Blog #1 South Sudan – January 29

Article dated January 20,2015:

The South-Sudanese humanitarian crisis is one of the worst in current times, classified by UN as “level 3” the same level of need as Syria; however the country ranks only among the ‘top25’ in the interest list of the international community due to low commercial and strategic interests compared to Ukrainian and Palestinian conflicts. Nevertheless, the seriousness of the crisis is daunting.

December 2014 represents the first anniversary of the ongoing South-Sudanese civil conflict between the army loyal to President Salva Kiir, SPLA-Juba, and the army loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, SPLA-IO.

UNHR, calculates that the conflict has generated more than 1. 9 million refugees who escape conflict areas of Jongoley, Upper-Nile and Unity State, all oil-rich areas.

In the area of Mingkman, nearly 100,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) fled to escape the uprising of the civil war which erupted a year ago. This is one of the most populated refugee settlements within South-Sudan.

With the dry season approaching, conflict is expected to erupt heavily once again .The peace agreement signed by the two parties a few weeks ago in Addis-Ababa is transgressed by both parties.

International NGOs operates all over the war-torn country and support the work of UN and WPO (World Food Program) with projects that range from facilitating food distribution to basic health-care; however, it is the lack of basic supplies, such as fuel, that makes everyday life extremely tough.

In addition to the food supplies, a major issue in South-Sudan is logistics, more than 60 trucks, with a capacity of 45 metric tons each, pass every day through the warehouse in Juba. The poor reliability of the roads network throughout the country and the drivers’ need for better pay given the dangers and risks faced during the journey have made logistics more difficult. Food stocks have to be pre-positioned during the next four months of the dry season. After the rainy season, South-Sudan will be impassable once again.

Your Task: Review the post, write your response, interact with classmates on their perspectives, do you agree/not. Incorporate any additional research to share with classmates, to provide a better understanding of South Sudanese crisis.
Discuss the post in general and specifically whose responsibility is it to ensure food supplies for South Sudanese. Do you note any discrepancies in the post? Do you have a solution to the problem?
Your responses can be posted starting anytime through Wednesday, February 4 midnight.

Article extracted from:
Extracted from: http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/01/20/portfolio/27034/south-sudan-the-humanitarian-chaos-by-alessandro-rota

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  1. sara babb

    As the world’s newest country, South Sudan has been wracked by instability since gaining independence in 2011, after decades of brutal internal conflict. Despite the optimism surrounding the split from its northern neighbor almost 4 years ago, South Sudan has suffered from political violence ever since, with a dramatic escalation occurring about one year ago. This conflict involves political, ethnic, and natural resource dimensions. It is further complicated by a legacy of armed rebel groups controlling territory as well as its position in a “bad neighborhood.” A new peace deal (the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts) was agreed to just yesterday. Will it last? What are the implications for providing support to those displaced?

    South Sudan has experienced waves of displacement for decades. Recently, the numbers have increased to include 1.5 million IDPs (OCHA estimates) and almost 500,000 refugees. An estimated 2.5 million are expected to remain in emergency or crisis level food insecurity from now until March.

    Providing aid and security to such a large and vulnerable group is a monumental task. Who is responsible for the provision of such support? The UN, through the UNHCR, has a clear mandate to provide support for refugees and stateless people. The primary responsibility for protecting IDPs, however, lies with the state of South Sudan. As a signatory to the Convention, South Sudan has an obligation to coordinate with the UN and its affiliate bodies and partner organizations in ensuring the welfare of its IDPs. As the South Sudanese government is weak, they must rely on support from external actors.

    Because the UN lacks a general or exclusive mandate to assume responsibility for IDPs, assistance must be conducted on a case-by-case basis through “special operations.” Additional requirements for intervention by the UNHCR include: “a specific request/authorization from the Secretary-General or a competent principal organ of the UN; the consent of the state or other entities concerned; assurance of access to the internally displaced; availability of adequate resources and the Office’s particular expertise and experience; complementarity with other agencies; and adequate staff safety.” The fact that this crisis has spawned a mixture of refugees and IDPs requires special consideration. (Another interesting note – The first occasion in which the GA referred to internally displaced persons in connection with the High Commissioner’s operational activities was for Sudan in 1972.)

