Looking back to look ahead? Reviewing key lessons from Operation Lifeline Sudan and past humanitarian operations in South Sudan

This paper reviews large-scale humanitarian operations in South Sudan, focusing on what lessons can be learnt from Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). The paper is structured as follows: The first section is a brief introduction to Operation Lifeline Sudan – what it was and what it grew out of – followed by a brief summary of overall evaluations of OLS and its impact. The second section is a more detailed breakdown of the major criticisms of OLS, focusing particularly on its unintended impacts and outcomes. The third section highlights some more positive outcomes, focusing particularly on learning and adaptation over time. The final section is our attempt to distill some key ideas arising from the experience and put them more fully at the service of the current humanitarian response.