Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2020: The Case of UNMISS

Since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, South Sudan has seen a sustained reduction in political violence. However, progress on Chapter I of the agreement, which calls for the establishment of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, has largely stalled, and the agreement does not address the structural drivers of localized insecurity.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a workshop on January 30, 2020, to discuss the mandate and political strategy of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). This workshop offered a platform for member states, UN actors, and outside experts to share their assessment of the situation in the country. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of the mission’s mandate and actions on the ground. The workshop focused on the current political and security dynamics in South Sudan, including developments in the formation of a transitional government, the status of the peace process, and the root drivers of conflict. Participants also examined how to adapt UNMISS’s current mandate to strengthen the mission and help the UN achieve its objectives over the coming year.

Workshop participants agreed that UNMISS’s mandate remains relevant to the current political and security environment. At the same time, they highlighted opportunities to ensure that the mandate’s language provides the mission with the flexibility to support the R-ARCSS, or respond to its reversal, and to adjust its approach to the protection of civilians.