Since independence in 2011, South Sudan has faced the myriad challenges of forging a national identity, reviewing and evolving the constitutional and legislative architecture, and addressing dissent from marginalized groups. The recent crisis compounded these issues, re-opening old wounds and inflaming animosities.
The conflict resulted in part from governance arrangements that do not adequately address, represent, and accommodate the needs of the diverse population of South Sudan. To overcome the crisis and achieve peace and stability in the future, the people of South Sudan need to build a “house of governance” that will help to realize effective conciliation of interests, enabling different groups in the country to work together on an ongoing basis.
Since 2008, Conflict Dynamics has worked to support South Sudanese to try to build this accommodating “house of governance.” The program focused its work on the following five inter-linked areas:
- National dialogue on governance & peacebuilding, focused on building more accommodating governance arrangements, and involving participatory options development and policy forums;
- Subnational level on governance & peacebuilding, convened in Jonglei State and focused on how governance reforms can support lasting peace (with a view to scaling-up to other conflict-affected areas, including the ‘Conflict Triangle’ of Unity, Warrap and Lakes States);
- Gender and political accommodation, supporting women so that their interests are fairly accommodated in political processes, as a precondition for effective peacebuilding;
- Enhancing national capacities for governance & peacebuilding, supporting South Sudanese policy institutes and think tanks in use of technical approaches to develop policy options for peacebuilding; and
- Political and economic cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan, generated through bilateral dialogues, consultations, and diplomacy.
In conducting these activities, Conflict Dynamics has built strong relationships with government officials, parliamentarians, academics, and civil society leaders at the national level and in Jonglei State, as well as indigenous policy institutes and think tanks.