    Several questions come to mind in conceptualizing the UN mandate and response to this crisis:
    1. How comprehensive is food relief? Does it include all associated costs such as transportation, data tracking, security costs, and resources necessary to prepare the food (stoves, wood, fuel, etc)? How do political considerations of donor states impact the structure of this aid?
    2. If all food supplies must be delivered before the rainy season begins in four months, how will the UN and its partners anticipate the need so far in advance? Will a peace deal succeed allowing people to return, or will fighting intensify leading to a surge of additional refuges?
    3. Are refugees and IDPs allotted different supplies and support according to the specificities of the relevant (and divergent) UN mandates? What do you do with a situation that produces mass number of displaced of both kinds?

    From my understanding of the situation, I would propose the following:
    1. UNHCR, along with its partners, should continue to lead efforts to provide for refugees and IDPs in this conflict. The situation is too complex to draw a clear distinction between the two groups.
    2. Pressure should be placed on the South Sudanese government not only to end hostilities, but also to provide resources for the displaced to ensure their temporary well being as well as eventual return.
    3. The African Union should be encouraged to provide support for the displaced as well as help to facilitate an end to the political conflict.
    4. Neighboring countries contributing to destabilization, Uganda and DRC in particular, should be encouraged to provide aid as well as work to end the incidence of rebels cross back and forth between their borders with South Sudan.
    5. Aid should be prioritized to meet immediate needs while considering the worst case scenario that civil war will again erupt and that people will be displaced long enough to warrant long-term assistance. However, balancing between the two scenarios is exceedingly difficult. When do you start preparing for long-term? There are advantages as well as disadvantages of setting up more permanent camps.

    References and Additional Resources:
    1. most recent peace deal – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/world/africa/rebels-agree-to-cease-fire-in-south-sudan.html?_r=0
    2. numbers for the displaced and WFP response- http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/WFP%20South%20Sudan%20SitRep%2061%2026Jan2015.pdf
    3. UN mandate for refugees, IDPs, and stateless peoples – http://www.unhcr.org/526a22cb6.html

    1. richard1

      I think you asked a series of thought-provoking questions that seek to explore the fate of the Southern-Sudanesse people from here on moving forward (Post cease-fire deal). Is this new cease-fire deal sustainable? What are the implications for providing support for those displaced?
      In my humble opinion, I think with this new power sharing deal brokered in Addis-Ababa, it gives South-Sudan a “legitimate” government. And as International law stipulates, the government in power is primarily responsible to ensure the well-being of IDPs within its borders. In that sense, the interim “Salva Kiir” administration would have no choice but to abide by International treaties and laws if he is to avoid sanctions which the U.N. and African Union had threatened before the new cease-fire deal was signed (It should be mentioned however that South-Sudan is a signatory to the “Kampala Accord” but has not ratified); and of course with the full cooperation of the other warring faction and its leadership.
      The International Community shares the same concerns you raised. In an interview, the country director for U.S. based agency CARE, Aimee Ansari made a comment that, “We’re cautiously optimistic, this isn’t the first cease-fire signed by the conflicting parties but we’re hoping it’s the last.” This is an expression of how dire the situation is/was. Hopefully, this cease-fire will spark a glimmer of hope for the Southern-Sudanese people.

    2. Melanie Horne

      In regards to the first question proposed, from my understanding after reviewing reports, actual food relief has been separate from logistics that are provided by humanitarian agencies. However, the comprehension of food relief you mention is definitely worth consideration as a better solution. Transportation, preparatory resources, and food most certainly go hand in hand in reaching and aiding all vulnerable areas. I believe, correct me if I am wrong, that due to the lack of logistics funding, there have been air drops to easily accessible destinations. Yet, as I stated in my response, this does not allow for all the necessary areas to be reached.

    3. Savannah Hill

      Hi Sara,
      I think that you bring up a lot of good questions. The ones that stands out most for me are the #5 questions in your proposal. What do you start preparing for the log term? In a sense, it seems like we should always be preparing for the long term. Temporary or short-term relief is almost like playing catch up rather than preventing situations from occurring or escalating. A question that yours lead me to come it is at what cost do you stop to make a long-term plan? I know that this scenario is nothing a serious as a civil war humanitarian crisis, but I was thinking about the last month at my resettlement agency. We were barely treading water all month and people were not getting the quality services that they deserved. But as an agency, we kept plugging along just checking off the boxes of the requirements we has to do. Rather than stop and take a couple of days to organize ourselves (which would have been terrible for the refugees arriving those specific days, but fantastic for the other 80 people that arrived after we were organized), we gave equality crappy services to all. So I guess my thought it, how do aid agencies determine when to pause and create that long-term plan?

