Participants attending a session on mediation and negotiation during the peace forum held in Juba 5 to 6 Sept 2019 ©UNESCO Juba Office
Ninety (90) peace actors reached during a 2-day peace forum held in Juba from 5-6 September 2019 at the Royal Palace Hotel. The event was organized by the Female Journalists Network (FJN) and Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) with support from UNESCO Juba Office and Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (R-JMEC).
In an effort to “Strengthen Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan”, stakeholders from faith-based groups, women and youth groups, lawyers, IDPs, civil society, journalists and media association representatives participated in a two-day peace forum that was aimed at strengthening the capacity of local peace actors to identify best practices, proven initiatives and scaling up on these processes to detect, prevent and mitigate communal conflicts. During the forum, attention was also placed on the media and its potential to offer alternative platforms for non-violent dialogue and reconciliation.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Thomson Fontaine, RJMEC Deputy Chief of Staff - Strategy, reminded the media and other peace actors of their roles in being well-informed and to speak honestly and accurately about the peace process and especially the contents of the peace agreement and its implementation. He emphasized that sharing content of the peace agreement by the various peace actors would greatly contribute to the achievement of ownership of the revitalized peace agreement.
While Ms. Doreen Loboka, UNESCO Communication National Specialist; emphasized that the presence of peace facilitates achievement of sustainable development, democracy, realization of dreams by the young people, women and the children and the provision and access to services such as health and education by the citizens is made possible. She also reminded the participants that “to achieve inclusive and peaceful societies, combined efforts by all peace actors in their different capacities is key to the attainment of peace, development and working towards nation building.
The forum was conducted at a perfect time, in light of the ongoing peace efforts in the country especially with the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan(R-ARCSS). It is important that the South Sudan media, community leaders, women and youth groups support peace and reconciliation by providing non-violent alternatives. Mr. Bush Bushe, WPDI Programme Coordinator and Ms. Ayaa Irene, Chairperson, FJN, encouraged participants to embrace diversity, live in harmony and also become ambassadors of peace right in their families and communities.
Establishing a culture of peace and sustainable development are at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate demonstrated in its work through Education, the Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information.