This report focuses on the IGAD-led mediation process from December 2013 to August 2015 to address the conflict in South Sudan. It identifies lessons from the South Sudan peace talks with the aim to inform future IGAD mediation efforts. These lessons are based on interviews conducted by a team of researchers from swisspeace and Kroc Institute, -with mediators, advisers, parties and supporters as well as an analysis of internal IGAD documents concerning the South Sudan peace talks. Throughout the process, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) had provided support as part of its standing partnership with IGAD.
The report highlights the commitment of IGAD to peacemaking in South Sudan, stepping in within days of the outbreak of violence on 15 December 2013 in Juba, convening an extraordinary Summit and mandating a mediation process led by highly experienced envoys. IGAD’s resolute action helped to prevent further escalation of violence, kept the parties focused on negotiating a political settlement and produced a comprehensive peace agreement signed in August 2015.
Additionally, this report identifies lessons arising from the IGAD-led mediation process from December 2013 to August 2015 to address the conflict in South Sudan. While there are a number of external publications on mediation in South Sudan, this report is the outcome of a lessons learned exercise initiated, led and owned by IGAD. It complements a report of April 2016, in which the IGAD Special Envoys, upon conclusion of their mandate, provided a detailed account of the IGAD-led mediation process, including an assessment of its different phases and the evolution of the parties’ positions.
Building on this, the focus of this report is forward-looking, identifying lessons that should inform IGAD mediation efforts in the future.