    4. william

      I agree that the UNHCR and its partners need to continue to lead the efforts to provide for refugees and IDPs. The level of necessity of international donors to provide aid is a function of stability of the South Sudanese Government. Sure, we can push for the belligerents to allow resources in the form of health and food aid to pass freely throughout the country (and this is what happens in the ideal scenario), but this will not happen as long as the fighting continues between all sides. International donors need to continue to provide aid until the conflict is mitigated. Once opposing sides agree to end hostilities, this will naturally lead to the improved ease at which food and supplies can flow throughout the country. Domestic agricultural and horticultural production is also a function of the extent of the hostilities. When the fighting slows down or a ceasefire is maintained, reliance on international aid can slowly ramp down as domestic food supplies recover and slowly ramp back up.

  2. Melanie Horne

    Most importantly, for any humanitarian assistance to be as effective as possible, it must be made a priority. It is disappointing that the South Sudanese are ranked as any less urgent than others facing as dire of a situation. I agree that humanitarian agencies such as USAID and WPO must use the climate in South Sudan to create predictable aid for the upcoming season; yet, they need to work towards reaching more rural areas rather than issue rapid responses to duplicate locations. Yet, responding to this food crisis is not solely the responsibility of humanitarian organizations. A strengthen collaboration must take place between NGOs, international organizations and donors, the South Sudanese government, the UN Security Council, and neighboring countries such as Ethiopia to build capacity on a state level. In essence, the international community needs to help foster durable solutions that the nation can then adopt and implement. While progress in any negotiations between such parties is positive, it should not overshadow the fact that these people will still struggle to rebuild their lives, coping with not only the current needs they are lacking but also the decades of civil war that still haunt them and future atrocities to come. Any humanitarian aid that is provided must not only nourish them presently, but also instill a resilience to be able to cope with future turmoil.

    I have emailed Dr. Rajput a couple of images from a report on South Sudan (since I am not able to put them in this post) published by UNOCHA that I thought might be helpful (as I am more of a visual learner). The first is a great guide to the key elements that foster resilience within a community, the darker three being priorities in any humanitarian intervention. The second is a timeline on critical season events in South Sudan.

    1. william

      I agree that the responsiblity lies with several entities, but it is challenging to leave partial responsiblity to the Sudanese government when they are using restriction of aid as a weapon. The practice of restricting food from certain areas of South Sudan as a weapon is saddening, but this is the reality that many face. The conflict has not only impeded the ability for organizations providing aid to reach thousands, but it has also prevented many Sudanese from planting and tending to crops. This devastates the national food supply, and further exacerbates the issue of providing food to thousands. Although the hope that both sides of the conflict will agree on a plan to bolster and maintain transportation routes for food aid is lukewarm at best, negotiations should be conducted to push for a period of ceasefire that will allow aid organizations to deliver food in anticipation of the upcoming rainy season.

      Planting season devastation: South sudan on verge of catastrophe, warns UN rights chief. (2014, Apr 30). RTTNews Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1520023942?accountid=14541

      South sudan on verge of catastrophe, warns UN rights chief. (2014, Apr 30). RTTNews Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1520023942?accountid=14541

    2. Meg Wallace

      I like how you have introduced the idea that nutritional sustenance will not be enough going forward. In any situation where there has been psychosocial trauma, the capacity to make it through, rebuild lives and create a strong and resilient society will depend on the ability of the society to address the trauma in their own culturally appropriate ways. It is key to remember that each culture will deal with trauma and the vestiges of conflict in their own manner and that any programming designed to encourage peace and facilitate the transition from a state-in-conflict to a state-rebuilding will need to be designed with local input, cultural sensitivity, and the participation of all facets of society, including the displaced and their host communities.

    3. richard1

      Your point of instilling a sense of resilience in those affected by the conflict is crucial and can’t be underscored enough. I think one of the ways of providing such resilience is by empowering those affected in re-instating or re-establishing efforts. And how can that be done? By providing employment and self sustenance opportunities.

      In the blog article, mention was made of how the lack of basic supplies such as fuel makes life extremely tough.
      It almost sounds like an oxymoron to think that South-Sudan, the third largest oil reserves country in sub saharan Africa lacks fuel. But if the South-Sudanese government in partnership with stake holders could build their own oil refineries, this could not only bolster employment opportunities, but also help alleviate the problem of fuel shortages in the long term.

  3. richard1

    A “level 3” emergency categorization of the South-Sudan situation by the U.N. represents the highest level of humanitarian crisis in that country or anywhere there is crisis for that matter. However, whether the International Community’s response to their plight is commensurate with the severity and complexity of that crisis leaves much to be desired.

