15 July 2021, Juba—New interventions intended to strengthen the capacity of South Sudan’s government and people to adapt to climate change were launched by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan on Thursday 15th July.
The occasion marked the official launch of two projects and the inauguration of a dedicated Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) system located within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. One of the projects, titled Strengthening the Capacity of Government and Communities in South Sudan to Adapt to Climate Change, is being funded by the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) at an initial U$9 million.
“We face a real uphill task on climate adaptation and protecting the biodiversity of our environment. Our partnership with the international community must be stepped up. With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and South Sudan’s population expected to reach 20 million, there is a need to protect our environment now. Through the UNEP-GEF partnership we are committed to providing continued support to build our capacity to achieve our goals in climate change adaptation and mitigation,” said Vice President for the Economic Cluster H.E. Prof. James Wani Igga, emphasizing the link between taking environmental action to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In addition to the Vice President, who presided over the event hosted at the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, cabinet ministers in attendance included the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Hon. Angelina Teny; Minister of Petroleum Hon. Puot Kang Chol; Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Onyoti Adigo Nyikuac; Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Kuol Athian Mawien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Hon. Lily Albino Akol, as well as the Ambassador of France to South Sudan H.E. Marc Trouyet, and UNDP Resident Representative Samuel G. Doe. The event was attended virtually by a delegation from UNEP.
Among other activities, the five-year Strengthening the Capacity of Government and Communities in South Sudan to Adapt to Climate Change project will pilot disaster management, ecosystem-based adaptation, and climate smart agriculture in Kapoeta and Terekeka. Ecosystem-based adaptation measures are fairly new in South Sudan, and this project could therefore have an important demonstration effect. A separate project, dedicated to cross-cutting capacity development, will focus on South Sudan’s implementation of the three Rio Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Desertification.
“Activities in the project are designed to generate sustained benefits beyond the lifetime of the project, which will be implemented in partnership with Ministry of Environment, UNEP and WMO. UNEP will monitor and ensure the project meets standards of implementation,” said Head of the Climate Change Adaptation Unit of UNEP Jessica Troni.
“You can count on the support of France, and the European Union at large, as a partner in these climate change efforts,” said Ambassador of France to South Sudan Marc Trouyet, during the launch event and high-level briefing.
Each of the three initiatives launched recognize the urgency of addressing and mitigating the impacts of the climate change in South Sudan.
“Climate change has become a reality much faster than all scenarios predicted. We can see how weather extremes in South Sudan are increasing in frequency,” said Deputy Minister Hon. Lily Albino Akol, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, highlighting the issue of rising temperatures and increasing severity of drought and flood events.
Average temperatures in South Sudan have increased by approximately 1-1.5°C since the 1970s and are expected to increase an additional 1-1.5°C by 2060. At the same time, summer rainfall has decreased by 15–20 percent across parts of the country, and rainfall patterns have become more erratic and unpredictable. Farmers and pastoralists in South Sudan rely on rain-fed agriculture and animal husbandry as their main sources of livelihood. Rainfall variability is a fundamental factor that determines uncertainty in agricultural production; meanwhile flooding, such as the historic levels witnessed in Jonglei State in 2020, exacerbates food insecurity, and can act as a source of conflict between communities.
“Climate change is an existential threat that is impacting the globe, but also South Sudan in particular. To respond to the impact of climate change, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in collaboration with stakeholders, developed the National Adaptation Plan Action (NAPA), which outlines as priorities some of the projects we are launching today. With the launch of the greenhouse gas monitoring capabilities within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, we will be able to calculate and pursue carbon sequestration policies that protect our forests and enable South Sudan to participate in the carbon trade,” said Hon. Josephine Napwon Cosmas, Minister of Environment and Forestry.
The integrated Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system and database (or MRV Tool) for South Sudan, which was officially unveiled by government, partners, and UNDP, is meant to help the country successfully implement the Paris Agreement, and transparently communicate domestic actions, strategies, and action plans on climate change to domestic and international stakeholders. The MRV system includes digital monitoring, reporting, and verification on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory; Climate Action (such as mitigation/adaptation actions), climate finance, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) tracking.
“The MRV office will assist actors across all levels of government to implement initiatives on climate change. On behalf of UNDP, I am proud we are able to join UNEP and GEF in financing the Strengthening the Capacity of Government and Communities in South Sudan to Adapt to Climate Change project and look forward to seeing these resources increase in the coming years,” said Samuel G. Doe, UNDP Resident Representative.
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