by food insecurity — representing over half the population.  Citing the importance of regular review of the sanctions regime, especially the implementation of key benchmarks in resolution 2577 (2021), he expressed hope that the Government will continue to cooperate, potentially creating the basis for the Council to review and consider lifting those measures.

GENG SHUANG (China) hoped that the signatories of the Revitalized Agreement will expedite its implementation and bring about political stability.  However, practical differences cannot be resolved in one fell swoop; the international community should therefore support efforts to negotiate, instead of indulging in finger‑pointing.  Welcoming the contributions of IGAD and the African Union to facilitate negotiations, he went on to express concern about persistent intercommunal clashes, and called on holdout groups to the Revitalized Agreement to renounce violence and join the political process without delay.  Financial support must be lent to disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration programmes, and assistance must be ramped up to help South Sudan develop its economy.  Highlighting the recently held Eighth Ministerial Conference of the China‑Africa Cooperation Forum, where nine projects were unveiled, covering areas ranging from health to poverty reduction, he went on to call for sanctions on Juba to be lifted without delay to spur development in South Sudan, and so the country can strengthen capacity‑building in the security sector.

AGOK JOHN ANYAR MADUT AGOK (South Sudan) said that it is common knowledge that implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has been “slow, but steady”, emphasizing that all parties are committed to its full implementation in both letter and spirit.  While widespread intra‑ and intercommunal conflict continues, such conflict has started to decline since the formation of state governments.  Noting the President’s efforts towards peace, stability and reconciliation, he spotlighted — as a preventative measure — Mr. Kiir’s meeting with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition to call for calm.  Turning to climate change, he said that droughts and floods are causing displacement and suffering, and called on the international community to assist the Government not only with the immediate needs of affected populations, but also with long‑term adaptation and mitigation measures.  For its part, South Sudan participates in all climate‑change fora, and he stressed that his country’s “commitment is driven by the impact we feel”.  Underscoring that the financial weight of the Revitalized Agreement is too heavy for parties thereto to fund alone, he called on the Security Council and international community to “stop sitting on the fence, cherry‑picking”.  “Let’s put our money where our mouths are”, he added.

For information media. Not an official record.