    In the aftermath of the Rwanda conflict in which the Tutsis and Hutus engaged in what became one of the “infamous” ethnic conflicts of our time, both former Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former President Clinton have gone on record to express the fact that they did not do enough (or could have done more) to salvage the situation there. I hope the current world leadership especially President Obama and Ban Ki Moon would take a cue from their predecessors and act more proactively with South Sudan.

    Amongst the dynamics of the Southern Sudanese conflict include an ethnic component – Salva Kiir’s Dinka tribe and the faction loyal to former and now interim vice president Riek Machar’s Nuer tribe. In an environment where tribal and ethnic allegiance always finds a way to intricately embed itself in the national discourse, especially where the military is concerned, I think a national policy needs to be put in place which would create a balance in sharing the national “cake” in a bid to maintain peace. This could go a long way to curtail the problems faced by IDPs. I raise this issue because at the height of the conflict, a Nuer faction loyal to former vice president Riek Machar is believed to have attacked a U.N. Protection of Civilian (P.O.C.) site where they believe the U.N. was allegedly giving Dinkas safe haven.

    The above point brings into question, the mandate of U.N.’s efforts. I think the U.N. should be empowered militarily to be able to “clamp down” on belligerent elements that seek to undermine its authority as a peace enforcer.

    With the new cease-fire in place, all parties involved should act in a reconciliatory manner to begin the healing process if this deal is to be sustained. A more nationalistic approach as against ethnic allegiance should be embarked on in seeking to fulfill the needs of IDPs.
    What this cease-fire has provided is to underscore the legitimacy of the interim government. And per international humanitarian law, IDPs are the primary responsibility of the government in power. In other words, Salva Kiir’s administration is primarily responsible now for the upkeep of IDPs in South Sudan. Though INGOs will always play their customary role, they nonetheless need the unwavering support and collaborative efforts of the interim government to be able to ration food supplies and other necessities needed for the IDPs.

    Obviously, South-Sudan issues cannot be discussed enough in this blog piece. I also think there is no “silver bullet” to solving this issue. However, as CARE country director Aimee Ansari puts it, we are “cautiously optimistic” that this time around, the cease-fire deal will work, especially to brighten the corner of where IDPs are.

    ANY DISCREPANCIES IN THE ARTICLE?
    I may be wrong but the article made mention of a refugee camp in Mingkman where about 100,000 IDPs are residing. I think a distinction should be made between refugees and IDPs since they are not the same according to international standardized definitions. Since the camp is within South-Sudan and is providing safe haven for IDPs in South-Sudan, it should not be referred to as a refugee camp.

    1. Melanie Horne

      I think you bring up a very pertinent point that has been stressed in our class discussions: the distinction between IDPs, refugees, and furthermore, the stateless. Using each so interchangeably, as you pointed out within this article, contributes to the confusion of the classification of each.

      1. Minhee

        Yes, I agree with the terminology. Also, I think we should aware the stateless who cross the board from place where the stateless from. In this case, can we identify them as stateless and refugee? Because stateless does not have the nationality, so what is the standard where they from for stateless persons?

    2. william

      I agree with the stance that there is no “silver bullet” – and this seems to be the common thread with all of the conflicts we study. Especially for the case of South Sudan, however, a systems approach should be taken. The international community understands the key leverage points that exist in this conflict system and by strategically applying pressure to these points simultaneously the impact on civilians and non-belligerents can be lightened. The international community should focus heavily on mitigating the violence but should simultaneously negotiate agreements between belligerents to allow food and medical aid to reach all groups in the country, as well as work an agreement into peace talks that would encourage both sides to maintain and strengthen infrastructure systems.

  4. william

    When peacekeeping efforts and the amount of resources in the form of food aid are a function of economic and strategic interests, a daunting task ensues. The article mentions these interests as a reason for the relative lack of worldwide support and attention. How can policymakers be convinced that they need to allocate resources to a certain region when they have less at stake in that area? It may sound cold, but unfortunately this is how powerful countries operate. How then, with this in mind, can we push for increased support in the region? I suggest that partnerships between the private and public sectors are bolstered in order to create a win-win scenario and gain support from private enterprises in order to spur an increase in the amount of attention and support for those affected by the conflict.

