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Archbishop hosts South Sudan roundtable

Archbishop with Daniel Deng, now Archbishop of Sudan, in 2006.

Friday 15th July 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, hosted a roundtable meeting on South Sudan today at Lambeth Palace, with participants from government, NGOs, churches, media and academia.

 The meeting, chaired by Baroness Kinnock, focused on the links between large scale development needs of the world's newest state, and ongoing governance, peace and security issues. The Archbishop spoke about the urgent need for peace dividends to be delivered in South Sudan in education and health, in order to foster long term peace.

The Archbishop emphasised the role of churches in South Sudan as "a grassroots delivery mechanism for education and development". He urged donors to recognise the good track record of the Churches in delivering services and strengthening civil society and to foster new partnership to support this work. He also affirmed the critical role to be played by civil society in South Sudan, citing the good co-operation between churches and other civil society groups in setting good governance priorities for the new state. 

Mothers' UnionThe Archbishop stressed that the needs of women, especially young women, must be high on the list, as they are key motivating actors for development. He spoke about the role of churches, including the Mothers' Union as a grass roots lay organisation, as an "effective driver for the development of women's capacity, in terms of basic education and health care, economic empowerment, and naming and confronting gender based violence and offering counselling." 

The Archbishop said: "A number of clear dividends from independence are obviously crucial. South Sudanese schoolgirlsThese quick wins include commitments about the Rights of the Child and about ring-fencing of revenue for education and other key services for children and young people. Quick wins serve as indicators of tangible differences that peace has made and as assurances that a difference can be made."

The crucial importance of ‘quick wins’ is emphasised in the report by Save the Children, with whom the meeting was jointly organised. The Archbishop commended this newly published Save the Children report 'A Post-Independence Agenda for Action', which outlines the huge challenges facing children in South Sudan. The report discusses issues of peace and security, governance and human development, making recommendations on how investments in these areas can be made by the Republic of South Sudan and the international community.

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