Speech at a reception in Juba

Speech at a reception for NGOs and co-partners in Juba, South Sudan, by Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

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Distinguished guests, dear friends,

I have had two very exciting and meaningful days. I look forward to my third day of the visit tomorrow. And I look forward to get to know you better tonight and to get a glimpse of your experiences. This is my first visit to South Sudan as a Minister.

The people who are gathered here – you – are a testament to Norway’s commitment to peace and development in the country. I am honored to meet you and I want to pay tribute to you all.

First, some of you are Norwegians serving in UNMISS. Your mission is not easy. Your task is to help stabilizing this country, security-wise. Fighting is still ongoing across the country. Fighting is the prime cause preventing development, and fighting makes it much more difficult to meet humanitarian needs. Your task is important; helping to move South Sudan from a state of civil strife to a path that allows development of human and natural resources. The Norwegian government is very grateful for your service.

Second, some of you are Norwegians working for Norwegian or international NGOs, and some of you are other nationalities working for Norwegian NGOs. I know it is a constant struggle to move from humanitarian aid to more long-term assistance. In other words, to create lasting results. A new crisis is never far away – a flood, a military clash or something else. Your efforts in this very complex situation are saving lives, many lives. I want to thank you for your dedication, professionalism and never-give-up-attitude.

Third, some of you are our valuable partners in South Sudanese civil society. You are working for an inclusive society, a generous society, a society where all voices should be heard. These last few years have been difficult. I hear about restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, basic human rights. Your efforts to counter this trend are vital. I applaud your stamina in upholding principles of freedom of free speech in the face of increasing difficulties.


As you may know, Norway has been in South Sudan for fifty years. The Norwegian Church Aid started up in 1972, when few, if any, other international NGOs were present here. They were followed by the Norwegian People’s Aid. Through the engagement of these two NGOs a large number of Norwegians came to South Sudan.

Today, these bonds form the special friendship that exists between our two nations. I am very grateful for that. Norway’s role in the peace talks, which eventually led to South Sudan’s independence, was also a result of the knowledge and connections built by the two Norwegian NGOs that I mentioned.

Since independence in 2011, Norway has continued to support the quest of the people of South Sudan for development, peace and stability. South Sudan is one of the largest recipients of Norwegian development aid. We remain highly committed to assisting the parties to the civil war in implementing the peace agreement. Unfortunately, progress in the peace process has been exceedingly slow. The path to peace is still precarious. In my talks with South Sudanese counterparts during my visit, I urge them to make further progress. I strongly encourage them to consolidate peace for the benefit of the people of this country.

Finally, I want to thank Siv (Kaspersen), Norway’s ambassador, and her staff, for being enthusiastic and dedicated representatives for Norway in South Sudan. She – with her staff in Juba – prove what I have heard so often; we send our best people of the Foreign Service to Africa.

Thank you.