Ethnic fighting continues in South Sudan’s Jonglei State (UN Photo)

As United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews highlighted yesterday in his blog, there are still many challenges that threaten peace and prosperity in South Sudan.

At this moment, two of the greatest challenges are the attacks being perpetrated in border areas by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and the escalating inter-ethnic fighting within South Sudan.  In this newly independent country—already suffering from food insecurity—this violence threatens to make a worsening food crisis even more deadly.

Earlier today, Oxfam International detailed their blueprint for a food secure future in South Sudan. Similar to Tom’s blog, Oxfam highlights the need for development-related solutions coupled with the absolute necessity of addressing conflict:

“Perhaps most importantly, the GoSS must acknowledge and address the impacts of conflict and insecurity on the agricultural sector.

Insecurity disrupts cultivation, inhibits transport and trade, restricts access to markets, schools and healthcare and exacerbates vulnerabilities – with women and children almost always disproportionately affected.

Recognizing the linkage between insecurity and development means increasing support to mitigating security threats, addressing root causes of conflict such as inequitable development, and supporting the professionalization of the security sector.

The current fighting along the border is also a significant obstacle. Sudan and South Sudan will have to rely heavily on each other in the future, and having a peaceful border is vital for the long term development and security for both Sudanese and South Sudanese people.

The international community has invested a tremendous amount in shepherding Sudan and South Sudan through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and independence. Now, however, the work just begins and donors must double down on their commitments to help South Sudan overcome the challenges of insecurity, displacement, and cyclical droughts and floods.

As it makes this transition to a nation at peace with itself and with its neighbor, South Sudan will require a comprehensive balance of predictable, multi-year development assistance alongside continued support for humanitarian needs focused on strengthening the GoSS emergency preparedness and disaster management capacity.

It will also be important to invest in programs of Disaster Risk Reduction and resilience that enable communities to prevent, mitigate and recover quickly from humanitarian crises. Donors should also look to emergent South Sudanese civil society as an important actor in providing humanitarian and development assistance that complements the programs of the state and private sector.”

As we’ve warned, insecurity within South Sudan and along border areas will continue to threaten lives—whether through direct violence or the indirect impacts of conflict—unless immediate steps are taken to address attacks. You can read Oxfam International’s entire blog here.

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