Local Peace Processes in Sudan and South Sudan

May 6, 2014
Jacqueline H. Wilson

Sudan and South Sudan have seen numerous local peacebuilding efforts in recent years, yet violence continues largely unabated. Using the Western Corridor as a case study, this report outlines the importance of understanding and improving local peace processes through an architecture that begins with conflict analysis, entails a common vision, and focuses on achieving specific objectives. Also essential to the success of the process is including the right people—those with authority, with knowledge of the problems requiring resolution, and with vested interest in sustainable solutions. The goal is to bring people together to work collaboratively and successfully with one another and with the government.


  • Sudan and South Sudan have theoretically been at peace since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, yet local and intercommunal violence continues seemingly unabated. Local conflicts related to cattle raids and grazing rights and persistent national conflicts are inextricably linked in Sudan and South Sudan, complicating efforts to reduce violence and build sustainable peace.
  • Local peace actors undertake peace initiatives, turning to international organizations for funding and logistical support for peace conferences. Many of these peace conferences fail to produce lasting resolution to local conflicts.
  • Future conferences, consultations, dialogues, and mediation should be embedded in larger peacebuilding processes that would begin with conflict analysis and outline a vision, goals, and objectives.
  • Participants should include those with authority, knowledge of the problems requiring resolution, and interest in finding sustainable solutions that represent the full spectrum of stakeholder interests.
  • Smaller, more regular meetings focused on a limited number of agenda items are likely to have greater effect than large conferences addressing many topics.
  • A successful peace process in Sudan and South Sudan would be designed to build trust and accountability for taking recommended actions, including mechanisms for communicating outcomes to affected communities and seeking input from them.

About the Report

The recent re-eruption of political violence in South Sudan in late 2013 has not only inflamed long-standing and unresolved local grievances but also highlights the critical need to improve the impact and sustainability of local peace processes in any region. This report is informed by analysis from conflict resolution training workshops sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as well as consultations, dialogues, meetings, and interviews conducted across Sudan and South Sudan from 2005 through 2010.

About the Author

Jacqueline H. Wilson is a senior program officer in USI P’s Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. She focuses on programming for USIP primarily in Africa but has also conducted programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Niger, and Colombia. Wilson specializes in traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution and local peace processes, as well as electoral violence prevention. Her dissertation focuses on the practice of blood money.

May 6, 2014