South Sudan’s return to violence in December 2013 poses questions about the quality of
partnership between donors and fragile and conflict-affected states more broadly. The quality
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the thinness of donor appetite for risk
combined to highlight the fatal flaws in the nascent South Sudan’s foundations.
The conflict caught donors and many long-term observers of South Sudan unawares, and has
led to a suspension of much development programming, in favour of humanitarian assistance
to alleviate the effects of the violence.
There is an urgent need to return to development activity based on a new political partnership
between the international community and South Sudan, one that seeks to address – rather than
work around – the real obstacles to the realization of a peaceful, stable and democratic South Sudan.
In the future, donors will need to be much better at integrating their development and political
activity; be able to manage a higher degree of political risk; avoid the temptation to work only
on the ‘demand side’; and learn how to work with the political/security as well as the technical
dimensions of the current context read more