    For example, if private entities are incentivized by the notion of gaining long-term market share in a transitioning economy, they could very easily implant themselves into the conflict zone and help in humanitarian manner. This would allow them to “anchor” in the area, but by doing so the understanding would be (with international and national entities) that they need to support those affected by conflict. Innovation driven by the private sector can improve logistical and communications efficiency within conflict-affected areas of South Sudan. Companies such as Zain implement innovative new technologies in the region, which boosts their revenue but also provides an opportunity to help refugees and IDPs. With over 25% of people in South Sudan utilizing mobile phones, these innovative practices could potentially prove to be a useful tool in strategic allocation of resources. The rural population is over 80%, but many people in rural areas are now connected via telecommunications with mobile networks. Companies such as Zain have the infrastructure and ability to analyze their user networks to see the flow of people throughout the country. By triangulating movement of their data users, and cross-referencing this information with past trends, they may be able to shed some light on areas that have seen the highest influx of IDPs. Zain already partners with UNHCR and other aid agencies by providing a pool of free airtime (voice, SMS, and data) for IDPs and refugees. The partnership would not be hard to forge, assuming that the data was kept strictly private and not used for any other purpose other than to track the flow of persons throughout South Sudan. Again, this creates a win-win scenario – Zain gains a stronger foothold in the region, while simultaneously aiding people affected by the conflict.

    1. william

      Sources for most recent post:

      Mobile phone usage http://www.zain.com/en/south-sudan/

      World Bank Indicators: http://data.worldbank.org/country/south-sudan

      Congressional Research Service: Crisis in South Sudan http://congressional.proquest.com.mutex.gmu.edu/congressional/docview/t21.d22.crs-2014-fdt-0001?accountid=14541

      1. richard1

        Bill, I am warming up to your idea of privatization; It sounds quite innovative and “out of the box strategic thinking-ish”. Also inferring from your first paragraph, it is indisputable how power politics shapes geopolitics. What seems to be my concern though is some superpowers – case in point the United States – not being relatively engaging enough in sub saharan Africa business-wise. South-Sudan has the third largest oil reserves in Sub Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Angola. To me, it’s mind-boggling for us not to play a more active role there. No wonder the Chinese are all over the place milking the continent. And these guys don’t even play by the rules. I have seen what they do first hand in my own home country Ghana. At least with our “virtues” and superpower status, engaging more will create a spill over into governance, security, the economy, just to mention a few. If we have a higher stake in what goes on there, may be we would push for more attention and support for those affected by the conflict.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-01-09/u-s-asks-south-sudan-to-release-prisoners-sees-no-coup-attempt

    2. yara

      Bill – I completely agree with you how can we expect big super-powers to take about a state that has “little” impact on international affairs. This seems to be another case of Rwanda, not the extent of genocide, but the lack of intervention and support given to those in turmoil. Instead, we’ve been pushing neighboring countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia to militarily intervene to prevent seizure of large cities and the capital.

      I respect the idea of incentivizing private companies, but who will grant such incentives? It seems as if these efforts need to be pushed by IFIs or NGOs rather than states. Similar projects are in the works in terms of health services, I’m familiar with Interchurch Medical Association’s work which is financed by the World Bank. This is more about that project: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/03/06/a-health-project-in-south-sudan-is-helping-provide-critical-services-for-women-and-children-in-the-midst-of-conflict

      1. william

        I believe that states will comply with international enterprises’ push to work in the country. I agree that an NGO or international lawmaking body such as the UN may need to facilitate the talks, but even in conflict, the markets still function. Private enterprises will seize opportunities to gain market share and long-term presence if the ‘numbers line up,’ and states benefit from economic growth that’s created when companies utilize market-creating innovation to develop new customer bases. Especially in a country such as South Sudan where the economy is not nearly as consumption-based as the western world, innovative market creation not only can benefit the new host community by giving them access to resources they never had before (useful resources such as ICT-related goods not just arbitrary goods), but the government benefits from corporate taxation. Whilst we don’t forget, the increased presence alone of some of these companies, especially ICT, can aid IDPs and those working to help IDPs and others affected by the conflict. In my opinion the question is not who will grant the incentives, but who will facilitate the talks between the private sector and the government of South Sudan?

    3. Meg Wallace

      I love this point. Mobile communications are so key, especially during natural disasters or normal flooding seasons that can negatively impact communication capabilities. One of the great ways to do this in the case of small areas or during disasters is the idea of mesh networks which allow devices to speak directly to each other rather than relying on routers and towers. I do wonder about the prevalence of feature phones versus smart phones, and the availability of the applications needed to really have a positive effect on the issues of displacement and food security as well as the effects of the advent of projects such as internet.org.

      I also agree that a public-private partnership will be integral to the development of infrastructure to alleviate the issues of displacement, food security, health, etc. I am always hesitant to espouse these ideas without qualifications however, because of the negative effects of companies/organizations without adequate long term ethical commitments to the region (look at some of the issues caused throughout Latin America after the Washington Consensus). I think that if these partnerships are focused on organizations and companies dedicated to local engagement, hiring and training they will be all the more successful and have greater longevity.

