South Sudan

South Sudan launches UNEP-supported national action plan to tackle climate change

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Patricia Okoed

The National Adaption Programme of Action (NAPA) for climate change was launched in Juba today, as part of the government’s global obligation to taking action to lessen effects of climate change.

The 60-page document was launched by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Program.

Radio Miraya’s Sani Martin reports from the launch.

The National Adaption Programme Action, known as NAPA, lists priorities and spells out guiding principles for adaptation projects to address the urgent and immediate climate change concerns in South Sudan. Parties to the climate change convention signed in Paris 2015 are required to come out with this document to detail specific actions they intend to take.

The Ministry of Environment has listed five priorities in areas of concern, including reforestation and agroforestry, sustainability of wetlands and promotion of climate-backed agriculture. Also on that list are establishing strong early warning systems and strengthening institutions dealing with climate change.

With support from the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the ministry has identified a total of 28 priority projects designed to help the country adapt to changing weather patterns.

Speaking at the launch, the guest of honour, the Minister of Energy and Dams Stephen Dhieu Mathok, said that the legal framework, the government’s efforts to create more awareness for the plan and appropriate funding are key to the successful implementation of the NAPA.

Environment Minister Josephine Naponi Cosmas said the threat of climate change is real, exemplifying it by mentioning heat waves and prolonged drought among the impacts being experienced by South Sudan.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, stressed that climate change accelerates poverty and is particularly severely felt by the poor and their livelihoods.

Arshad Khan, the Country Programme Manager of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), pointed out that South Sudan has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. He said forests are the main absorbents of sources of carbon dioxide released as a green gas pollutant and therefore must be protected.

With the completion of the NAPA document, South Sudan is eligible to benefit from a 40 million dollar fund set aside to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change.