British Ambassador Designate
to South Sudan
About Chris Trott
Chris Trott has been a British diplomat since 1991 and was most recently the Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan from August 2016 until March 2019. He has worked in Burma, Japan, Afghanistan, the South Pacific and both West and Southern Africa. In 2007 he was appointed as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Senegal, accredited also to Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and Mali. In 2011 he was appointed as Consul General in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by a short stint in Honiara as High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru.
Among various roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, he worked as Deputy Head of the Human Rights department and as Deputy in a then newly formed unit in DFID designed to address stabilisation post-conflict.
Chris is married with 2 children and is a Freeman of the Commune of Timbuktu.
British Ambassador Designate to South Sudan, Chris Trott, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss conflict resolution, power sharing agreements, Ebola and working in the frontlines.
Chris talks about his career trajectory and the rewarding challenges of being posted to South Sudan, Afghanistan and other precarious settings. He explains why this is important to him and provides advice to others who may be drawn to similar postings while having to juggle family commitments. Chris is motivated by wanting to make a difference in a conflict environment.
He is quick to note that despite the challenges of being posted to South Sudan, these pale in comparison with the hardships the South Sudanese population has to endure.
Chris sheds light on the state of affairs in South Sudan and the region. He provides statistics on the death toll from the conflict, along with staggering numbers pertaining to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
He then proceeds to discuss the challenges of securing – and maintaining – power sharing agreements and the difficulties of bringing enemies to the negotiating table.
Chris notes that the statistics around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Sudan are horrifying. He talks of girls’ education and explains how a girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in child birth than complete secondary school. The country has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world. This is but one element of the myriad of problems facing the country, from high rates of sexual violence in conflict to lack of adequate healthcare, malnutrition, the threat of Ebola and more.
Chris notes that “it’s really, really important that we focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, because they are a long way from achieving them here”.
Chris’ key takeaway: The international community has a hugely important and supportive role in trying to help address crises around the world – we need to find ways to offer that support in a way that empowers local partners, local governments and other key stakeholders.
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