Five months of war is South Sudan have resulted in thousands of deaths and displacement of approximately 1.3 million people.
The world is watching in horror as the conflict brings the three-year-old country to the brink of the worst food crisis in 25 years.
The situation is complex, and mass hunger and starvation threatens the world’s youngest nation. Food prices have increased wildly due to violence and predictions of a lean harvest. OCHA predicts that if humanitarians are not able to raise the necessary funds to deliver aid, 4 million people face “avoidable diseases, hunger or death,” and “up to 50,000 children could die from malnutrition.”
ADRA has already been responding to this crisis, but before the worst happens, ADRA joined international community on May 20, 2014 at a donor conference in Oslo, Norway to decide how to respond. The group of 10 nongovernmental organizations who are already acting in South Sudan committed 600 million USD to support the people of the country whose lives are at risk.
Read the entire statement below:
NGO’s strongly welcome the outcomes of the Donor Pledging Conference
We, the international NGO’s who have participated in the Oslo Donor Pledging Conference would like to warmly welcome the commitment of the international community to the people of South Sudan. The US$600m is a clear and practical demonstration of the support to the people of South Sudan who are having their lives devastated by violent conflict. More importantly, we reiterate the message echoed throughout the room by friends and allies of the people of South Sudan to the Government and Opposition forces: you need to immediately end the suffering of your people and stop this war now.
While the High Level Pledging Conference took place in Oslo the situation continued to deteriorate on the ground in South Sudan. As two modest examples, the number of suspected cases of cholera has continued to climb. In addition, reports the SPLA and SPLA/IO resumption of hostilities in Malakal, despite repeated commitments being made in Addis Ababa and the commitments made that day in Oslo.
We welcome the considerable generosity of the donating countries and agencies. With this, we echo calls for the Government of South Sudan to make public the national budget, including for essential services, to show it matches the good will of the international community to the people of South Sudan. The Oslo pledges need to translate into items such as food, shelter materials, and vaccines in days not months. We urge donors who have committed to funding via UN mechanisms to provide this now, and channel this through the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF). The fund offers the most flexible and coordinated mode of funding, when released on time, prioritizing partners already working on the ground with the people of South Sudan and enabling creative programming.
Where donors are channeling money through UN agencies, in their cluster lead capacity; we urge UN agencies to adhere to the same commitments that we are asking of the international donor community. Timely, flexible and transparent funding is essential for partners to plan, resource and implement. In particular, we request that UN agencies review funding and programming requirements to make sure all conditions enable rather than restrict inventive and impactful programming based on NGO knowledge of communities, context and environment. Recognizing that support to South Sudanese NGOs and CBOs was a common theme in all discussions, we call on this political commitment to be demonstrated by actual financial resources.
The Oslo conference proved not to be about money alone. The ‘Outcomes Paper’ is a welcome framework to create a common strategy to realize operations and protection of civilians. We welcome the opportunity to participate in these continuing conversations. While we collectively attempt to turn these commitments into actions, we make 9 recommendations on steps that can be taken to improve Access, Resourcing and Protection today.
While funding for the ICRC, UN agencies, INGOs, NNGOs and independent actors is essential in staving off the worst type of emergency, we all recognize that the greatest humanitarian relief will come with an immediate end to the conflict and comply fully with International Law. Throughout, we remain committed to the people of South Sudan; now it is time for all parties to this conflict to demonstrate that they also share this loyalty.
Undersigned Non Governmental Organizations:
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children
Building on ‘Outcomes’
The below recommendations are intended to compliment the ongoing discussions on the Outcomes of the Oslo conference and the forthcoming ‘Outcomes’ document. The broader conversation requires more rigorous attention, and to this end we urge relevant parties, with immediate effect demonstrate the real and practical commitments in the spirit of Oslo as follows:
- The Government of South Sudan should immediately authorize tax exemptions for all humanitarian assets, remove entry permits for humanitarian staff, establish reliable administrative processes for securing flights, suspend obstructive roadblocks, and approve blanket cash transfers to any part of the country as they did before the crisis.
- Rivers and roads are as important as the skies to humanitarian access. While flight clearance is critical, the safe use of every other mode of transport is essential to have effective aid delivery.
- All relevant authorities should meet immediately and regularly to clarify and streamline all systems to enable cost efficient cross border humanitarian assistance.
- While it is often said that South Sudan is a young nation, this is never so true as when one considers that almost 75% of the entire population of 12 million people is under the age of 30. In order to prevent another ‘lost’ generation, investments in education are critical to providing opportunities and hope for young people. Donors with state-building funding should consider re-orienting this funding into education.
- The on-going discussions on the UNMISS mandate is an opportunity to increase not only the troop numbers to increase protection, but also integrate civilian protection modalities into the Protection of Civilian design.
- Protection is a ‘boots on the ground’ activity, it needs to be specifically resources for scale up and priority given to implementing partners who are on the ground and are committed to staying on the ground, to provide practical GBV, Child Protection and general Protection response.
- Bilateral and multilateral donors should also scale up their grant management and technical capacity in country to allow for more direct funding to NGOs, and improved technical level decision-making.
- CHF advisory board should convene immediately to review the parameters of the CHF to allow increased requests, with commensurate support costs, to enable dynamic scale up.
- Donors with development reserves should begin to accept unsolicited proposals, to ensure investments in resilience are occurring complimentarily to humanitarian investments.