Survey on public perceptions of peace and the peace process in South Sudan, conducted over three iterations in 13 counties across South Sudan with funding provided by the US Institute of Peace (USIP).
Overall, people felt safer in their daily lives in 2022 compared to 2021. A majority of respondents in 2022 believed that the peace agreement was helping to resolve the conflict in South Sudan, that it would hold until the end of the transition period, that it had increased daily security and that it had made daily life easier. But these experiences varied starkly by location, with Aweil and Pibor at the two poles. The contrasting viewpoints reflect trends in stability and insecurity across survey locations.
The safer people felt, the more likely they were to believe that national peace agreements would resolve South Sudan’s conflicts. They were also more comfortable with the idea of army rule. Conversely, the more unsafe people felt, the more skeptical they were of national peace agreements and the more strongly they disagreed with the idea of army rule.
While respondents identified national political dimensions in most types of conflict they experienced in their areas, people varied in how confident they were that their communities could create local peace if a national war waged on. Respondents in the Equatorias were especially pessimistic about the ability for their communities to insulate themselves from national politics.
The findings underline the importance of sustaining the political transition. This
appears to be producing a general increase in stability, though unevenly distributed. The findings also underline that for South Sudanese to buy-in to national peace agreements, citizens need to observe direct improvements in their daily safety. Army rule is not a solution most South Sudanese see to local insecurity; policies that protect people at the local level need to focus on civil-military independence.