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Gov’t, UN launch peace building fund joint steering committee

The United Nations in South Sudan and the Ministry of Peace Building on Wednesday launched a Peace Building Fund (PBF) Joint Steering Committee.

The Peace Building Fund Joint Steering Committee (JSC) will guide the planning and implementation of the UN Secretary General’s Peace Building Funds allocated to South Sudan.

Deng Dau Deng, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said during launching ceremony held in Juba that the objective of this committee is to discuss with government institutions and specifically to identify areas of needs and develop a program together between the government and the commission.

He said that they are very committed as a government to support these important projects that will bring peace and stability in the country.

“The government is much committed toward the infrastructure, they are very much aware of humanitarian needs across the country,” said Deng.

 The peace building joint steering committee is co-chaired by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC), and the South Sudan Minister of Peace Building.

Deng said that ownership will be the government of South Sudan with support from the donor community, adding that this is the best mechanism to sustain peace in the country.

Brenda Engola, peace building fund coordination specialist said that they currently have 10 active projects totaling over 30 million U.S dollars in approved funding.

She said the priorities under the current portfolio are on strengthening national democratization, strengthening justice and accountability process, and addressing conflict related to displacement.

Engola said the ongoing projects are being implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Food Agriculture Organization, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Higher Commissioner  for Refugees (UNHCR) and  UNWOMEN and Safer world international NGO.

 Pia Philip Michael, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Peace Building said that the JSC is charged with identifying critical peace gaps, provide strategic policy and technical advice to the government.

He said that the JSC will endorse projects and concept notes that meet peace building fund criteria, advice on annual peace building fund strategic progress report, and also provide oversight for quality assurance , coordination and other policy support to peace building projects.

Jutta Hinkkanen, representative of Sara Beysolow Nyanti  the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said the peace building fund has supported South Sudan since 2011.

“Establishment of the JSC is a significant milestone for the peace building Fund,” said Hinkkanen.

“The joint steering committee has a critical role to play in ensuring that the PBF realizes its full potential for making strategic contributions towards sustained peace in South Sudan,” added Hinkkanen.

 The peace building fund made its first investment in South Sudan in 2011. The country was declared eligible to the PBF’s Peace building and Recovery Facility (PRF) in 2012, based on a government request which outlined peace building priorities for the country.

Based on this, PBSO approved a Peace building Priority Plan (PPP) in 2013 for a total of $10 million.

However, implementation of these projects was hampered by deterioration in the security situation and the PPP did not see an immediate follow-up engagement after its end in 2016.

The UN in South Sudan re-engaged with the PBF in 2017 after the security situation had improved by funding a project on Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation and by developing the ‘UN-wide Peace building Plan’ (2018-2021).

The UN-wide Peace building plan was developed to strategically channel limited resources and guide activities into priority areas for the period 2018-2021. The plan identified a range of key interventions to build and sustain peace in the country including dialogue and reconciliation; rule of law; women and youth; and conflict related to displacement. Activities under the plan were fully in line with the UN Cooperation Framework (UNCF 2019-2022) which was signed in 2019 to guide activities of the UN agencies in South Sudan. The UNCF is informed by and supports the National Development Strategy and the Revitalized Agreement on the Conflict in South Sudan. National ownership and accountability of peace building fund investments has been ensured through regular UN-Government dialogue as envisioned in the UNDS reform

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