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The Green Climate Fund has approved $25.6 million to fund a climate resilience project in Sudan, designed to promote agriculture, health and food and water security.

Around 1.2 million people from subsistence farming and nomadic pastoralist communities across nine states in Sudan are set to benefit directly, with an estimated 2.5 million people set to benefit indirectly.

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Increasing changes in climate are leading to variations in rainfall and temperatures across Sudan’s arid and semi-arid drylands, pushing lives and livelihoods to breaking point.

Crop failures, the death of livestock, drought and other climate-related impacts are deepening poverty and reducing the capacity of people, communities and authorities to deal with other interconnected risks, such as COVID-19 and conflict.

Working at national and local levels, the new project will help Sudan address the challenges. Led by Sudan’s Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the five-year project will provide and deliver training and equipment, rehabilitate land for sustainable use, introduce new climate-resilient practices and construct infrastructure such as wells, dams and water storage.

UNDP Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran said the project would improve health, food and water security for up to 3.7 million people in Sudan, safeguarding them against the worsening, life-threatening impacts of climate change while  building resilience and infrastructure for the vital agriculture sector.

“At the same time, together we will ensure institutional and community capacity is improved, vulnerable groups like women and youth receive targeted support, and Sudan’s natural resources are protected,” said Ramachandran.

A Green Deal for Sudan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels

The funding was approved at the 26th Green Climate Fund board meeting which approved 15 projects and raised the Green Climate Fund’s total portfolio of climate finance to $26 billion. They added Afghanistan and Sudan to the list of more than 100 countries, which receive GCR funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resilience.  

The GFC is the fund created under the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, aimed at combatting effects of climate change. The UNDP is the agency that access the Fund resources, works with the countries and Fund to prepare and present projects and programmes.

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The UNDP’s support for this initiative in Sudan is part of its efforts to drive a new ‘Green Deal’ in the country, to ensure climate protection and mitigation.

This includes the introduction of renewable energy in agriculture, healthcare measures and into rural communities, reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Professor Rashid Hassan, Secretary General of the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, said this project supports the Sustainable Development Goals and Sudan’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement.

“Importantly, it is a country and community-led initiative: the people and areas receiving support, and the needs being addressed, were identified after a comprehensive consultation process involving Federal and State authorities, communities, NGOs, the private sector, research institutions and relevant unions,” explained Hassan.

Specific projects targeting people to address climate resilience

Sudan
Part of the new GCF grant will support sustainable and clean water access for drinking, livestock and irrigation, reaching 200,000 households, in areas facing severe climate and weather change challenges, like this existing UNDP project in North Darfur. Image: UNDP

Under the project, about 211,000 households will benefit from enhanced food production. This will include the introduction of climate-resilient seeds, training on the use and management of water resources and the introduction of women’s farms and home gardens.

In an effort to build gender equality in Sudan the project will also focus on women’s micro-finance, training and food security initiatives, and work on empowering them in decision-making through the formation of women groups.

The project will also establish communal reserves used for grazing, rehabilitate 4,500 hectares of rangelands and introduce sustainable livestock, agroforestry and land-management practices.

Access to clean water is an essential component in preventing the spread of diseases such as COVID-19.  Thus an important component of the project will be to construct and rehabilitee wells and small-scale irrigation, sand dams and water storage infrastructure. This should improve access to water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, as well as for livestock and irrigation for 200,000 households.

Sudanese Prime Minister Dr Abdalla Hamdok pointed out that address the impact of climate change is a collective responsibility. “We as a government recognise this global responsibility and are committed to protecting the people of Sudan from the risks we are currently facing. Left unchecked climate change will derail our nation’s efforts to end poverty and conflict across the country.”

“With Green Climate Fund financing and support from the UNDP, the Sudanese government is working to build resilient economies and livelihoods. This will help us minimise the impact of COVID-19 and put our people and planet first,” said Hamdok.