South Sudan – UN Environment’s South Sudan Office, in collaboration with the national Ministry of Environment and Forestry, held an inception workshop with stakeholders on 30th Nov 2016 in Juba for South Sudan’s first ever State of Environment and Outlook Report.
The purpose of the inception workshop was to consult sectoral and other stakeholders and experts on a proposed structure and content for the Environment Report and Outlook for the Republic of South Sudan. The workshop focused on the identification of “hotspots” and “hopespots” of environmental change, with emphasis on the human dimension. The inception workshop also aimed at obtaining stakeholders professional opinions on priority issues for the report and advice on possible sources of data and information.
The workshop was opened and attended by National Ministers of the Republic of South Sudan, comprising of the Minister of Environment and Forestry; Minister of General Education and Instruction; Minister of Wildlife and Tourism and the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. Senior government officials and over 100 stakeholders attended, including from various governmental sectors, development partners, members of the private sector and NGOs.
In his welcoming remarks, the Undersecretary for Environment introduced the background of the collaboration between the Ministry and UN Environment that goes back to the Sudan Post-conflict Environment Assessment. That assessment will form part of baseline information for the first State of Environment and Outlook Report for the Republic of South Sudan. The UN Environment Country Programme Manager in South Sudan re-emphasized UN Environment’s commitment to continued support to the GoSS in sustaining the environment as it is the country’s life support system. He thanked DfID for the support provided through the BRACED consortium in the preparation of the State of Environment Report and Outlook.
In his remarks, the Minister of General Education and Instruction mentioned climate change as a globally recognized greatest threat. He emphasized the need to educate people in protecting the environment as provided for in the Constitution of the Republic to the effect that “protection of the environment is the responsibility of every citizen and of every person living in South Sudan”.
The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation highlighted the pollution threat, especially in the oil production states. She noted in her speech that 70% of the country’s territory is covered with water. She recognized the State of Environment and Outlook Report as a tool in implementing the SDGs, the country’s Vision 2040 and the Africa Agenda 2063.
The Minister of Wildlife and Tourism also expressed concern about oil spills, as well as the problem of “small-arms” that is associated with poaching and other criminal activities. She recommended an integrated approach to the serious environmental issues and tap into South Sudan’s great potential in tourism based on attractions including the biggest animal migration in Africa and to reduce dependency on petroleum. She commended State of Environment reporting as a source of baseline information for the implementation of natural resources programmes.
The Minister of Environment and Forestry in her opening remarks appreciated the partnership with UN Environment. She referred to the pre-independence Sudan Post-conflict Environment Assessment Report that produced 88 recommendations, 22 of which were for South Sudan. She recognized that the State of Environment Report for the Republic of South Sudan will enhance the country’s awareness and ability to take appropriate short and long-term management measures.
The first State of Environment and Outlook Report for the Republic of South Sudan is expected to be launched in mid 2017.