Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2022: The Case of UNMISS

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in March 2022. Deliberations on UNMISS’s mandate arrive as South Sudanese stakeholders and the UN are accelerating preparations for crucial governance milestones at the heart of the country’s political transition, as outlined in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Yet despite this crucial moment in the transition, international attention and support for the country are wavering.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on February 2, 2022, to discuss the mission’s mandate. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in South Sudan in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of UNMISS’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Workshop participants largely agreed that UNMISS’s mandate, strategic vision, and priorities remain relevant for the coming year. Considering that the country’s transitional period is expected to conclude in 2023, discussions gravitated toward identifying concrete actions that UNMISS and the Security Council can take to support South Sudanese stakeholders in meeting crucial milestones in these final stages of the political transition. Based on this workshop, suggestions for revisions to the UNMISS mandate include:

  • Detailing the mission’s support to the upcoming constitution-drafting process and election cycle;
  • Reinforcing language on the mission’s role in promoting inclusive dialogue and protecting civilians through diverse approaches, including enhanced mobility and political dialogue; and
  • Integrating climate and security analysis across all mandated priorities.