KHARTOUM, December 18, 2013 - The World Bank and the Government of Sudan signed today a US$7.73 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support the country’s efforts to promote the adoption of sustainable land and water management practices through the Sudan Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project (SSNRMP).
The project’s integrated approach addresses the sustainable management of natural resources to improve livelihoods and landscapes. As the poorest 40 percent of the population derive their livelihoods from the agriculture and livestock sectors, the project is centered on these communities whose lives are inextricably linked to environmental challenges. By supporting sustainable land and water management practices, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystems rehabilitation, SSNRMP aims to reduce the impacts of land degradation, create sustainable alternative livelihoods, and provide the basis for long-term stability.
Sudan recognized the importance of natural resources management early and passed several acts and policies, each recognizing the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development. However, much needs to be done to turn these into effective, locally-driven action.
"We hope that this project will help Sudan reverse the degradation of the country’s natural resources, wildlife, and biodiversity,” said Magda Lovei, World Bank Sector Manager for the Sustainable Development Network. “Sudan’s complex development challenges require integrated solutions. This project is part of such solutions as it promotes community-based sustainable land and water management practices.”
Sudan’s geographic location makes it prone to erratic rainy seasons, devastating droughts and frequent floods like the one in 2013 which affected over 300,000 people. Rainfall has steadily decreased in the last 40 years and the Sahara desert is advancing at a rate of one mile a year. In addition, a steady increase of both human and livestock populations, and an increasing influx of refugees and internally displaced persons have further impacted the fragile environment, contributing to food insecurity and persistent poverty.
SSNRMP includes strengthening the Wad Bugul and Telkuk protected areas in the Eastern Sudan states of Gezira and Kassala, and integrated ecosystem management plans of the Umm Rimta rangelands in the White Nile. Implementation will grant a central role to local communities and pay special attention to women, pastoralists and landless villagers whose livelihoods depend on healthier ecosystems and better managed habitats.
"The involvement of local communities and their ownership of the project are key to the success,” said Asferachew Abate Abebe, Task Team Leader of the project. “We expect that they will be key players and will be empowered through their roles as active participants in the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources.”
SSNRMP will complement the Bank’s and development partners’ projects and initiatives, including the World Bank Sustainable Livelihoods for Displaced and Vulnerable Communities Project in Eastern Sudan developed under the Transitional Solutions Initiative and the Capacity Development Project for Provision of the Services for Basic Human Needs in Kassala with Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Project is part of the Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative which was endorsed by the African Heads of State in June 2005. The SAWAP developed under the African-led TerrAfrica partnership, is the World Bank Group and GEF’s contribution to Africa’s effort to improve drylands’ resilience. The program helps countries find effective solutions to ensure environmental security and reduce poverty. Apart from Sudan, the $1.1 billion flexible umbrella investment includes: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo, as well as a regional project, BRICKS (Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Services) which provides specialty services to the SAWAP portfolio to enhance quality and promote regional integration.