KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)—On the occasion of convening the first International Environmental Conference of Khartoum State in which representatives of 40 nations are taking part, SUDANOW approached the Sudanese Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Urban Development, Dr. Hassan Abdul Gadir Hilal to cast light on some aspects of environment issues in Sudan. Following are excerpts of his speech:-
Handling the Environment Issues is to be Dealt with in a Humane and Fair Manner:-
Dr. Hilal welcomed the nations, organizations and international funds for supporting implementation of the environment projects in Sudan for participation in Khartoum environment Conference. He said the environmental funding is not subject to any conditions or resolutions and dealing with the environment issues in conducted in a humane and fair way and is not politicized. During the recent Paris Climatic Summit in December 2015 the nations pledged to control the global warming to keep the earth temperature below 2 degrees centigrade and try to bring the temperature at 1.5 degrees centigrade. The Paris climatic summit called for assisting the developing countries to make the temperature at 1.5 degrees centigrade to confront the global warming by offering them an annual100 billion dollars in 2020, a figure which I to reconsidered for addition. This agreement is presumed to decrease use of the fossil energy of petroleum, coal and gas and encourage referring to the sources of renewable energy and change the policies of administration of the forests and farm-lands.
The Renewable Energy:-
The Sudan is among the first countries that introduced the use of the clean energy such as hydro-electricity and the solar energy and is considering introducing windmill energy in addition to the renewable and clean energy beside the possibility of making use of the waste for generating electricity. This made numerous countries and organizations to commend and support the Sudan for the serious efforts it exerts for the energy preservation and the Sudan was therefore offered 10 million dollars for conducting research and experiments on the renewable energy. The Sudan is also in a position to cover 50 million feddans (acres) with forests.
The Northern State will apply the clean energy by pumping the irrigation water to the major agricultural schemes in the State by giant pumps that operate by solar energy funded by the UN Environment Program. The city of Rufa'ah in the Gezira State introduced the wind energy. There is a project for utilization of the waste for generating energy, a project which will be presented by Khartoum State to the conference.
Dr. Hilal commended the greenbelt project which Khartoum State has made arrangements for planting and stretching 285km long and 200meters wide to cover an area of 13,571 feddans (acres) and passing in the localities of Omdurman, Umbaddah, Karere and Eastern Nile. He described it as one of the projects for adaptation with the climatic change, particularly as it uses the sewage water for irrigation. Its objectives include controlling the desertification, fixing the sand dunes to save Khartoum six months dusty winds, cutting down the two temperature degrees and conducting forestry experiments and food security, the Minister said. He added that the greenbelt project will cost 12 million US dollars to which the government and local private will contribute about 20% while foreign bodies concerned with the environment are expected to provide the remaining 80% of the total cost.
The Carbon Bank:-
Dr. Hilal said the member states of the Green Wall which stretches from westernmost Africa to the eastern frontier of the Continent, the African Union and the international environment organization agreed to establish a carbon bank in Khartoum to serve the issues of environment in Sudan and the African Continent at large. Those parties also agreed on finding banking systems for funding projects which are designed to eliminate the carbon dioxide which is the main cause of the climatic changes, Hilal said.
He added that the Sudan and the other African state are the most countries which are affected by the climatic changes which are caused by the industrial nations as a result of the gaseous emissions. Africa yields only 4% of the carbon dioxide while China alone produces 30% and this also applies to America and other industrial nations. Therefore it was agreed at Paris Conference on compensations of an annual 100 billion dollars to be paid by the industrial countries to the developing ones over four years for funding projects that curb the impact of the global warming, Dr. Hilal said.
The climatic changes cause tremendous environmental problems such as drought, desertification and cuts in the biological diversity, said the Minister. He added that those issues have an immediate link with the livelihood earnings for the people, especially for the farmers and pastoralists and therefore, the climatic change must taken into account while laying down the policies and programs for the agricultural sector. The Minister of Environment also called for a planning based on derived lessons, establishment of bodies for coordination between the sectors, raising awareness in connection with issues of production based on adaptation with climatic change and provision the food security. He added that the environmental projects must be placed among the spending priorities in the state budget.
Dr. Hilal stressed the importance of the training, capacity-building, benefitting from the external support, drafting deterrent punishment laws against the chopping of trees and checking the environment deterioration. He pointed to a high responsibility of the youths and the civil society organizations for dissemination of the environment culture and sharpening the sense of environment.
The Minister underlined the need for backing any initiatives related to the environment and sustainable development made by the states of the country, using their shares from the environment budget.
Benefitting from experiences of other countries:-
Dr. Hilal has called for benefitting from the current Khartoum Environment conference for acquaintance with the experiences of the countries to be presented during the sessions of the conference, including those of Egypt, Niger, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Kenya, Slovakia and America.
He also called for convening meetings between Khartoum State, the organizations and the donor countries which pledged at Paris conference for supporting the environment projects without placing any conditions, indicating that Khartoum State can present its projects at those meetings.
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