12th May 2022, Juba South Sudan
The Government of South Sudan through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of a USD 9,121,420 four-year project designed to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to the observed and predicted impacts of climate change.
This project operationalizes the priorities identified within South Sudan’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP), particularly on agriculture, disaster risk reduction, environment, water resources, policy and institutional frameworks and will implement interventions designed to increase the capacity of the government to drive climate change adaptation interventions; upgrade the national meteorological network and support the production of short-range forecasts and increase the provision of ecosystem goods and services.
With only 55% of the population having access to safe drinking water, the project will also improve access to water for agriculture, livestock and human consumption through construction of boreholes and establishment of water harvesting infrastructure to provide water for livestock belonging to 30,000 pastoralists. The construction of subsurface dams will also improve rainwater infiltration, benefitting 15,000 male livestock farmers. The project will also foster sustainable, climate-resilient production of crops, fodder and fuelwood to reduce pressure on natural resources and generate and disseminate information on climate change adaptation to inform evidence-based decision-making in relevant sectors. These interventions will also promote capacity-building, community ownership, and awareness-raising.
The project will be implemented in two states Terekeka (Central Equatorial State) and Kapoeta (Eastern Equatorial State) which are known to be severely affected by climate change. Terekeka is impacted by seasonal flooding, erratic rainfall and frequent dry spells while Kapoeta is directly affected by drought events and flash floods.
Interventions in Kapoeta and Terekeka are expected to improve the climate resilience of local communities through the establishment of water harvesting and supply infrastructure; strengthening of seed exchange systems; demonstrating and disseminating climate-resilient agricultural practices; and designing land-use plans.
The MoU for the implementation of the four-year project was signed on April 13th, 2022, by Hon. Joseph Africano Bartel, the Undersecretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF) on behalf of the Government of South Sudan while Dr. Samuel Doe (UNDP Resident Representative) and Susan C. Gardner (Director of the Ecosystems Division at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed for their respective organizations.
During the signing ceremony, stakeholders underscored the need to work with communities during project implementation and mainstream environmental considerations to minimize conflicts and mitigate climate change impacts.
Climate change takes toll on South Sudan
From rising temperatures and the increasing severity of drought and flood events which affect lives and livelihoods, South Sudan is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Such impacts are compounded by widespread food insecurity, conflicts and a macroeconomic crisis. Capacity-constrained institutions and fragile governance in the post-conflict context add to the challenges of climate change adaptation in the country.
With about 95% of the population dependent on climate-sensitive resources for their livelihood, extreme climate changes such as drought and flooding have exacerbated food insecurity, especially in vulnerable communities.
UNDP’s Initiatives towards climate change adaptation mechanisms
This project builds on other successful initiatives in which UNDP works with the Government and the people of South Sudan and other partners to strengthen resilience and response to climate change. UNDP supported the development, finalization, and submission of South Sudan’s first National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for Climate Change and its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
The NAP is the country’s blueprint to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience and facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant planning frameworks, laws, policies, programmes, and activities at all levels.
On the other hand, NDC is at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of long-term climate change goals and embodies a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Paris Agreement requires member states to prepare, communicate and maintain successive NDCs that it intends to achieve.
In April 2016, South Sudan ratified the Paris Agreement that seeks to solidify a global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. South Sudan has strategized to build on nature-based solutions, green infrastructure and foster socioeconomic recovery pathways centred on climate change and natural disasters.
Launch of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Office
Relatedly, UNDP supported the design and launch of South Sudan’s first digital integrated Monitoring, Reporting and Verification iMRV system at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF). The iMRV provides the country with the capacity to track, verify, and report on the emissions and estimation of the annual national GHG emissions and GHG inventory from the IPCC GHG emission sectors; tracking and monitoring of climate actions, policies, programmes; and climate finance flow and relevant SDG impacts.
The iMRV allows South Sudan to fulfil requirements under the “Enhanced Transparency Framework” of the Paris Agreement and potential enhancement for market and non-market-based approaches.
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