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‘EU ready to support Sudan with climate change’: Ambassador

September 19 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A dried-up dam in West Darfur (postconflict.unep.ch)
A dried-up dam in West Darfur (postconflict.unep.ch)

On the occasion of the Water Diplomacy Week in Sudan, the EU Delegation to Sudan issued a paper on the efforts to combat climate change in the country on Saturday.

The paper, signed by Jean-Michel Dumond, the new Ambassador-Designate of the EU in Sudan, on behalf of the resident EU Heads of Mission, states that the availability of water is increasingly being affected by global climate change.

Last December, 195 countries gathered in Paris to negotiate a new global climate agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The result – the first-ever climate deal – sets out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2oC.

Sudan’s participation in climate negotiations, which was actively supported by the EU and members of the delegation, has contributed to finalising Sudan’s Individual Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to low carbon policy already.

“In particular, we have appreciated the efficient and constructive role of Sudan as coordinator of the pan-African position in Paris,” the paper reads. Sudan is currently on its way to ratifying the Paris Agreement.

Water management

The Netherlands, traditionally known for its fight to reclaim land from the seas, is supporting initiatives to make more efficient use of the limited water supplies in eastern Sudan.

In March this year, the Netherlands hosted a workshop for EU diplomats working on water diplomacy for the eastern Nile region. The workshop focused on the Blue Nile and finding ways to connect EU activities in this area, and to explore the possibility for third parties to play a role.

As part of a trilateral project between Sudan, IGAD and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ is about to reduce land degradation in selected locations in Kassala and Gedaref by constructing water terraces. Working with local communities, the project aims at improving the management of the scarce water resources.

Dumond also points to the EU support to the Wadi El Kou Catchment Management project in North Darfur, that showcases a unique platform for institutions and communities to establish well-informed decisions regarding high risk natural resources, such as water. The project also prioritises the role of women at the heart of enhanced livelihoods resilience, while sustaining the environment.

“There is a lot of work to do, and the EU looks forward to a continued partnership with Sudan.

The EU and many of its member states further support the Nile Basin Initiative, the regional partnership which aims to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilisation and benefit from the common water resources. “We welcome Sudan’s role in encouraging other riparian countries to ensure the opportunities of clean hydropower are managed cooperatively, noting the ongoing discussions on the filling and operations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” the paper reads.

National climate plans

This year’s El Niño drought directly affected 1.2 million people and was followed by heavy flooding in some of the same regions. The EU allocated 30 million Euro for EU’s humanitarian aid department ECHO in Sudan to provide the most affected people with food assistance, nutrition support, and protection of livelihoods.

The EU is further committed to supporting Sudan and other climate-vulnerable nations to develop national climate plans and make the transition to low-carbon climate-resilient economies. The EU has allocated 8.5 million Euro for initiatives that strengthen the local communities' resilience to climate change shocks as well as improve the capacity of local authorities and stakeholders to prevent and address climate change in a sustainable way.

The areas will include North Darfur, Kassala, River Nile state, and the Northern State where rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall, fluctuations in the River Nile, and increased wind speeds have resulted in lower crop yields, reduced livestock production, increased river bank erosion, and land degradation.

France is contributing to the project “Implementing Climate Change Adaptation Measures to Build Resilience of rain fed farmer and pastoral communities” implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in El Gedaref.

The UK allocated GBP10 million to support Sudan to better understand and integrate climate and environment issues into programmes, plans and policies. This recognises the importance of the environment and natural resources to people’s livelihoods and to the economy, and the risks due to a changing climate in Sudan. The UK has also allocated GBP27 million to support rural communities in the east and west of Sudan to better adapt to climate risks by improving their access to and management of water resources.

Action

In a few months, countries will gather in Marrakesh to translate into action the political agreement that was reached in Paris. Building capacity to act, addressing loss and damage associated with climate change and setting out a roadmap to reach climate finance targets are just some of the issues on the table. Before then, countries will also aim to reach multilateral agreements on limiting aviation emissions and phasing out highly climate warming gasses used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

“There is a lot of work to do, and the EU looks forward to a continued partnership with Sudan,” the paper concludes.


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