Sudan Ecological Problems

Dominated by the river system of the Nile, Sudan is the third largest country in Africa. The ethnic and cultural diversity and the struggle for resources have so far prevented the country from “nation building” in a large number of conflicts and the secession of South Sudan, which was also associated with the loss of most of the oil reserves.

Country overview

After the secession of South Sudan, Sudan is now the third largest state in Africa with just under 1.9 million km² and about five times the size of Germany. The country is characterized by the basin landscape of the Nile, the White and the Blue Nile unite in the agglomeration of Khartoum with approx. 8.5 million residents to the Nile, and by the transition from the Sahara to the various savanna forms of the Sahel zone.

History

After more than 20 years of civil war, the 2005 peace agreement was a milestone in the history of Sudan. After the secession of South Sudan in 2011, the country is now characterized by the ongoing Darfur conflict, a precarious human rights situation, press censorship and political and military conflicts with South Sudan that have flared up again and again.

Economy

After Sudan had to forego around 75% of its oil reserves, which were the basis of rapid economic development, due to the splitting off of the south, the country is in a deep economic crisis with an immense rate of inflation and a still poor infrastructure. The main agricultural exports are gum arabic (world market leader) and cotton.

Society

According to World Bank estimates from 2019, Sudan has a population of 42.81 million. The multi-ethnic state has over 300 different ethnic groups with over 100 languages and a correspondingly large cultural diversity. The 70% Arab population and members of other ethnic groups belong to 90% of Sunni Islam.

Everyday life

A passport with a visa for Sudan is required for entry, which must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry. It cannot contain any Israeli stamps. It is recommended to be entered in the crisis prevention list of the German embassy.

Ecological problems

Sudan is confronted with a whole series of ecological problems, most of which result in the threat to agricultural production opportunities and the decline in natural vegetation and biodiversity. The main causes are desertification and soil degradation, soil erosion and deforestation, the effects of climate change exacerbate this problem with an expansion of drought periods and an increase in the variability of precipitation.

In the few economically developed locations, there is sometimes serious environmental pollution from industrial production, e.g. from oil production, and in the cities due to a lack of waste management and inadequate sewage systems. Gold mining, which has been booming in recent years, is contaminating the groundwater with the mercury and cyanide used, thereby endangering the drinking water supply. Furthermore, the internal conflict situations that have lasted for decades have resulted in a high degree of environmental damage. The country’s mega-dam projects, such as the Merowe Dam in the north of the country or traditional gold mining, are also ecological sources of conflict.

In view of the country’s extensive political, economic and social problems, ecological aspects only play a subordinate role in the national consciousness. The Sudanese politics is characterized by an extensive abstinence from environmental politics. However, provisions on environmental protection are enshrined both in the Constitution of Sudan and in numerous laws. The basis of the environmental legislation is the “Environmental Protection Act” from 2001. This law was the basis for the implementation of an “Environmental Impact Assessment” accompanying the environmental policy whose implementation is largely pending. The Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources (HCENR) is responsible for environmental protection. In addition, in 2008 the “National Plan for Environmental Management in Post-conflict Sudan” (NPEM) was drawn up.

In addition to some Sudanese non-governmental organizations, such as the Sudanese Environment Conservation Society (SECS), which has been the first Sudanese NGO to be active in the environmental sector since 1975, primarily advising local institutions in the field of capacity building and providing environmental education, there are numerous foreign and multilateral organizations in the country active, above all the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). This was already in 2007 in a comprehensive investigation of the environmental sector in Sudan analyzes the ecological problems as a (co-) trigger for the internal conflicts, the consequences of which then exacerbate the environmental situation, especially in Darfur. With its current third report on “Environmental Governance”, UNEP supports Sudan, among other things, with recommendations for the revival of traditional conflict resolution strategies in the use of natural resources.

Wild garbage dump in North Darfur Sudan

The National anthem

According to areacodesexplorer, the national anthem of Sudan (“We are the soldiers of God and our homeland”) has existed unchanged since the country’s independence in 1956, was already the anthem of the Sudanese army before independence and is therefore a military-musical arrangement.