South Sudan is currently undergoing a federal transition. The country has been in turmoil since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, with internal conflicts and violence plaguing the country. However, in an effort to establish a stable and democratic government, South Sudan has turned to Australia for assistance.
Australia has a long history of supporting South Sudan’s journey towards independence. In 2011, Australia was one of the first countries to recognize South Sudan as a sovereign state, and has since provided aid and support to the country. Now, Australia is playing a critical role in South Sudan’s federal transition process.
The federal transition process began in 2018 when the government of South Sudan signed a peace agreement with various opposition groups. The agreement established a power-sharing arrangement between the government and opposition forces, and created a roadmap for the establishment of a federal government.
Australia’s involvement in South Sudan’s federal transition began with the appointment of Dr. Annmaree O’Keeffe as the Australian Ambassador to South Sudan in 2019. Dr. O’Keeffe brought extensive experience in conflict resolution and peacebuilding to the role, and quickly became a key player in South Sudan’s political scene.
One of Dr. O’Keeffe’s key contributions to South Sudan’s federal transition has been her work on the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC). The IBC is responsible for demarcating the boundaries of South Sudan’s proposed federal states, a crucial step in the establishment of a federal government. Dr. O’Keeffe has provided technical assistance and support to the IBC, helping to ensure that the boundaries are drawn in a fair and transparent manner.
Australia has also provided financial support to South Sudan’s federal transition process. In 2020, the Australian government provided $10 million in funding to support the implementation of the peace agreement, including the establishment of a federal government. The funding has been used to support a range of initiatives, including the training of government officials and the provision of technical assistance to key government institutions.
Australia’s involvement in South Sudan’s federal transition has not been without challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant logistical and operational challenges for the Australian embassy in Juba, and has delayed some aspects of the federal transition process. However, Dr. O’Keeffe and her team have continued to work tirelessly to support South Sudan’s political transition.
South Sudan’s federal transition is a critical step in the country’s journey towards stability and democracy. By turning to Australia for assistance, South Sudan has found a valuable partner in its efforts to establish a federal government. As the country moves forward, it is clear that the relationship between South Sudan and Australia will continue to be an important one.