UK Government Donor Visits UNEP Environment and Peacebuilding Projects in Sudan Fri, Mar 2, 2012

UNEP recently hosted the UK's Under-Secretary of State for International Development on a visit to sustainable development projects in Sudan.

UK Under-Secretary of State for International Development Stephen O'Brien visited several UNEP-supported projects in Darfur. Photo: British Embassy, Khartoum.

Khartoum, 2 March 2012 - The Republic of Sudan is facing serious natural resource challenges in the face of population growth, urbanisation, climate change and the legacy of conflict.

Steady progress with restoring traditional livelihoods, sustainably managing scarce water resources and adapting to climate change were among the tangible environmental improvements conveyed to the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Stephen O'Brien, during his visit to Sudan this week.

UKaid from the Department for International Development is the major donor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Sudan, making possible UNEP's research-based, wide ranging technical assistance to the government and people of Sudan.

Mr O'Brien's programme included site visits and briefings on joint efforts to help improve the sustainable and equitable governance of natural resources throughout Sudan.

Officials from UNEP and the government accompanied Mr O'Brien to sites in Darfur where he viewed progress on repairs to dams damaged and neglected over the past years of conflict.

With large movements of people to Darfur's camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) during the conflict years, stress on the groundwater aquifers has become acute, with some water tables dropping by as much as 10 metres.

Mr O'Brien learned about groundwater monitoring and drought contingency planning at camps where UNEP has raised major concerns over dwindling water supplies but is working with local authorities and humanitarian organizations to improve the management of water resources.

"This is an excellent example of how the British people's well targeted development support will meet the needs of the Sudanese people in El Fasher and Abu Shouk," Mr O'Brien said, on concluding his visit to Golo reservoir in North Darfur.

UNEP's Sudan Programme Manager, Mr Robin Bovey, said that at this time of upheaval for Sudan, progress with managing natural resources provides hope for environmentally sustainable recovery and development, and he thanked Mr O'Brien for the British Government's ongoing support.

Supported by UKaid since 2007, UNEP's work on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Sudan has been a notable success in terms of influencing Federal and State Government policy to improve the sustainable use of water resources at the catchment level by different water users.

UNEP maintains that IWRM has important potential in supporting Sudan's agricultural sector as well as promoting pathways to peace in areas of conflict.

Among other projects, UNEP is supporting Sudan's Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources to prepare the country's Second National Communication under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change.

The massive process of data collection for Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments is currently under way in each of Sudan's 15 states, also supported by UNEP.

A Stakeholder Mapping and Analysis report, which documents key actors as well as perceptions of pastoralism from across the country, is one of several studies UNEP is due to release in Sudan in the coming months, made possible with support from UKaid and with the collaboration of Tufts University, USA.

Sudan's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Physical Development is UNEP's principal government counterpart, but UNEP also works closely with the Ministry of Water Resources. The Darfur Development and Reconstruction Agency and Tufts University are also key UNEP partners in Sudan.

For more information, please contact:

Julie Marks, Information Officer, UNEP Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, Tel. +41 (0)22 917 8478, email:

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