    4. Savannah Hill

      What a Realist! Haha but I agree that the cold truth is that if there are crises in places in which the United States and other major powers have a bigger role to play, the importance go towards those crises. Have you ever watched Madam Secretary? While that is simply a television show, I admire the was that the main character deals with conflict analysis and resolution. A self-proclaimed realist, the Secretary often looks at conflicts and tries to see what any party could gain from any given conflict. So it seems to me that we should find a reason for world powers to feel like there is something to gain from intervening or providing aid. Just like with showing how private corporations that they might benefit from giving aid, it would be great if we could investigate ways to prove that the international community would also benefit from paying more attention to this issue.

  5. Meg Wallace

    The situation in South Sudan is dire to say the least. With the rainy season set to begin again in late April 2015, roads will become impassable, camps will be at risk of flooding and displaced communities in difficult to access regions will become even more isolated, leading to further strain on host community resources. According to the OCHA South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2015, one of the most serious issues facing the South Sudanese, other than displacement, is food security. The violence of the last year has exacerbated conditions derived from years of civil conflict and environmental factors that have crippled the food-production capabilities of the country. In addition, the displacement of at least 1.3 million people has led to the abandonment of crops, livestock, and a decrease in market activity.

    While it is legally the responsibility of the South Sudanese government to tend to the needs of it’s internally displaced persons, I do not foresee a state in civil conflict being able to adequately address the needs of the displaced. Because of the ongoing conflict, responsibility must then extend to the host communities and the international community. The host communities and the camps run by humanitarian agencies will need increasing support as the rainy season approaches.

    The complex issues facing South Sudan will not easily be solved. One way in which international donors can assist in the issue of food security is to engage with the Common Humanitarian Fund for South Sudan, which allows resources to be pooled and targeted towards UN identified issues an programs. These funds can potentially be used to promote infrastructure to diminish the effects of the flooding. This could serve the dual purpose of improving access to markets and isolated regions and protecting IDPs in camps from health concerns such as cholera and other sanitation-related outbreaks that generally occur in instances of flooding. If contracted with development organizations or companies dedicated to transparency and with a vested interest in the area, these initiatives can also create employment opportunities to empower the displaced and the host communities to gain a modicum of control of their situations. Assuming (rather optimistically) that operations can be conducted in relative security, this can also serve as an alternative to conflict engagement.

    While access to nutritional food is one of the primary and immediate issue at hand, in the long run, food assistance will only go so far. Infrastructure, disarmament, community building and agricultural-incentive initiatives are needed to remedy the situation. I believe that while current food security and access programs are probably best administered by UN, any longterm initiatives cannot be instituted by any one stakeholder, but could potentially be effected by a partnership and incentive program, where future aid and development programs can be tied to reasonable commitments of the government to incorporate the needs of the displaced and their host communities into the peace process, if they are able to adhere to the latest round of peace agreements. Perhaps this can become part of the purview of a re-envisioned South Sudan Relief & Rehabilitation Commission In the meantime, the food capacity building programs of OCHA and other humanitarian organizations should be supported by security programs and when possible, extended to the displaced and their host communities. The organizations administering these programs should be strategic in their implementation to avoid further exacerbating tensions within a host community or the marginalization of the displaced.

    The use of food stocks referenced by the author concern me because of their vulnerability. If food meant to last for the entirety of the rainy season (May through October) is pre-positioned in a central location, it runs the risk of being used as leverage or punishment by parties to the conflict, particularly if leaders and their followers are unable to come to a lasting agreement. It is also at risk of being tainted or destroyed by flooding if the infrastructure is not in place.

    Discrepancies
    -Based on everything I have read, the correct spelling is Jonglei provence not Jongley
    -The dry season is in full swing, it goes from November to April, and the entirety of the country is not impassable, there are maps in the OCHA report that show where roads are closed, limited, dangerous, etc, but also where there are usable waterways.
    -I agree with Richard’s comments on the use of terminology

    Sources
    -South Sudan: Humanitarian Response Plan: https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/SouthSudan/2014%20South%20Sudan/HRP2015/SOUTH%20SUDAN%20HRP%202015.pdf
    -Common Humanitarian Fund: http://www.unocha.org/south-sudan/common-humanitarian-fund
    -General Background info & Maps: http://www.internal-displacement.org/sub-saharan-africa/south-sudan/
    -Oslo Conference May 2014: http://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/final-outcome-document-oslo-conference-south-sudan-19-20-may-2014

    1. yara

      Meg, I felt the same way about moving away from providing food and investing in infrastructure. It’s so important to build institutions and infrastructure that can support internal or external assistance. We’ve seen that jagged roadways are costing much more money and are making it almost impossible to safely deliver food to those in need. It should almost be intuitive for these organizations to invest in roadway development and save money in the long run. This of course is not expected from good hearted states/independent organizations, but should be collaborative work between South Sudan and IFIs such as the IMF, or the World Bank.

