The paper traces shifts in international engagement and the implications of these shifts for understanding the trends in service provision specifically, and recovery and development more generally, in South Sudan. This analysis is intended to offer some direction for the future of international engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states around the objectives of service delivery and state-building.

The paper traces trends from the civil war through the post-CPA and Independence era to the renewed violent conflict of late 2013 through 2015, to explore whether there is any strong link at the ground level between service provision (including basic services such as health, education and water, as well as livelihoods support and social protection) and state-building.