Sustainable Development Goals of immediate concern to South Sudanese and their families

By UNDP South Sudan

“Participating and helping with the MYWorld2030 survey is my way of helping my community and South Sudan at large.” 
Tabann de Bol, MYWorld Volunteer

What is needed in South Sudan? They share their voices for a better world.

The MYWorld2030 survey brings people’s voices into debates on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development – the Sustainable Development Goals – in South Sudan and across the World. It is one of the mechanisms through which disaggregated data is collected and analysis is enabled to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It therefore contributes to UNDP Strategic Plan outcome on advancing poverty eradication in all form and to UNDP Signature Solution of “keeping people out of poverty”. The project is financed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

UNDP South Sudan, with financial support from the Government and People of Norway, mobilized Volunteers to reach out and collect data for the Survey. It is also one of the commitments of UNDP South Sudan to develop “tools and country knowledge products applied to mainstream Sustainable Development Goals.

This data and analysis is meant for multiple purposes. First, it is meant to create opportunities for SDG engagement and awareness. Second, it is meant to monitor which of the SDGs South Sudanese consider are of immediate concern to them and their families. Third, it is meant to monitor perceptions of South Sudanese overtime, across geographical areas (place), gender, and generation regarding whether the situation is getting better, worse, or remaining the same. Fourth, it is meant to inform public and private choices on which SDGs to invest to address the greatest concerns of the South Sudanese. Note that this will also change over time, place, gender and generation.

“People might ask, where are the youth of South Sudan? They are full of conflict, they like fighting… We can change this, step by step. Achieving SDGs is a collective effort, it is not done only from the government side”.
Emmanuel Lobijo, MYWorld Volunteer

For instance, if people are unaware of SDGs, it is an opportunity to create awareness. In the case of South Sudan, only 45.4 percent are aware. Creating more awareness will enable South Sudanese appreciate global development discourse. At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 3 (Good health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education), 5(Gender Equality), 6(Clean water and Sanitation), and 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions) of immediate concern to them and their families. At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 14 (Life below water) have become worse. These inform investment choices for the public and private sectors.

The data was collected in 2018 covering interviewing 464 males and 203 females, making a total of 667 people.

Low Awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals

Are you aware of the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘Global Goals’ signed by 193 World Leaders at the UN in September 2015? The results show that the awareness of SDGs is low (see Figure 1), with less than ½ of the respondents indicating that they are aware of the SDGs. That is true for male and females. However, slightly more than ½ of those with education level beyond secondary are aware.

Figure 1: Percent of respondents aware of the sustainable development goals

Which goals are of most immediate concern?

Which six of the following Global Goals are of immediate concern to you and your family? Respondents were asked to identify six of the Global Goals that are of immediate concern to them and their family (see Figure 2). At least ½ of the respondents indicated that SDG 1 (No poverty), 3 (Good health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education), 5(Gender Equality), 6(Clean water and Sanitation), and 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions) were of immediate concern to them and their families. We do not see major differences between men and women.

Figure 2: Global Goals that are of immediate concern to you and your family

Perceptions of progress on the Goals

Respondents were asked: “Would you say the situation on your chosen Goals has got better, stayed the same or got worse over the past twelve months?”. Respondents were of the view that At least ½ of the South Sudanese consider SDG 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 14 (Life below water) have become worse.  This points to areas for possible investment by the public and private (national or international), especially in addressing poverty, hunger and decent work. 

Figure 3: Perception of whether the situation has gotten better or worse or remained the same for each SDG (Percent)

What does this mean for the National Development Strategy of South Sudan?

The National Development Strategy expected results and expected strategic deliverables are reproduced in Tables 1 and 2. In both instances, it is SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), 2 (No hunger), 3 (Health and wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education) and 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

Except for SDG 9 addressed by the National Development Strategy, the strategy seems to address the SDGs of immediate concerns to South Sudanese and their families.

In addition, except for SDG 8, the NDS seems to prioritize those that the South Sudanese consider having become worse in the past 12 months.

Table 1: Expected Results

NDS Outcomes SDG Related Indicator NDS Indicator
Feel safe to go about their business SDG 16.1.4 Proportion of population that feel safe walking alone around the area they live % of population that report feeling safe to go about their business % population that feel walking alone around the area they live
Enjoy stable prices SDG 2.c.1 Indicator of food price anomalies Rate of inflation (year-on-year)
Access to basic services SDG 16.6.2 Proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services % of population satisfied with their last experience of public services

Table 2: Expected Strategic Deliverables

Strategic Deliverables SDG Related Indicator NDS Indicator
Create enabling conditions for and facilitate the voluntary return and integration of displaced South Sudanese SDG 16.1.5 Total number of people displaced internally due to conflict and violence % of total number of people displaced internally due to conflict and violence return % of total number of refugees due to conflict and violence return
Develop appropriate laws and enforce the rule of law NDS x: Proportion of people with rule of law related grievance that receive satisfactory redress Proportion of people with rule of law related grievances that receive satisfactory redress
Ensure secure access to adequate and nutritious food 2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture Net Cereal production
Silence the guns by facilitating a permanent cessation of hostilities 16.1.2 Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population, by sex, age and cause Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population
Restore and expand the provision basic services 3.1.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel 3.b.1 Proportion of the population with access to affordable medicines and vaccines on a sustainable basis Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel (%)
Restore and expand the provision basic services cont. 4.1.1. Proportion of children and young people achieving at least a minimum proficiency level. 4.6.1 Percentage of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills, by sex Proportion of children completing primary education
Restore and maintain basic transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges SDG 9.1.1 Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road

What does this mean for the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan?

The Revitalized Peace Agreement has 4 substantive chapters that directly relate to the SDGs which have been reflected as of immediate concerns to South Sudanese and their families and/or are considered to have worsened:

  • Chapter II: Permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements (SDSG 16);
  • Chapter III: Humanitarian assistance and reconstruction (SDG 3 & 4);
  • Chapter IV: Resource, economics and financial management (SDG 8);
  • Chapter V: Transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation, and healing (SDG 16);

The other chapters are strongly linked to organization:

  • Chapter I: Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity
  • Chapter VI: Parameters of Permanent Constitution
  • Chapter VII: Joint Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Chapter VIII: Supremacy of the agreement and procedures for amendment.

Also published on Medium.