South Sudan, The Republic of

South Sudan, The Republic of


Identifying capacity, dealing with trauma

Ferdinand von Habsburg, strategic advisor to the UNDP, shares some of his experiences as an advisor on security sector reform in South Sudan. He addresses aspects an advisor must consider when assessing existing capacity, identifying gaps, and designing a capacity development plan as well as ensuring buy-in. He touches also upon the effects that post-traumatic stress disorder can play in affecting capacity.

Questions asked during the interview:

1. What aspects would an adviser have to think about when designing a capacity development plan?

2. How can buy-in be ensured for an SSR programme?

Part 2 of the interview is looks at sustainability versus dependency.


Sustainability versus dependency

Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen, a former strategic advisor to the UNDP, shares his experiences implementing security sector reform in South Sudan. He discusses the process and challenges of implementing SSR strategies in a newly formed state and provides advice to those going out to the demanding and delicate role of advising.

Questions asked during the interview: 

1. How can sustainability be ensured without creating dependency?

2. Have you ever been asked to do the work instead of providing support?

3. Have you ever come across cases of corruption and how do you deal with them?

4. What top tips would you give to a new advisor in charge of designing a capacity development plan?

Part 1 of this interview discusses identifying capacity and dealing with trauma.


Empowerment for Progress - civil society engagement in SSR

Edmond Yakani, coordinator of the Empowerment for Progress in South Sudan, discusses the role of civil society in security sector reform. He shares experience from interacting with members of the security sector, executive and legislature. He discusses how to effectively manage these relationships and dynamics of reform. He also provides insight into how civil society in South Sudan handles gender in the security sector by capitalizing on quality rather than quantity.  


SSR Lessons from Ethiopia and South Sudan

An interview with General Tsadkan Gebretensae, who has overseen SSR programmes in his native Ethiopia and more recently has worked as an advisor in South Sudan.


Addressing Short and Long-term Security Issues in South Sudan

In light of the internal conflict which erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, this video interview with UNMISS SRSG Hilde Johnson, which was conducted over a year earlier, still highlights some of the challenges facing stability in South Sudan. SRSG Johnson discusses some of the long and short-term challenges, and some of the mechanisms being used to carry out disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR).


Trends, Setbacks and Sustainability of International Community Support to SSR

This 11-minute video-interview with Wally Vrey, Regional Coordinator for DDR, Southern Sudan at the United Nations in Sudan, considers:

  • the global trends in security sector reform
  • managing situations when SSR enthusiasm dampens
  • providing long-term support without dependency

"We have to cultivate national ownership - it's not going to come and grow from itself," Wally Vrey.

Wally Vrey

Case Study: Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen

In this eight minute abridged video, Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen, a former strategic advisor to the United Nations Development Programme in South Sudan, shares his experiences on the dilemmas encountered in assessing existing capacity and identifying gaps when implementing Security Sector Reform in South Sudan. He discusses the process and challenges of implementing SSR strategies in a newly formed state and provides advice to those going out to the demanding and delicate role of advising. The full video of this interview can be found here.



High Level Panel Session on SSR (East Africa) : Lessons from the Country Case Studies (Session 5: 03-10-12)

Moderator: Professor Eboe Hutchful, Chair of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN)

Ambassador Antoine Ntamobwa, Director General for North American Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Burundi
Dr. Norman Mlambo, SSR Focal Point, African Union
Brigadier Kellie Conteh, UNMISS Advisor to the Minister of National Security, South Sudan


National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan

Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen, Advisor at the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan, discusses with ISSAT's Teohna Williams progress to date and the challenges of working with a traumatised post-conflict population.


Policy and Research Papers

The Road Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities of SSR 2013

On 2-3 October 2012, DCAF-ISSAT organised a High Level Panel (HLP) on Challenges and Opportunities for Security Sector Reform (SSR) in East Africa , in partnership with the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), the Governments of Burundi, Kenya, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Somalia and South Sudan, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union (AU), East African Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Security Sector Network (ASSN). It was attended by over two hundred SSR policy makers and practitioners.

This report seeks to take those discussions further, including more of the points raised by participants during the HLP, and adding in lessons from experience gathered from individual missions and related trainings. Three case studies featured in the HLP (Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan) and as such provide many of the examples, although the report also draws from examples beyond East Africa. An introductory section on SSR in each of these countries is provided in section one and full case studies are included in the annex.

This report, which keeps to the same thematic areas as those covered in the HLP, offers information on contemporary thinking in security and justice reform, and provides some recommendations and examples of good practice to those interested in or engaged in SSR.

Some videos interviews of the participants at the event are listed in the Related Resources column on the right of this webpage. A full list of available videos from this event are available under the documents tab on the HLP's Events page. Podcasts of all the sessions are available there also.


Freedom in Southern Sudan: Priorities for post-referendum statebuilding

Few other countries have been through the birth pains that have been epitomized by Southern Sudan. The scars of civilian conflict and bitter internecine fighting will take a generation or more to heal, yet the results of the January 9, 2011 referendum are reflective not only of an abrogated and militarized history, but also of the determination of the peoples of Southern Sudan for the first time to be in the driving seat of their own destiny. However, the experience of other countries treading a similar path towards independence reveals that the road from war to peace and from dependence to full sovereignty is often as big a challenge as the struggle itself. This short briefing paper seeks to identify, based on international experience, the major challenges and state building priorities likely to be faced by the Government of Southern Sudan. The paper outlines core state-building priorities across the triple-transition (political, security and socio-economic) using political economy as the lens of analysis. Core challenges include securing the integrity of the new state, boundary demarcation, and a plethora of issues resulting from the division of one state into two, such as revenue sharing arrangements, national debt (USD36 billion owed to international creditors) nationality and immigration issues in both the north and south, signature to international treaties including on the Nile, simmering land conflict in the south and overly high expectations bound to be dashed given low delivery capacities. The birth of Southern Sudan comes with a clause; the umbilical cord is still attached!


