United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP launches Campaign to keep South Sudan green


Approximately 500,000 trees have been planted around the city of Juba, in South Sudan, as part of the Keep Juba Green Campaign, launched by the South Sudan Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Supported by the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and the Government of Italy, the campaign aims to engage community groups, schools and non-governmental organizations in the planting of over 23 different tree species in an effort to draw attention to the need for reforestation and improved forest management in South Sudan.

A UNEP Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of Sudan estimates deforestation to be occurring at a rate of over 0.84 per cent per annum at the national level. Between 1990 and 2005, Sudan lost 11.6 percent of its forest cover, or approximately 8,835,000 hectares.

Southern Sudan is estimated to have lost 40 percent of its forests since independence. The study points out that deforestation is principally driven by energy needs and agricultural clearance.

If deforestation rates continue, the forest cover could reduce by over 10 percent per decade. In areas under extreme pressure, UNEP estimates that total loss could occur within the next 10 years.

Two decades of devastating civil war ended in January 2005 when a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the Sudanese central government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the South.

Thanks to the rapid development of its oil industry, Sudan is now one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Direct investment and international aid are starting to flow into the country on a large scale and some parts of Sudan are undergoing brisk development.

As it focuses on recovery and development, the country faces key environmental challenges such as land degradation, deforestation and the impacts of climate change. Adequate management and rehabilitation of natural resources are fundamental prerequisites to peacebuilding in Sudan.

Through its Disasters and Conflicts Programme, UNEP's activities in Sudan focus on addressing the links between environmental pressures and conflict through capacity-building and more effective natural resource management, primarily water and forestry, to help build community resilience, address poverty issues and support peacebuilding.

With UNEP's support, the Ministry of Environment completed the South Sudan Environmental Policy 2010 as well as the 2010 South Sudan Environment Act which will be reviewed during a forthcoming UNEP-sponsored stakeholder workshop.

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