Juba — The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is providing start-up funding and advisory support for the Sudd Institute, a new, independent policy research organization based in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.
The move, according to its director for programs, will help address the enormous challenges the new nation faces, citing internal security, rule of law, effective governance, continuing disputes with Sudan to the north, a host of development issues, and the need for thoughtful policy input from non-governmental groups as critical aspects.
"We are helping to develop a South Sudanese voice to inform multiple aspects of the policy-making process," said Jon Temin, USIP's director of programs for South Sudan and Sudan.
"The South Sudan government is fighting fires on a number of fronts. Our assistance to the Sudd Institute will help build an institution that is able to step back and make policy recommendations," he added.
The US further said by helping to build South Sudan's capacity to develop and implement policies, it will foster the country's ability to address the sort of instability and conflicts that have plagued other states in transition, leading to deeper and costly international involvement.
The Sudd Institute, which was started by six South Sudanese, officially opened on 1 May this year. Its founder members include, Jok Madut Jok, a former USIP senior fellow and Abraham Awolich, a South Sudanese specialist in public administration with experience in development and governance work.
In its strategic plan, however, the Sudd anticipates that the institute will largely focus on peace and security issues, including rule of law, justice, security sector reform and relations with Sudan, while also concentrating on policy ideas that foster an "inclusive, responsive and transparent government".
Those governance issues, it argues, go to the heart of South Sudan's internal security problems.
Reacting to the USIP funding, Awolich said donation is critical for the work of the Sudd Institute, adding that many great ideas tend to die or remain on paper only due to lack of financial capital.
Established in 1996, USIP is an independent, non-partisan conflict management centre created by the US Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence.