South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. Following independence on 9 July 2011, there was widespread understanding that the country’s stability and security were of prime importance. South Sudanese people were living in some of the world’s worst human development conditions and they demanded a state capable of delivering security and basic services. The functioning of the South Sudanese State depended on the emergence of a relatively viable State apparatus staffed by civil servants capable of and willing to provide governance and to deliver services to the population – an extraordinarily scarce resource after decades of devastating conflict. Building and strengthening state institutions remained a top priority not only for the country but for the entire region.
Towards a Solution
Between 2011 and 2015, the Regional Initiative for Civil Service Capacity Enhancement in South Sudan, established by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Government of South Sudan, tackled this challenge. The Initiative built on existing bilateral agreements while IGAD provided the project’s political framework and regional legitimacy. Under the Initiative in the first phase of the project, which ended on 30 September 2013, three neighbouring countries – Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda – seconded to South Sudan 200 civil servants in key functions identified by the Government of South Sudan. Kenya deployed 80, Ethiopia 60 and Uganda 60 personnel. These deployments served as a capacity boost towards developing local capacity through -before and after twinning- before and with South Sudanese counterparts in peer-to-peer coaching partnerships. The deployed civil servants remained on their sending countries’ payroll throughout the project, making these individual contributions among the largest of any South-South assistance for post-conflict State-building to date. Norway funded civil servants’ technical allowances and the costs of project support and management.
The IGAD Initiative is an example of triangular-organized, donor-supported South-South cooperation in coaching and mentoring for civil service capacity. The model has been gradually promoted for fragile states, with the growing understanding that involving neighbouring countries is the most suitable approach to capacity development since they can benefit from their cultural and linguistic affinity, and knowledge of local and regional conditions. Furthermore, compared to traditional technical assistance, the Initiative provides a cost-effective model with an average price tag of around $50,000 per civil service support officer per year, including all project costs.
The project’s first phase provided technical support for institutional strengthening through the formulation of legal, regulatory and policy frameworks, including regulation of conduct of business enacted by the National Legislative Assembly. In addition, the project helped to harmonize and develop sectoral policies in support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning, the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperative and Rural Development, the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Resources and the Ministry of Interior. A second phase of the programme was implemented in October 2013 and will continue to December 2018, based on the same triangular cooperation model.
In order for this initiative to be sustainable, the project ensured coordination between the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development and the receiving institutions and ministries. The creation of forums for direct and regular consultation with all levels of government, enhanced communication and engagement in project implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Flexibility is also necessary to optimize results on capacity development. Furthermore, to strengthen the recruitment process of civil service support officers in IGAD countries, South Sudan was involved at all recruitment phases in order to identify the skills and experiences that it needed. Finally, policy measures for crisis response were also crucial to address unforeseen insecurity incidents, which could cause delay in the deployment of civil service support officers. Replication of this initiative in other post- conflict countries would need to take into account similar issues and challenges.
The Initiative complements the UNDP Rapid Capacity Placement Initiative, which placed United Nations Volunteers at the state level, and other interventions supported by the United States Agency for International Development, the German Agency for International Development (GIZ), South Africa, and the Government of Kenya’s technical cooperation, among others. IGAD worked closely with these partners to support the establishment of a management services directorate in the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development. UNDP supported the project as the technical, administrative and management partner for all actors involved.
Sustainable Development Goal target(s): 16.a, 17.9
Countries / territories involved: Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda
Supported by: Norway
Implementing entities: Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Government of South Sudan, UNDP South Sudan
Project status: Completed
Project period: Phase I (December 2010 – September 2013), Phase II (October 2013-December 2018)
URL of the practice: http://www.ss.undp.org/content/south_sudan/en/home/library/south-sudan–other-reports/ igad-mid-term-review.html118
Name: Ms. Catherine Waliaula, Project Manager, Support to Public Administration, UNDP South Sudan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org