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Bradley Smith
Programme Coordinator

Who's who

Dr Muawia Shaddad Dr Muawia Shaddad heads the Sudanese Environment Conservation Society (SECS), an environmental NGO with over 100 branches in Sudan and a key UNEP partner

Transhumant herdsmen, local water users, and the government collaborate on water management in West Kordofan.

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17 June 2014, Khartoum, Sudan – UNEP releases third report in an environmental governance series that looks at supporting peacebuilding relating to natural resources in Sudan.

Drawing on practical experience in Sudan from the work of UNEP and others, the new report ‘Relationships and Resources: Environmental governance for peacebuilding and resilient livelihoods in Sudan’ aims to support places such as Darfur to reduce conflict and improve resource governance where disputed control of natural resources has played a role. It also offers new insights on how to mitigate the risk of conflict in areas that are currently at peace, but have tensions relating to competition for natural resources.

In Darfur protracted conflict has severely weakened traditional and formal ways of environmental governance. Violence in the region has devastated relationships amongst communities, government, and civil society undermining collaboration over resources such as water and pastures. The breakdown of these relationships not only challenges cooperation essential for trade and livelihoods, but also undermines traditional and formal systems of governance that underpin conflict mediation and reconciliation.

‘Relationships and Resources’ confronts those challenges by identifying ways to support new participatory forms of environmental governance. It views restoration of relationships over natural resources as central to more resilient forms of environmental governance and identifies practical measures needed to rebuild trust among divided groups.

Water management in Sudan offers a useful example where cooperation between communities and institutions can help rebuild relationships and improve service delivery. In Al Khewei, an important livestock trading town in West Kordofan, villagers and mobile communities have worked in concert to secure financing and ensure maintenance of a local water yard. For the non-residents, water is transported in bladders and tankers to remote locations. This reliable provision of water has played a vital role in maintaining good relations between the two communities. Regular engagement with State decision-makers has also ensured water users have the necessary equipment for maintenance and repair.

By understanding these relationships in more detail, the report argues, the design of peacebuilding and governance programmes can be enhanced. It also contends long term efforts are needed to support Darfuri organisations on technical disciplines such as governance of water, forestry and livelihoods. Over time, improving cooperation over natural resources can have important “spill over” effects, often leading to cooperation in other domains.

Released on the heels of the World Day to Combat desertification – a key environmental issue in Sudan – this report is intended for Sudanese and international peacebuilding actors and environmental practitioners and policy makers. It responds to the call for action put forth by the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur to support the development of a “framework for equitable access by various users of land and water resources.”

While primarily drawing on the experiences of Darfur, the report also provides important insights relevant for other parts of Sudan, the Sahel and Horn of Africa that face similar conflict risks including those linked to natural resources.

To download full report click here

Notes to editor:

The other two reports in the series include:

"Environmental Governance in Sudan – An Expert Review" which is a self-diagnostic written by two senior Sudanese environmentalists and provides a technical basis for the following reports.

‘Governance for Peace over Natural Resources – A Review of Transitions in Environmental Governance across Africa as a Resource for Peacebuilding and Environmental Management in Sudan’ is written to inform decision makers and practitioners of potential elements of good environmental governance that may have relevance in the adaptations and reforms Sudan is making.

All three reports in the Environmental Governance for peacebuilding series will be available in both English and Arabic.

The approaches described in the report were developed under UNEP’s Sudan Integrated Environment Project (SIEP), a UK Department for International Development funded project. Technical contributions were also made by UNEP’s Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding programme (see for more information).

For further information please contact:

Cassidy Travis, Communications Advisor, Post-Conflict & Disaster Management Branch on +41 22 917 8839 or

Dimah Abdulkarim, Communications Officer