Q. Canada's contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is enabling Sudan to combat Climate Change. Can you tell us more about Canada's intervention in Climate Change adaptation in Sudan?
A. Climate change is becoming a global problem. Many countries in the Horn of Africa are facing this problem. This problem has ramifications and we've seen its negative impact everywhere. The flooding in many areas, drought, and desertification which are pushing people to move and migrate elsewhere. We have seen fighting over land and water resources. There is a series of consequences to climate change, and even a country like Canada is impacted by climate change in a different manner than that of Sudan. That's why Canada has allocated up to 2.6 Billion dollars to adapt to the effects of Climate Change.
Canada is working with different partners to provide them with funding like we did with Sudan to mitigate the impact of climate change with special emphasis on empowering women and girls.
Canada will be organizing in the coming weeks an international conference with the Government of Kenya called “Sustainable Blue Economy Conference” on Climate Change. There will be a number of Heads of States attending this conference. Like many other countries, we believe in the importance of combating Climate Change and finding creative solutions to mitigate its negative impacts.
Q. What about the situation in Sudan, what are your views on Climate Change impact on Sudan ?
A. Sudan is facing the same Climate Change situation as in Eritrea, Ethiopia, etc. Populations are impacted in the same way. In Sudan, there is goodwill and you can see that the Government of Sudan is concerned about the impact of Climate change.
Sudan is gifted because of the Nile waters but better management of the Nile waters is crucial for the development of the Sudan.
Therefore, I think it is important for all stakeholders, the Government of Sudan, the local communities, the international community and the U.N. agencies responsible for climate change, to work hand in hand to tackle this problem. I think first of all we need to make sure that we measure the impact of this issue through assessments and studies. The second step is identify priorities and how to assist the populations to mitigate the effect of Climate Change.
Obviously, populations in Sudan are growing which is putting pressure on demands for food and water. Therefore, the response has to be multidimensional. Educating people, farmers, local decision makers, etc. is part of the approach. Increasing productivity and using new technologies for water usage for food security are also part of the challenge.
The need for a comprehensive strategy is paramount. It involves on one hand the Government of Sudan and the various involved institutions and on the other hand the international community to tackle Climate Change in Sudan.
Q. At the end of this interview, I wish to know what are last parting thoughts. What is your vision of the future of Sudan and your inspirations for this country ?
A. Well, As I said earlier, Sudan is in a transitional period. Rebuilding and reconstruction in areas where there have been conflicts and creating secure environment for people to go back home. This not easy, as there are many challenges ahead. It is challenging because of the required investment in infrastructure, security, education and health centers. I recently read some very good news about the government’s plan to build schools in numerous places.
A shift also from humanitarian assistance to development is inevitable- what is known as the humanitarian development nexus- to address the root causes that led to conflicts. Development will be the real solution for Sudan’s problems.
Current challenges should be seen as an opportunity to reform the economic sectors and I think the government is working on it. The other aspect that is equally important is investing in education and creating jobs.
In order to create jobs, there is a need to attract foreign investment and a favorable environment for investment. Sudan has huge potential and can compete with other countries in Africa in the mining sector for example. Sudan has the human capital and the strategies to achieve these goals and the international community has the goodwill to assist Sudan in this domain.
Canada will continue it support to Sudan. Canada has been providing humanitarian assistance to Sudan and is one of the main donor countries. We remain committed to Sudan and will continue to support capacity building efforts in all sectors to achieve sustainable development for the benefit of all Sudanese.