South Sudan at a crossroads
by Humanitarian Practice Network May 2013

This edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Sara Pantuliano, focuses on the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the world’s newest state. In July 2011, the people of South Sudan voted for independence from Sudan in a largely peaceful referendum. Although much has been accomplished, the humanitarian situation remains extremely fragile. Conflict and violence affects hundreds of thousands of people, and up to five million will need food and livelihoods support this year.

  • In the lead article, Toby Lanzer sets out the key factors affecting food security in South Sudan, highlighting the need for programmes that simultaneously address short-term needs and build resilience.
  • Nicki Bennett argues that the humanitarian community in South Sudan needs to address growing constraints to humanitarian access in a more proactive, principled and transparent manner.
  • Luka Biong Deng explains how years of conflict have affected the livelihoods of communities in South Sudan
  • Helen Young and Zoe Cormack explore the humanitarian implications of conflict and insecurity for pastoralists and cross-border livelihoods in general.
  • Judith McCallum and Alfred Okech examine the drivers of conflict in Jonglei and call for the inclusion of peace-building and conflict resolution in agency responses.
  • Sandrine Tiller and Sean Healy review the slow and inadequate humanitarian response to the refugee emergency in Maban County.
  • In contrast, Clay Westrope and Emilie Poisson explain how the REACH initiative, which uses GIS as a planning and coordination tool in refugee camps in South Sudan, has improved response time.
  • Drawing on lessons learned from transition and recovery programmes in South Sudan, George Conway emphasises the need to better understand and manage the trade-offs between multiple priorities including peace- and state-building.
  • Sarah Pickwick explores the impact of Tearfund’s water, sanitation and hygiene work on peace and state-building in two projects in South Sudan
  • Manfred Metz and colleagues look at the comparative advantages of cash and food for work interventions.
  • We end the issue with an article by Nick Helton and Ivor Morgan highlighting the importance of credible and independent NGO coordination in complex operating environments like South Sudan.

As always we welcome comments and feedback, which can be sent to hpn@ odi.org.uk or to The Coordinator, 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ.

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