In January 2005, the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, putting an end to twenty-two years of continuous civil war. With peace and a fast-growing economy fueled by its emerging oil industry, most of the country can now focus on recovery and development.
Sudan, however, faces a number of challenges. Among these are critical environmental issues, including land degradation, deforestation and the impacts of climate change, that threaten the Sudanese people's prospects for long-term peace, food security and sustainable development. In addition, complex but clear linkages exist between environmental problems and the ongoing con?ict in Darfur, as well as other historical and current con?icts in Sudan.
Post-conflict environmental assessment
With a view to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the current state of the environment in Sudan and catalysing action to address the country's key environmental problems, the Government of National Unity (GONU) and Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) requested the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to conduct a post-con?ict environmental assessment of Sudan. The goal of the UNEP assessment was accordingly to develop a solid technical basis for medium-term corrective action in the ?eld of environmental protection and sustainable development.
The post-con?ict environmental assessment process for Sudan began in late 2005. Following an initial appraisal and scoping study, ?eldwork was carried out between January and August 2006. Different teams of experts spent a total of approximately 150 days in the ?eld, on ten separate ?eld missions, each lasting one to four weeks. Consultation with local and international stakeholders formed a large and continuous part of UNEP'sassessment work,with the total number of interviewees estimated to be over two thousand. Parties consulted include representatives of federal, state and local governments, NGOs, academic and research institutions, international agencies, community leaders, farmers, pastoralists, foresters and businesspeople.
The assessment team was comprised of a core UNEP team and a large number of national and international partners who collaborated in a range of roles. These partnerships were crucial to the project's success, as they enabled the ?eldwork, ensured that the study matched local issues and needs, and contributed to national endorsement of the assessment's outcomes. UNEP also worked closely with the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan, and speci?c efforts were made to align UNEP activities with a government initiative known as the National Plan for Environmental Management.