  6. yara

    Thrilled to see this topic of discussion, I’m an Oxfam America sponsored leader, which means that I am frequently involved in their humanitarian campaigns and projects. To tackle the question of whose responsibility is it to ensure food supplies for South Sudanese, we must first look at what’s being done. Oxfam America for example, “distributing food, fuel-efficient stoves, and vouchers for charcoal; also providing vulnerable families with cash so they can buy essentials from their local markets…. distributed seeds and tools to help thousands of struggling farmers feed their families, and have provided many households with solar lamps.”

    This is sustainability at its finest, rather than sending food aid, international organizations should be ensuring that IDPs can sustain themselves in the absence of foreign intervention. Perhaps the biggest flaw of this suggestion is the assumption that this particular displacement is going to be long term. Because providing sustainable solutions and tools to build food systems hints that these individuals will be on the land for a period of time. The international community doesn’t want to admit to this because that means recognizing that this crisis has gotten out of hand.

    This is just my personal experience of what is being done in South Sudan. There are plenty of other examples of organizations sending aid, but then the question is raised – whose responsibility is it? Should we hold the national government accountable for endangering their citizens? Does the government even have such capabilities? Will the international community continue to watch famine and disease take over the lives of innocent individuals? What can we do…

    At the very least, IFIs and the national government should invest in infrastructure, although this might not seem like the most important investment… it will greatly affect livelihood. This is true regarding roadways, sanitation systems, telecommunications, health services and much more.

  7. william

    The article underscores the inhumanity seen between supporters of President Salva Kiir and former deputy president Riek Machar. It is a disheartening reminder of the atrocities that are occurring daily. In my opinion, the article does an excellent job of reminding the audience how dire the situation is in South Sudan, but what it fails to do is offer any constructive or encouraging discussion of how the conflict may be improved. The problem with journalism (most of the time) is that it plays up the negatives of a situation, and the way the human brain is wired, our impression of and will to change the situation for the better is influenced by the way others portray it. In no way am I suggesting that we forget about the atrocities and pretend we are in a positive bubble, but I do think that the author should discuss improvements in the conflict or highlight ways that non-belligerents are supporting and helping each other cope with the horrors of war. Any positive spin to the issue at hand would almost certainly influence readers and make them think about ways to further expand positive action in order to incrementally (and ultimately) “flush out” some of the evils of war.

  8. Minhee Noh

    United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) set eight Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites in South Sudan (UMISS, 2014). UNHCR prioritizes to response humanitarian emergency within PoC areas. However, approximately 90% of IDPs are not in UNMISS PoC areas. Although UNHCR works with IDPs who are outside of PoC sites, humanitarian assistance within PoC areas is already intensive for UNHCR (UNHCR, 2014). UNMISS PoC areas affects to not only UN agencies but also NGOs. For example, Internews provides audio Humanitarian Information Service (HIS) to IDPs in Malakal, where is one of the PoC. Through the HIS, IDPs can receive and shre information with other people and humanitarian agencies (Internews, 2014). From this non-equalized humanitarian assistance towards IDPs in PoC areas shows that IDPs outside of the PoC areas are extremely hard to access to humanitarian assistance rather than IDPs in PoC areas.

    Although UN agencies and NGOs make huge efforts for humanitarian assistance towards IDPs, there are a lot of limitations. Even though IDPs receive humanitarian assistance by UN agencies and NGOs, the humanitarian assistance would not be last long. Humanitarian assistance would be needed until the conflict in South Sudan is resolved. The current humanitarian assistance also would not satisfy all IDPs’ basic needs. Therefore, IDPs need sustainable humanitarian assistance.

