Image: UN Photo/Cia Pak
President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on Thursday appealed to the international community to push harder for peace in neighboring Sudan, where five months of conflict has displaced more than five million people and sparked a humanitarian crisis along the border between the two countries.
“I am appealing to the international community to avail resources to help refugees and displaced persons who crossed into South Sudan,” Mr. Kiir told world leaders attending the UN General Assembly's annual debate.
He added: “While the world is dealing with multiple crisis, we call for a provision of sustained support to these displaced persons as we work on how to restore peace and stability in Sudan.”
“We are committed to global efforts aimed at addressing challenges that we face as a human family. We are also committed to multilateralism and international cooperation as the best means of achieving our shared aspirations,” President Kiir said.
The South Sudanese President highlighted the political, humanitarian and security challenges facing the country since 2013.
But acknowledged that there has been some improvement after the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement in 2018.
Mr. Kiir noted that South Sudan is now determined to build on the commitments of the nation’s Revised National Development Strategy (2021-2024) to consolidate peace and stabilize the economy.
“In order to conclude the transitional period peacefully through fair, transparent and credible elections in 2024. We have also engaged in dialogue and consultation with various stakeholders, including civil society, women, youth, traditional leaders, and opposition groups, to ensure that our peace process is owned and driven by our people,” Mr. Kiir stated.
South Sudan will continue to engage with civil society, women, young people and traditional leaders to ensure that “our peace process is owned and driven by our own people”, he went on to say. As his country moves in this direction, it calls on the United Nations to lift the arms embargo imposed on it. The embargo has impeded implementation of security arrangements, he stressed.
On climate change, Mr. Kiir said South Sudan plans to prioritize sustainable land use, promote renewable energy, and collaborate with international partners to reduce carbon emissions and protect its environment for generations to come.
“While working on this, it is only fair for us to call upon developed countries cut their emission by 45 per cent and honour their pledges of availing funds for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage to the developing countries,” he added.
SDG ‘rescue plan’
According to the President, the constitution in South Sudan guarantees all children free access to education. He said his Government has implemented a policy to ensure free primary and secondary education policy across the country.
He said the policy “has directly led to enrolment of 2.3 million children in our schools. To ensure that girls stay in school, we have banned child marriages through an act of Parliament.”
South Sudan has developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rescue plan with a focus on seven SDG targets.
“This plan provides a roadmap of a better future for our people. And given that education is the key that will allow us to achieve other SDGs rapidly, I am pleased to report that South Sudan has made some progress in its education sector since our independence in 2011,” he said, noting for example, that the constitution guarantees all children free access to education.
“In the health sector, we plan to dedicate resources towards providing affordable and standard health care. And this will be done through primary healthcare approach that is inclusive and cost effective,” added President Kiir.