Tuesday, April 17, 2012

House of Commons Report on South Sudan

British MPs on the International Development Committee of the House of Commons issued on 27 March 2012 a comprehensive report on the prospects for development and peace in South Sudan. The report deals with the humanitarian situation, the Department of International Development's (DFID) program in South Sudan, the role of international donors and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The report points out that DFID quickly established and scaled up an office in Juba and developed a four-year development and humanitarian program for South Sudan amounting to 360 million pounds. This makes South Sudan one of the largest recipients of UK bilateral aid. The decision by the government of South Sudan to halt production in all of its oil fields has potentially grave economic and humanitarian consequences for the South Sudanese population. The report concludes that the UK and other donors cannot bankroll South Sudan through this austerity period. As a result of the oil crisis, DFID has already re-focussed its development programs away from long-term development towards supporting the most vulnerable people and saving lives.

There have been well-documented difficulties with both World Bank and UN-administered pooled funds in South Sudan. The MPs had reservations about the extent to which DFID should continue to channel bilateral aid through the World Bank in South Sudan.

The MPs also concluded that UNMISS does not currently provide value for money and its resources have not been deployed most effectively. The UK government should press the UN for an urgent review of UNMISS's cost, mandate, assets and operations.

The report concluded that the key focus in the short-term must be, as far as possible, to help secure greater stability in South Sudan and prevent humanitarian needs from escalating significantly.

Click here to read the entire report.

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