JICA sensitizes officials on peacebuilding mechanism

JICA sensitizes officials on peacebuilding mechanism
South Sudanese government officials and their Japanese counterparts attending the workshop on peacebuilding in Juba (photo credit: Alex Bullen/The City Review)

The Japanese government through its Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has embarked on training South Sudan’s government officials on local governance and peacebuilding mechanisms in the country.

The Chairperson of South Sudan Local Government Board Clement Khamis Komoyagi said the workshop is aimed at creating ways of providing projects for the local government board to be executed in states and counties.

He said educating local government officials on discovering a good governance system in the country was a key to the development.

“Educating the officials on local government and peace values are crucial as they approach adulthood and prepare for the next stage of development in the country,” Komoyagi said.

According to the local government chairman, local governments and officials often play a major role in restoring trust and norms among communities.

“This will play a major role in helping to restore trust and norms among communities and supporting the restoration of livelihood infrastructure,” he added.

Komoyagi was speaking during the opening of a five-day survey workshop on local governance and peacebuilding in South Sudan.

The workshop was organized by JICA in partnership with the government.

JICA representative Yamanaka Toshifumi said to have a good governance system in the country, it was high time for the authority to be educated on the importance of good governance.

 He said South Sudan has been progressing with reconstruction and development since the July 2011 independence, adding that the civil war had increased the poverty rate from 51 percent (2009) to 82 percent (2016).

He added that it has further increased to cover a large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees outside the country.

“As the implementation of the R-ARCSS proceeds, the return of refugees from abroad is expected to [shoot], and strengthening the response capacity of local governments will be a key to promoting reconstruction in South Sudan,” Mr. Toshifumi stressed.

He added that there was a need for the states and local governments to respond to the increased poverty, long-term displacement and return of IDPs, and rebuilding of communities.

The Director-General in the Ministry of Peace Building Central Equatoria State Leone Lemeri George said the workshop would help a lot in peacebuilding in the country.

“Building peace is through good governance, through services delivery, and building peace is through developments. So, when we [should get] this knowledge and the experience and put into others. We can see what is it that we can do to build our country,” he stressed.

Lemeri said South Sudan’s Local Governance system has not been set to the required laws adding that they will consult with the JICA on how to put it right.

“It is from here (this workshop) [that] we shall know exactly where we have gone wrong and possibly fix things in the right way in our system of governance.”

Lemeri said for the country to move forward, there was a need to make its institutions to be functional, saying it is only through such training that such institutions can improve.

This survey aims to collect and analyze information necessary for the formulation of specific projects in the field of local governance. Such is particularly contributing to the reconstruction of local communities and societies, and the building of trust between the government and communities to support the progress of the peace process and the consolidation of peace in South Sudan.

The program focuses on the specific efforts made by Japanese local governments in partnership with citizens in this field and examines how their experiences and lessons can be applied to strengthening the functions of local governments and communities in South Sudan.

In the original plan, the participants of this program are supposed to visit Japan, but due to the effects of COVID-19, the program will be conducted online by connecting South Sudan (Juba) and Japan via an online conference tool.