    South Sudan exports crude petroleum, which is fuel. The crude petroleum rates 99% of South Sudan’s entire products to export. Also, 77% of exported products by South Sudan goes to China (Observatory of Economic Complexity, N.A). However, the oil production operated by China has dropped by 20% due to the conflict in South Sudan. The reduced oil production highly affects to South Sudanese economic. The Chinese government promotes to stop the conflict for recovering to produce oil in South Sudan (Wu, 2014). Even if the conflict in the South Sudan is not resolved, resuming oil producing will be sustainable humanitarian assistance to IDPs if the South Sudanese government let china to be safe to work for the oil production. Especially, Malakal is a part of oil producing areas and oil fields so that if China resumes to produce oil, IDPs can be provided job opportunities. Also, oil production will be needed to construct infrastructures, which is also needed workers. At the same time, infrastructures makes to rural areas to be developed. In many PoC areas and IDP camps are isolated; however, the areas would not be isolated if they build their communities and economics within the areas.

    At this point, china is not easy to resume to produce oil due to safety issues. For the safety, UN agencies need to set conflict free zone to protect oil producing areas and IDP camps around the areas. Therefore, both economy and sustainable humanitarian assistance can be continued. Although there are limitations to protect IDPs outside of the oil producing areas, this can contribute for sustainable humanitarian assistance towards IDPs in Northern South Sudan. Although the roles of NGOs are also significant for providing humanitarian assistance, they need to corporate private sectors such as the Chinese oil operators and seek their new role to cooperate to the private sectors.

    References

    UNHCR. (2014). Emergency Response for the South Sudan Situation. UNHCR. Retrieved from http://data.unhcr.org/SouthSudan/download.php?id=1285
    Internews. (2014). Internews Humanitarian Information Service UNMISS POC Site – Malakal Baseline Assessment. Internews. Retrieved from http://www.internews.org/research-publications/internews-humanitarian-information-service-unmiss-poc-site-malakal-baseline
    UNMISS. (2014). UNMISS UPDATE: “Protection Of Civilians” (PoC) Sites. UNMISS. Retrieved from http://www.gurtong.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Fo4ZJkJRVK4%3d&tabid=124
    Observatory of Economic Complexity. (N.A). Learn More About Trade in South Sudan. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved from http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/ssd/
    Wu, Y. (2014). China’s oil fears over South Sudan fighting. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-25654155

  9. Savannah Hill

    Conf 695 Blog #1
    As someone who does not know a whole lot about the crisis in South Sudan, this blog and all of the comments have been very insightful. Civil wars are a tricky thing. Determining who is in control over the people left distraught from the war is also tricky. When one side of the war is siding with the government and then the other side is in opposition to the government, it seems unfair to say that the government has the responsibility to take care of the IDPs. If the government is either corrupt or too busy fighting a war, how are they going to find time to assist their people who are displaced? It seems to me that it is a cop-out for the international community to claim that the government should take care of the IDPs. The reality is that human lives are at stake, and if the South Sudanese government cannot control and aid the growing IDP population then international NGOs or governmental agencies should step in. With regard to refugee populations of South Sudanese, the international community and UN as well as the host countries take on the responsibility of assisting.
    I understand that there is a lot of politics involved in humanitarian aid. That is one reason why the UN is a good idea. Instead of expecting specific countries to step in for contributing aid, it becomes the UNs responsibility to protect the people of this world as a whole. With that being said, it is amazing to me just how cold countries/governments can be. Why is it even a thought for a country with resources to question whether they should send aid? Knowing that there are people experiencing such pain and suffering should become a human issue—and governments around the world should feel a moral obligation to assist.
    As far as discrepancies go, something about the last paragraph was off to me. The blog first stated that the dry season was approaching, and conflict was expected to escalate. Then when talking about the trucks and food, the blog describes that the dry season is the better time for giving out food, and that after the rainy season the roads will be impassable. But doesn’t it make sense that during the rainy season the conflict would raise as the roads become impassible and people’s situations become direr when they have less access to resources or food?
    Regarding solutions, I would suggest that NGOs look for reasons for which other governments would want to become involved in seeing an end to the violence in South Sudan. If there is pressure to end the war, then it is most likely that the violence ends and people can begin to rebuild and reintegrate. I also really liked Bill’s idea of using private companies to assist in the aid.

  10. effie

    As we all know South Sudan has recent gained its independence as a new country in the last few years. In regards to the food I think that the country is focusing more on logistics then really bringing in enough resources for all the people. In addition I feel that there should be more focus on the internally displaced people and how they can help them advance. I think that becoming an independent country needs to have some rules in place that are supposed to help the people.
    I found an article stating that once the Sudanese president signed an agreement he did not make it public right away and he was focused on how to share his power and this cause should be about the people of Sudan and not how the president is going to become more powerful. Please see the article I found(http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/world/africa/rebels-agree-to-cease-fire-in-south-sudan.html?ref=topics&_r=0)

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