Noureldin Ahmed Abdalla

Area/district/state: Khartoum Occupation: Advisor on climate change & indigenous knowledge

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Posts by Noureldin

  • Walking Africa, waking the world

    Copenhagen, Denmark, Copenhagen
    December 15th, 2009

    Yesterday the African Group walked out of discussions at the Copenhagen climate talks, but it feels more like the negotiations have walked out on Africa.

    I am from Sudan, where we are currently experiencing a prolonged drought and many people are moving into urban areas, especially Khartoum, because it is too dry to grow crops on their land. Farmers in developing countries are on the front line of climate change and cannot wait forever for these negotiations to come up with a fair treaty.

    The African Group are concerned that the industrialised nations, which are historically responsible for climatic change, want to ditch the Kyoto Protocol. It is not that they love the Protocol itself, but that it is the only legally binding treaty in existence.

    They fear that by focussing on a new and alternative treaty, many rich countries will have shirked their responsibilities to reduce emissions and, worse, that it may not be possible to get a better treaty for some time. For a continent that stands to lose so much as the climate continues to change, this is too much of a gamble.

    It would be absurd for Africa to sign on up something that will doom vast areas of the continent. So when we see the historic emitters proposing targets that take no account of science, we are of course frustrated. The issue is much wider than the Kyoto Protocol debate; it is about the widespread ignorance of African experiences and Africa’s needs.

    I fear that many countries are busy protecting their economic interests when it is the world that is at risk. They are too cowardly to look at Africa, to look at the science, and to face up to the fact that serious changes are needed. If they do not look soon, they may not like what the see when they next visit Africa.

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  • Climate change diaries: Sudan

    July 6th, 2009

    Hello, my name is Noureldin and this is my diary of climate change in Sudan.

    Sandstorm approaching Khartoum

    As the largest country in Africa, Sudan is a land of diversity both in its people and throughout its natural landscape. With a population of more than 36 million, we have a vibrant culture made up of more than 50 groups and 600 tribes each with distinctive languages, styles and traditions. The Sudanese people live across the whole range of topography that Africa has to offer – from arid deserts to rich savannahs, tropical swamps to Red Sea coastal banks intersected with mountainous regions.

    Our greatest concern about climate change is the damage it is causing to our agriculture. Sudan’s economy, like that of many developing countries, is heavily based on farming and livestock keeping, the major employment sectors of the country. More than 70% of the population relies on traditional and subsistence agriculture, the majority of which are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and pastures. This all makes our economy extremely vulnerable to any slight changes in the weather. These changes are happening now and many people’s livelihoods are under threat.

    Our government has produced a study into Sudan’s vulnerability to climate change for the UNFCCC – the organisation under which a global climate deal is expected to be agreed in Copenhagen this December. The results are worrying. Desertification now threatens the livelihoods of millions of Sudanese people living at the edge of the dry Sahel belt – even small variations in temperature and rainfall here could tip the balance towards desert conditions. By 2030, Sudan’s average annual temperature will increase between 0.5 and 1.5°C and rainfall is expected to drop by approximately 5%. We predict a major decline in yields for Sudan’s three most common crops – sorghum, millet and gum arabic.

    Local solutions

    On the positive side, the unique location and wonderful diversity of Sudan makes it one of the best places for promoting local innovation, particularly in ecologically-friendly agriculture and natural resource management – both vital techniques for increasing the ability of people to adapt to climate change. Amongst other projects, Practical Action is working to spread local knowledge and build partnerships in these areas as part of a global learning network called Prolinnova. Together we help to promote and scale up farmer-based approaches to adaptation by combining local ideas with scientific knowledge. In other areas of Africa where droughts are becoming harsher and lasting longer, Practical Action works with communities to harvest rainwater, irrigate land and select drought resilient seed varieties.

    These projects reflect Practical Action’s approach to adaptation: by building on people’s experiences and indigenous knowledge our work reduces the vulnerability and enhances the resilience of local communities living in marginalised areas. This is a good starting point to increase people’s capacity to cope with climate change.

    Global climate deal

    Practical Action is helping communities in Sudan adapt to climate change. However, to reach all those that will be affected in our country, let alone those in other developing countries, we need a global response to the issue. Now is the time for world leaders to agree a climate deal. The people of Sudan have contributed little to global warming, now we need support to adapt if we are to maintain our unique lifestyles and continue to develop.

    Thank you for reading my climate change diary. I hope that people in the UK and other developed countries can urge their leaders to create the best climate deal possible at Copenhagen. I leave with you this message:

    فلنعمل معاً للحد من آثار التغير المناخي
    Let us work together to reduce the effects of climate change

    Greening Darfur
    Regenerating vegetation cover in west Sudan

    Stop Climate Injustice
    Make the link between climate change and poverty

    Working to adapt
    Practical Action’s work to help communities adapt to climate change


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