South Sudan launched its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2015 for the period of five years, 2015-2020. This NAP has been developed through a rigorous participatory process involving broad consultation of various peace and security stakeholders and supported by UN WOMEN. The process, led by the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MGCSW), with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as the co-chair, has collected and harmonised views from government institutions, development partners, United Nations agencies, civil society organisations, women’s groups and religious and traditional leaders. The National Steering Committee, comprised of government ministries, commissions, United Nations agencies and civil society organisations, coordinates and monitors the South Sudan National Action Plan implementation, and is intended to ensure that the National Action Plan is aligned with the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011, the South Sudan Development Plan, 2011-2013, and all other existing laws and policies. The overall goal of the NAP is to strengthen the participation of women in peace and security efforts and facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for their leadership and political participation in conflict resolution and allow for more inclusive, just and sustainable peace, recovery and reconstruction processes, where a gender perspective is integrated into the design and implementation of all policies related to peace and security.
Newly formed after splitting from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has ongoing conflict with Sudan over oil and territory. The deteriorating security situation mostly affects women and children. Women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; South Sudanese women and girls, particularly those who are internally displaced, orphaned, refugees or from rural areas, are vulnerable to forced labor and sexual exploitation, often in urban centres; women and girls migrate willingly from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Sudan with the promise of legitimate jobs and are forced into the sex trade; inter-ethnic abductions and abductions by criminal groups continue, with abductees subsequently forced into domestic servitude, herding or sex trafficking.
In its report for Beijing+25, South Sudan reported that the Gender Machinery in South Sudan is monitoring the implementation of the National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security as well as the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) on gender-based violence (GBV) among other human rights violations. In 2015, a National Steering Committee, chaired by the MoGCSW and the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs, was established to monitor progress in implementation of the plan. However, there is more budget needed for implementation.
South Sudan additionally reported on women’s participation in peace in the country. In the build-up to the renewed peace efforts, 43 South Sudanese women organizations and other NGOs working on women empowerment and peace signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 21, 2018 to collaborate and work together. In the renewed 2018 peace effort, one of the mediators was a woman and female leaders of civil society groups served as official observers. Women made up 25 percent of official delegates, and members of the Women’s Coalition. (Beijing+25 report, page 82)