9 January 2013

South Sudan: Warrap's Gogrial West County Forms Development Committee

Wau — Authorities at a community meeting bringing together officials from South Sudan's border state of Warrap, have formed a development committee to oversee implementation projects for which funds amounting to 79,000 South Sudanese pounds (SSP) were raised through individual contributions, according to Gogrial West County's.

The objective of the two-day consultation gathering held between 3 and 4 January, was to develop a comprehensive strategy and to deliberate appropriate mitigation action against poverty.

Gogrial West County Commissioner, Makuc Aru Luach, said the meeting was a follow-up gathering of previous meetings officials and community leaders from the area in the country's capital Juba and the state capital Kuacjok in 2012.

Commissioner Luach in an interview with Sudan Tribune described the outcome of the two days discussions as "successful" and "fruitful" and urged participants to maintain the spirit shown at the gathering in order to move forward as a community.

The meeting "discussed lots of issues especially issues relating to security and food production. We also discussed at length education and peaceful coexistence with our neighbouring communities and how to live among ourselves in the area", Luach told Sudan Tribune from Gogrial town, the administrative headquarters of Gogrial West County.

The 79,000 SSP raised in contributions will be spent on building a community center and a school for girls, the Commissioner said, adding that a development committee has been formed to oversee implementation of the projects.

As well as receiving 23,000 SSP from people from Gogrial living in South Sudan's capital Juba and 56,000 from people living in Warrap, Luach said a further 200,000 SSP has been pledged.

Government ministers and senior other senior officials in Juba and Kuacjok have made pledged to contribute materials such as iron sheets.

Ariec Mayar Ariec, a member of the Warrap state parliament who participated in the meeting said food production and education dominated most of their deliberations.

"It was agreed that constitutional post holders train two ex-ploughs and one for community members who are able. The purpose is to encourage food production. It was also agreed that our students who have finished higher studies from universities and other colleagues should teach at community schools as volunteers until such a time when our government will be able to support. This is a moral obligation and it was unanimously agreed", Ariec told Sudan Tribune from Kuacjok.

When opening the meeting Warrap State Governor, Ariec relayed, said her administration was making continuous efforts to support policies aiming at encouraging community leaders to contribute to the management of the state of affairs and mitigate conflicts.

He further quoted the Governor Nyandeng Malek Deliech as saying the country has a narrow economic base, relying heavily on its agriculture and related natural resources to provide a sustainable livelihood for its citizenry.

The Governor used the opportunity to highlight the effects of climate change on agriculture, saying its impact on agriculture and natural systems put a burden on achieving sustainable development. According to her, the linkages between climate change and many dimensions of equitable development and growth present both a crisis that must be tackled and an opportunity that must be seized.

She added that response to these challenges needs to be aligned with the state and national strategies for development, poverty alleviation, economic growth and the enhancement of human well-being, while increasing resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Commenting on the performance of agriculture, the governor was further quoted as adding that in the past decades, the sector has been constrained, mainly by adverse climate conditions and natural calamities, such as drought and flooding in some parts of the state.

However, she expressed optimism that if the policies of the state ministry of agriculture are properly developed and implemented, its objectives of increasing food production and meeting food sufficiency would be realised.

The Governor added that hoped Warrap would become self-reliant through intensified irrigation and mechanised production of staple food crops. She also said that livestock production could increase to meet around 75% of local demand for meat at least 25% of milk products.

Governor Malek, admitted however, that such meeting such objectives would be a "monumental" achievement.

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