DfID urged to focus on humanitarian needs in South Sudan

Refugees from South Sudan who fled the fighting in Blue Nile. Photo by: Oxfam International / CC BY-NC-ND

The United Kingdom’s main priority in South Sudan at the moment should be to avert the looming humanitarian crisis there, some members of the U.K. Parliament said.

But the United Kingdom and the rest of the international community should not be expected to continue furnishing funds to support South Sudan amid its financial struggle without oil revenues, the U.K. House of Commons’ international development committee added.

South Sudan’s decision to stop oil production due to conflict with Sudan has potentially adverse effects on the country’s humanitarian situation, the committee said in a new report. Ongoing ethnic-related violence and the increasing number of refugees and returnees arriving in the country could further exacerbate the situation, the report adds.

The report commends the planned direction of the Department for International Development’s efforts in the country. But given the current situation, it also recognized the need to possibly modify these plans to focus on Sudan’s immediate needs.

DfID and other donors, however, must continue pressing both Sudan and South Sudan to resolve their tensions if the latter is to fully stabilize and develop, the report says.

“It must also be made clear that the UK, and other donors, cannot bankroll South Sudan through this austerity period,” the committee added.

Further, the committee called for a review of the mandate and costs of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, which is described as a “hugely expensive” operation. It also urged the United Kingdom to press the European Union to scale up its office in Juba in order to help improve donor coordination.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.