Research report on women’s efforts in the South Sudan peace processes launched

Date: Monday, February 10, 2020

Participants arrival at the launch event of the research report. Photo: UN Women/ Estella John
Participants arrival at the launch event of the research report. Photo: UN Women/ Estella John

UN Women in partnership with Oxfam and the Born to Lead campaign, on Thursday 30th January 2020 launched a research report titled “Our Search for Peace: Women in South Sudan’s National Peace Processes, 2005-2018.”

The South Sudan Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba was the guest of honor, officially launching the research report. The launch convened various stakeholder groups including government officials, representatives from different political parties, transitional institutions, embassies and UN Agencies, National and International non-governmental organizations (NGOs), women led organizations, academia, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The research report weaves in stories of diverse South Sudanese women who have given of their time, their careers, and their lives to the search for peace. It analyzes what strategies the women used to engage, the challenges they faced, the factors contributing to their effective participation and their achievements.

Ms. Esther Soma, the author and researcher of this report said that “Women’s efforts in peace processes have often been under documented and under recognized yet women played great roles in the search for peace in South Sudan.  Even before South Sudan became independent, South Sudanese women supported families, and conducted campaigns on the need to end the war with Sudan. They have meaningfully contributed to numerous peace processes including the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) of 2015; and the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of 2018. All these efforts deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

“Over the years, UN Women has had the privilege of journeying alongside the women of South Sudan in their search for a peaceful country. A journey that began long before UN Women was created – one that began during UNFEM time,” Dr. Paulina Chiwangu UN Women Deputy Country Representative stated in her remarks during the launch of the report in South Sudan’s capital Juba. As one of the women interviewed for the report rightfully commented, “UNFEM and the women’s movement in South Sudan, grew up together.”

The women of South Sudan developed key advocacy frameworks for women’s participation including but not limited to The South Sudan We want: Women’s 7-point agenda for peace, they humanized the peace discussions holding parties accountable to their commitments and they contributed to gender sensitive language in the final texts of the agreements including a 35% affirmative action quota for women’s participation.

Women across the world should be part of any peace process. Research shows that a peace agreement lasts longer if women are included in the peace process that leads to the development of the peace agreement and in its implementation. Governments, regional bodies, international and national non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, key policy and decisionmakers should ensure that women are a part of any process seeking to bring lasting peace. No women, no sustainable peace!