Juba, 4 May 2011 – Government officials and representatives from universities, research institutions and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are meeting in Juba this week to consider the role of forests in the context of climate change and national development.
Forests provide an important development opportunity for Sudan, particularly in the South, and also act as natural protection against extreme weather events induced by climate change.
Yet deforestation continues at alarming levels in parts of Sudan, due mainly to unmanaged demand for timber for firewood, charcoal and brick-making, and a lack of knowledge of the climate change phenomenon and the potential role of forests in managing the impacts.
To explore this potential, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS)’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) requested UNEP to provide technical support for a training workshop entitled “Understanding Global Carbon Trade and Potential for REDD in South Sudan”.
The workshop, from 2-7 May, is aiming to strengthen understanding amongst Sudanese officials, in particular forestry management staff, of climate change, carbon sequestration and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).
UNEP’s Sudan Programme Manager, Robin Bovey, said the training would help build the capacity of government to enter a complex arena.
“The key for government will be to combine new ideas surrounding carbon trade and REDD with policies which integrate climate change and forest management and investment issues,” Mr Bovey said.
The workshop includes presentations on climate change and carbon sequestration facilitated by lecturers from Sudanese universities.
Other topics include the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), global voluntary carbon marketplace, monitoring carbon units and emission reductions, carbon pricing, the potential carbon benefits by tree species and age, and REDD experiences from other countries.
Among the speakers are Prof Siddig El Nour, University of Khartoum; Andrew Athiba and Adu Lukwasa, University of Juba; Bullen Kenyi from MAF Agroforestry Division; UNEP Sudan Programme Coordinator, Joseph Bartel, and UNEP Programme Officer, Niklas Hagelberg.
According to the 1998 National Forestry Inventory, Sudan’s total forest cover is 15% and this is concentrated in western and southern Sudan. Forests and woodlands cover an estimated 29% of the land area in the South (or 191,667 square kilometres) according to 2009 figures from the GoSS Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The workshop is supported by UKaid from the Department for International Development.
The training coincides with the 2011 UN International Year of Forests, during which UNEP is seeking to improve understanding of the role of forests in national development, including their employment and livelihoods potential, and in the shift to low-carbon Green Economies.
Note to Editors
UN International Year of Forests – The UN General Assembly declared 2011 the International Year of Forests to raise awareness of the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The slogan for the year is ‘Celebrating Forests for People’. For more information visit: www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011