Khartoum — The Government of Sudan and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today jointly launched the first-ever State of the Environment and Outlook Report for the Republic of Sudan under the theme of Environment for Peace and Sustainable Development.
This report's launch comes as Sudan works to improve its political and economic systems to further economic and social progress following the country's historical revolution and the 3 October 2020 signing of a peace agreement. Sudan's efforts to rebuild present a fresh opportunity to ensure that environmental concerns are factored into the country's transition to freedom, justice, peace and growth.
"The theme of this report - Environment for Peace and Sustainable Development - is aptly chosen not only because it highlights the intricate nature of the nexus between environment, peace and sustainable development, but also because it comes at a time when the new Sudan seeks peaceful rebuilding of the nation, the establishment of a vibrant economy, and a politically stable future under the emblem of the December 2019 Revolution: Freedom, Peace, and Justice," said Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok. "Sudan aspires to utilise its rich natural resources for the welfare of its current and future generations."
The State of the Environment and Outlook Report comprises ten comprehensive chapters with facts and figures on the state and trend of the environment of Sudan from 2011 to 2020. The report also contains an outlook section which provides an environmental vision to which the country can aspire in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report highlights the following needs:
Shifting focus towards rural development and investment and away from urban-oriented development which will help to decrease rural-to-urban migration.
Harmonizing land regulations and laws and integrating customary rights into statutory law according to the best international experiences and practices.
Accelerating and intensifying climate change adaptation and resilience measures and promoting proven technologies and improved agricultural extension services.
Establishing a regulatory framework for the mining sector to encourage the judicious use of the country's mineral resources and simultaneously promote environmentally friendly mining technologies.
"Sudan is in the midst of a very significant political transition to a more inclusive and peaceful future. In addition, like countries around the world, Sudan is struggling to to recover in the face of the economic crisis and the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Environmental sustainability, coupled with inclusion, lie at the heart of the country's efforts to grow economically, because natural resources are the foundation of its agriculture-dominated economy," said UNEP's Executive Director, Inger Andersen. "We hope this report will contribute to sound, environmentally sustainable growth and to Sudan's overall transition."
The report looks at Sudan's specific environmental challenges in detail, covering a multitude of issues from deforestation and land degradation to waste management to food security. It provides detailed facts and figures collected from a broad spectrum of institutions, officials, experts and stakeholders.
For instance, the report warns that an almost 30% population increase by the year 2030, will lead to a substantial rise in the number of people migrating from rural areas to cities in search of food, water, housing, and other services. This could add more pressure on Sudan's natural resources, causing significant environmental consequences.
The final chapter of the report explores policy options for a sustainable and peaceful future for Sudan. Two possible future scenarios depicted in the report - Business as Usual and Bending the Curve - demonstrate the differences between a future following the country's current development path without intervention, and one following more sustainable environment conservation and better natural resources management.
Some of the report's policy options include:
Air pollution: Sudan should respond effectively to climate change and air pollution by adopting sound policies, specifically in the area of renewable energy.
Land: Sudan should harmonize the country's land tenure systems and fulfil its commitment to establish land commissions at federal and state levels.
Water: Sudan should enforce integrated water resources management and improve sustainable water-harvesting techniques.
Biodiversity: Sudan should prioritize the conservation of biodiversity in development plans, and it should do so in full alignment with the existing National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
Persistent Issues: Sudan should recalibrate its existing policies to better address major persistent environmental problems like desertification, pesticides, and waste.
This report was produced under the UK-AID/UNEP Adapt for Environment and Climate Resilience in Sudan (ADAPT!) initiative, which aims to promote evidence-based policy and decision-making and scale up successful environmental practices in development and humanitarian programming.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UN Environment Programme
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
For more information, please contact:
Osman Ali, Lead Author of Sudan State of Environment and Outlook Report
Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News and Media, UN Environment Programme