The war that has been ravaging South Sudan since 2013 has forced 3.5 million people to flee their homes: 1.7 million escaped to other countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda) and 1.9 million sought refuge in other parts of the country. Figures from UNHCR (the United Nations High Commission for Refugees) are terrible. And even more so when you think that behind those numbers are personal tales of violence, exhaustion, uprooting, family strife and, above all, poverty.
The recent United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 marked the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era. As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 17 goals have been released; they replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Agenda that has come to an end after 15 years. Where the focus of the MDGs was on eradicating poverty, the SDGs shed light on the need for an inclusive, long-term, and sustainable development process.
It could be easy to be skeptical about the future of the agreement signed in Addis Ababa on May 9 between the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, his former deputy-turned-leader of the armed opposition. South Sudan, Africa’s youngest state after obtaining independence from Sudan in 2011, has fallen into a seemingly unstoppable spiral of conflict due to the split of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) into two opposite factions.
With the independence of South Sudan on the 9th of July 2011, the Horn of Africa as a whole , besides the two Sudans, is facing an array of challenges. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that lead to the independence of Juba from Khartoum leaves some of the most contentious issues behind the civil war still open, both in the relationship between the two Sudans and within (Northern) Sudan. The main issues concern the division of resources (oil and Nile waters), the state of the internal conflicts in Sudan, borders (including the Abyei region) and citizenship.