Issue No: 6/2021

COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 17 March 2021

During the COVID-19 crisis ACCORD's analysis will be focused on the impact of the pandemic on conflict and resilience in Africa.

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ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
References: AfricaCDC, ACLED and African Arguments

This week we dedicate the Monitor to the peace process and COVID-19 situation in South Sudan. Our feature article is by David Shearer, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). He reflects on South Sudan’s progress and the impact of COVID-19.

Akech Thiong, the author of  The Politics of Fear in South Sudan: Generating Chaos, Creating Conflicts (Bloomsbury 2021), reflects on the current state of politics and the peace process in South Sudan, and the major obstacles that are impeding the implementation of the peace agreement.

Dr James Okuk, from the South Sudan Center for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS), takes stock of recent political developments in South Sudan and writes about the role of UNMISS, and the impact of COVID-19.

Lastly, ACCORD’s Katherine Bebington writes about South Sudan’s response to the second wave of COVID-19, that is currently affecting the people of South Sudan as well as the personnel of UNMISS.

Special Guest Editor
Managing Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Managing Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Chief Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Photo: Gregorio Cunha/UNMISS
Photo: Gregorio Cunha/UNMISS
Features, Trust between Citizens & Institutions

The challenges of confronting COVID-19 amidst fragile peace in South Sudan

  • David Shearer

Just a few months ago, many South Sudanese were breathing a sigh of relief, believing that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had largely passed them by. Today, a virulent second wave is sweeping through the country causing huge harm to people’s health and wellbeing, damaging the already dire economy, and further interrupting the stagnating peace process. The number of cases is headed towards the 10,000 mark and there have been more than 100 deaths, although the true number of people affected by the virus is likely to be much higher given testing is largely limited to travellers and those with symptoms.

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Photo: UNMIS
Photo: UNMIS
Political Unrest or Violence

The Current State of Politics and the Peace Process in South Sudan

  • Daniel Akech Thiong

After seven years of deadly conflict and repeated attempts to reach peace deals in South Sudan, former rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar returned to Juba in February 2020 to be sworn in as Vice President as a part of the implementation of the September 2018 agreement. A combination of factors, including a lack of political will from the top leadership, the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, and economic crises, has ensured very little progress during the implementation period from 22 February 2020, to 22 February 2021. During this time, the parties hesitatingly managed to form a government, but the parliament and national commissions are yet to be created. 

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Photo: Gregorio Cunha/UNMISS
Photo: Gregorio Cunha/UNMISS
James Okuk
Political Unrest or Violence

Slow Peace, UNMISS’s Impact and COVID-19 in South Sudan

  • James Okuk

March 2021 marks a year after the executive branch of the Revitalized Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) was established partially in South Sudan at the national level. Since then the reconstituted Council of Ministers has been operationalized under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, assisted by five Vice Presidents who represent the principal parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). These top political leaders were entrusted with running the machinery of the government through clusters of ministries, commissions, authorities, and independent specialized mechanisms. However, the peace process has been moving at a slow pace as key provisions of the R-ARCSS could not be implemented in time. The presence of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has become questionable too for pushing the parties into creating a conducive environment for the unification of forces, institutional reforms, humanitarian responses, return of displaced citizens, economic reforms, constitutional making, conducting of a population census and holding general elections towards the end of the 36-month transitional period. The scourge of COVID-19 and associated restrictions have further complicated the peace process since 2020.

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ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
References: AFDB & Stastista
Trust between Citizens & Institutions

The Current COVID-19 Situation in South Sudan

  • Katharine Bebington

Since the start of 2021 South Sudan has seen a large increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.  Over the course of 2020 and into January 2021 South Sudan recorded 4,000 cases of COVID-19.  However, over the next month and a half, from the beginning of February through to March, this number has more than doubled to 8,870 confirmed cases. This rise in cases has unfortunately been accompanied by an increase in the number of COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total number to 102.  While the number of tests carried out in South Sudan has risen, it cannot on its own account for the surge in cases.  These facts indicate that a second wave, much worse than the first, is currently underway in South Sudan.

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ACCORD recognizes its longstanding partnerships with the European Union, and the Governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and USA.

ACCORD recognizes its longstanding partnerships with the European Union, and the Governments of Canada, Finland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and USA.