United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 12, 2021
AS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
Thank you to the members of the Security Council, South Sudan, the UN, and other stakeholders for your constructive engagement to update and renew the mandate for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
This mandate renewal demonstrates the leadership of the Security Council in support of peace and security in South Sudan. While the signatory parties to the Revitalized Agreement have taken important steps toward fulfilling their commitments, the risk of a return to widespread violence is real. Violence against civilians has surged, and UNMISS remains critical to preventing that violence and building peace. Together, we have reinforced UNMISS’s core mission and supported its efforts to be more mobile and responsive through patrolling in high threat areas, while maintaining its ability to respond to threats in the current and redesignated protection of civilians sites. We have strengthened UNMISS’s role to support the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement. We have also called on the Government of South Sudan to take action on priority measures that we believe will spur implementation of the peace agreement and enhance security for the people of South Sudan. These measures include implementing security arrangements in the Revitalized Agreement, and ending all obstructions that impede UNMISS patrolling and its other activities, including human rights monitoring.
The mandate renewal also demonstrates the Security Council’s commitment to the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) reform initiative. Through this resolution, the United States aimed to respond to A4P’s call for clearer and more strategic mandates. We introduced a three-year strategic vision to provide the mission a clear expression of the Security Council’s expectations and the political objectives to be achieved. We streamlined language and restructured the resolution to make it more focused and concise. And we introduced a more strategic reporting framework for the mission to articulate how its activities will contribute toward the strategic vision. We expect this approach will support more effective peacekeeping and hope it will be considered in other mission settings in the future.
The United States continues to closely monitor the fragile state of South Sudan’s peace process and the alarming humanitarian situation. We believe climate change is a multi-dimensional threat multiplier. Impacts of climate change – including more frequent and intense drought, more destructive extreme weather events, longer heat waves, catastrophic wildfires, and devastating flooding – can exacerbate existing challenges and destabilize regions, undermining our ability to successfully execute peacekeeping operations and promote other shared security priorities. Referencing climate change in this mandate renewal reinforces the importance of better understanding and addressing related threats.
We urge the transitional government to swiftly implement peace agreement reforms and ensure humanitarian access to those affected by the food insecurity crisis. We also continue to urge South Sudan’s leaders to demonstrate the spirit of compromise necessary to fully implement the peace agreement, and corresponding vigilance and support from the countries in the region and from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Based on my own visits to the country and meetings with South Sudanese people, I believe it is vital for the leaders of South Sudan to address urgent humanitarian needs, respect human rights, ensure accountability, including for sexual and gender-based violence, and empower all stakeholders to participate in the governance process. Women and other marginalized groups deserve a seat at the table, and their inclusion will ensure a more just future for all.
We expect all parties to extend their full cooperation to UNMISS as it carries out its vital work in South Sudan. The United States looks forward to continuing its close cooperation with the Security Council, South Sudan, the UN, and other stakeholders in support of peace, stability, justice, and development in South Sudan.