25 March 2019

Sudan: EU Ambassador - 'Water Is Increasingly Important in Maintaining Peace'

Darfur/El Gedaref/Kassala/Red Sea State — On World Water Day, Ambassador Jean-Michel Dumond, Head of the EU Delegation to Sudan, said in a statement that the EU is committed to supporting better access to drinking water in Sudan.

The current EU support to the water sector in Sudan amounts to EUR 35,000,000. This funding covers projects that contribute to improving access to safe water, promoting natural resources management to achieve sustainable water use, water efficiency and the safeguarding of water ecosystems.

Projects being implemented include the Wadi El Ku Integrated Catchment Management Project in North Darfur to "support over 80,000 farming families and provide benefits to around 700,000 people. Interventions will enhance agricultural productivity, improve natural resource management and strengthen cooperation over natural resources at the community level."

The Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Livelihoods in East Darfur implemented by UNOPS, UN Environment, and ZOA will also enter its second phase. The project will "support 38,000 people, with additional 35,000 pastoralists benefiting from conflict free corridors and improved rangelands".

The Integrated improvement of household food security in El Gedaref, Kassala and Red Sea States, implemented by AQUA4SUDAN partnership which is led by ZOA, will enter the second phase too: According to the statement, "the project will improve the livelihood of 120,000 people in the Eastern Region by developing more water resources and managing them in an integrated manner."

The EU Ambassador stated: "Drinking water must be accessible, safe and affordable for all without discrimination. The right to safe drinking water is a human right essential for the full enjoyment of life. Moreover, water is becoming increasingly important in maintaining peace and political stability."

Water crisis 'dire'

The Minister of Urban Planning in East Darfur Abdelmuhsin Hasan acknowledged last week that the state is suffering from a dire water crisis. According to the minister, one of the localities of the state does not have a single well or reservoir, which has led to a rise in the price of a barrel of water to SDG 180 ($3.80*).

He pointed out that the state needs more than 250 wells to eliminate thirst.

The minister ridiculed the Zero Thirst Programme set out by Khartoum, explaining that the programme deals with double standards between states.

In June 2018 in Khartoum, the Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation, and Electricity, Mutaz Mousa, said that Arab financial institutions have frozen the funding of the Zero Thirst Programme because of the failure of the Central Bank of Sudan to pay the periodic dues.

* As effective foreign exchange rates can vary widely in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the Market Makers Mechanism-determined daily US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

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