'Everything is at Zero'. Beyond the Referendum. Drivers and Choices for Development in Southern Sudan

The purpose of this paper is, however, not to add to the extensive literature speculating on various outcomes and their consequences. Serious efforts are currently
being made by the parties themselves, the African Union, other regional partners, the UN and other international stakeholders to address the immediate challenges so as to secure a peaceful transition after the expiry of the interim period. This paper, rather, focuses on the one variable that remains constant in both scenarios, which is long-term and strategic in nature: The ability of the South – where ‘everything’, in the words of its President, ‘is at zero’ – to develop and improve the lives of its ten million people.


Politics and Transition in the New South Sudan

This paper cautions that unless there is an opening of political space and a participatory transition, the soon to be independent government risks recreating the kind of centralised, authoritarian and ultimately unstable state it finally managed to escape. The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) cobbled together an important, though tentative, Southern consensus ahead of the January 2011 referendum. But its choke-hold on power and a “winner-takes-all” approach to the transition have since jeopardised those gains. Meanwhile, armed insurgencies, militia activity and army defections highlight internal fault lines and latent grievances within the security sector. 


Reconciliation in South Sudan in the Context of the Current Crisis

In March 2014, the Center for Peacebuilding (KOFF) organised a roundtable to discuss ways in which Swiss actors could support ongoing reconciliation processes in conflict affected South Sudan. In the following pages Ferdinand von Habsburg-Lothringen, former Advisor to the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan, first shares his view on reconciliation in South Sudan in relation to the current crisis. In the second part Briony Jones, Senior Researcher of Dealing with the Past Program, Swisspeace, explores core aspects of the notion “reconciliation”.


Beyond the Pledge: International engagement after Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Just ahead of the historic separation between North and South Sudan, this report highlights the environment of violence within all of Sudan that is miring the event. There are many challenges ahead for economic development, improvement of governance and security, and sustaining a peace between the North and South while also defusing their own internal conflicts. The report sets out a number of recommendations for the international community in continuing and improving upon relations with both the North and the South to ensure that the principles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are left to the side following cessation.


The first crack in Africa’s map?

A Brenthurst discussion paper (2012/01) tackling the case of South Sudan six months on from achieving statehood. South Sudan is facing serious challenges: economic warfare with Sudan, the emergence of Cashmir-like scenarios on their border and renewed internecine conflicts within its own territory. None of these threats were unforeseen by the African Union or the wider international community in the months and years leading up to independence. In some respects, how the new state of South Sudan would address these issues could either soften the firm stance against changing Africa's borders or cement international opinion against any further 'balkanisation' of Africa.  

This Discussion Paper considers whether South Sudan's secession has made independence more likely for other would-be states in Africa, from Somaliland to Cabinda. Based on extensive discussions between senior policy makers and academics at a high-level workshop convened by the Brenthurst Foundation in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in September 2011, as well as additional research, the Paper argues that Africa's borders are likely to remain stubbornly resistant to change despite Sudan's historic split -  and this stance has likely only been reinforced by South Sudan's troubled start.  Although the South Sudan case is likely to remain an exception rather than a precedent, the Arab Spring is a salutary reminder, if any was needed, that events have a way of building on themselves. For all the powerful constraints on secession highlighted in this Paper, the much-feared balkanisation of Africa must never be dismissed as fanciful. 

The idea of self-determination is not on the wane in Africa - South Sudan's long struggle will surely embolden existing secessionist groups and may inspire new movements - but the obstacles to independent statehood appear as formidable as ever.


Informal Conclusions of the Chair: High Level Panel on the Challenges and Opportunities for Security Sector Reform (SSR) in East Africa

The overall purpose of the High Level Panel (October 2nd-3rd 2012) was to take stock of the challenges when implementing security and justice reforms at a national level; to identify lessons that could be applied to other SSR processes in the Eastern African region; and to look at what role regional and international actors could optimally have in SSR initiatives. The High Level Panel brought together over 200 SSR policy makers and practitioners to unpack the key issues faced by both those implementing and leading SSR. Those attending the event were experts responsible for leading and implementing processes in Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as key donors, regional and multilateral organisations and representatives from the African Security Sector Network and other civil society organisations. 

This report reflects the informal conclusions drawn from the selected country-case studies as well as thematic debates at the High-Level Panel. 


People-centred Approach to Security Sector Governance and Reform: Linking Policy with Programming

People-centred security and safety has the potential to transform international assistance to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.  Whilst the SSG/R agenda has been influenced by the concept of human security since it was conceived in the 1990s; in practice, over two decades of SSG/R programming has lacked a necessary connection between the “statebuilding” approach and community-level peace and security outputs.

Results from donor-assisted state-building efforts are flailing across many contexts, as populism and criticism of the State and its role is globally rising.

In many contexts, the social contract is being questioned. Dwindling financial resources for SSG/R, the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the considerable threats of political unrest and increasing fragility should give the international community the opportunity to strengthen coherence in assisting SSG/R processes. SSG/R programming needs a revised framework hinged on evolving concepts of legitimacy, rule of law, government’s role, and the social contract.

People-centred security sector governance and reform offers a re-conceptualised model for programming which better articulates the link between the community and the State and aims to directly influence community-State trust building, community representation and positive participation, as well as services provision effectiveness, equity, transparency and legitimacy.


Other Documents