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


3 responses to “Climate change diaries: Sudan”

  1. Green Girl Says:

    Global Warming and Climate Change is the biggest environmental issue that we face these days. the long term effects of these environmental changes to a nations economy is quite damaging. there would be a shortage in food supply as well as on water supply too.

  2. Jack Fields Says:

    Hopefully gets better 4 Sudan

  3. Vanessa Mitcell Says:

    This is interesting, but it isn’t a diary of the woman who is supposed to have written it …. I thought it was going to be a personal account which showed us how climate change was affecting the lives of the diarist and family in particular.?

Leave a reply