- UNMISS head Nicholas Haysom at the launch of Peace Fellows Program in Juba, July 16, 2021 (UNMISS photo)
July 17, 2021 (JUBA) – The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Nicholas Haysom has urged South Sudanese to invest in peacebuilding processes necessary for the effective implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
“Peace doesn’t just happen. It cannot be wished or willed into existence. It has to be made, it has to be fought for, it needs its own warriors,” said Haysom at the launch of the new UNMISS Peace Fellow Program on Friday.
The Peace Fellows Program is a joint undertaking between UNMISS and South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry.
The fellowship program, officials say, aims at galvanizing citizens, especially young people across the world’s youngest nation, to breathe fresh life into the quest for a durable peace through active participation and leadership.
“Such solutions can only happen when all South Sudanese invest in peacebuilding processes themselves to secure the peace that this country needs and richly deserves. If there is no national ownership of peace processes, there will always be a reluctance to defend them,” said Haysom.
As part of the program, UNMISS has identified young people from the country’s10 states and three administrative areas to be peace ambassadors advocating for involvement from all communities, as the country begins drafting a permanent constitution and preparing for its next general elections.
“Through the action for peacekeeping undertaking, The Secretary-General has made it incumbent upon peace operations such as UNMISS to support sustainable political solutions to conflict while robustly protecting civilians,” Haysom explained.
He added, “Most importantly, it gives us the space to recognize that peace is a critical element of the journey towards prosperity, democracy and development.”
For her part, Ambassador Aida Wande from Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior’s office said peace is pivotal in national building process.
“We all need peace. No one wants war or conflict. When people cannot develop themselves, South Sudan will not develop. Without peace, our youth will not get opportunities for work; without peace, our children will not be educated; without peace, we will not build our nation,” explained Wande.
“All of you, as chosen peace ambassadors, will return to your states, your communities with a shared vision for coexistence,” she added.
According to UNMISS, the initiative which is supported by regional partners such as the African Union (AU) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), will engage youth to focus their advocacy efforts on increasing participation in the peace process and support efforts to advance implementation of the revitalized peace deal.