Prioritizing and Sequencing Security Council Mandates in 2024: The Case of UNMISS

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in March 2024. The upcoming negotiations among council members will unfold as South Sudan prepares to hold national elections in December 2024. Intercommunal violence remains pervasive across the country. Significant humanitarian concerns, further aggravated by the ongoing conflict in Sudan, pose multifaceted threats to civilians, and the limited presence of state institutions to provide basic services or security amplifies the magnitude of the challenges confronting South Sudan. The humanitarian situation is further exacerbated by the impact of climate change and the influx of refugees and returnees fleeing the conflict in Sudan.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report cohosted a roundtable discussion on February 6, 2024, to discuss UNMISS’s mandate renewal. This roundtable offered a platform for member-state representatives, UN officials, civil society stakeholders, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in South Sudan in a candid and collaborative manner. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions on prioritizing and sequencing UNMISS’s mandate, as well as the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants urged council members to consider the following issues in mandate renewal discussions on UNMISS.

  • Calling for the full implementation of the 2018 peace agreement (R-ARCSS) without delay;
  • Emphasizing the importance of implementing Chapter V of the R-ARCSS to enhance transitional justice and accountability, including through the establishment of the Hybrid Court;
  • Reaffirming the four main pillars of UNMISS’s mandate, with the protection of civilians (POC) to remain a top priority;
  • Strengthening national capacity and reinforcing UNMISS’s protection mechanisms and support for women at risk of and who have been victims of sexual and gender-based violence;
  • Requesting that UNMISS monitor and report on the state of civic space and continue promoting inclusive political dialogue and civic engagement, including but not limited to the participation of women; and
  • Encouraging international partners to scale up technical assistance, capacity building, and financial support to South Sudan.