07 Jun 2018 Press release Disasters & conflicts

Resource competition and climate change hampering South Sudan peace and development

  • The South Sudan State of Environment & Outlook Summary Report launched on World Environment Day is the first ever review of the South Sudan environmental situation.
  • Droughts, floods, pollution, deforestation, and conflicts could worsen South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis and jeopardize the livelihoods of over 90 percent of the country’s 12 million people.
  • Sustainable and equitable management of resources will contribute to putting the country on the path to peace and wealth.

7 June 2018 – Ongoing conflict in South Sudan continues to hinder its ability to sustainably manage and develop its natural resources, threatening the livelihoods of more than 10 million people depending on the country’s natural resources, according to a new UN report.

The South Sudan State of Environment & Outlook Report highlights that competition over access to pasture, water, fuelwood, and productive farmland – between pastoralists and farmers, and communities and clans – could intensify conflicts and forced migration within and beyond South Sudan.

“The war in South Sudan has been absolutely horrific and brings an extraordinarily high cost to civilians,” Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said. “This report shows how important it is to ensure South Sudan’s resources are managed well to benefit all of the people and put the country back on the road to peace.”

Meanwhile, South Sudan is among the countries most affected by climate change in East Africa, due to an increase in droughts and floods in recent years.

“The country’s fragile natural environment has suffered enormously; fighting over natural resources together with the impacts of climate change are factors in driving this vicious cycle,” said Gary Lewis, UN Environment’s Director, Policy, and Programme Division. “ And this is before we consider additional challenges which lie ahead – like lower rainfall and hotter average temperatures – which will result from climate change.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Lewis recommended that environmental peacebuilding is included in the peace negotiations.

If sustainably managed, South Sudan’s natural resources – such as forests, oil, water, and minerals – present a huge economic opportunity for the country. The report identifies several key policy recommendations that will allow the world’s youngest nation to protect its ecosystems and create income by promoting agriculture, fishery and industrial development; establishing mechanisms for the protection and sustainable use of natural resources; and developing climate resilient communities.

The report is the result of a joint study by UN Environment’s South Sudan office and the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Download the report

South Sudan’s images­

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, UN Environment keith.weller[at]un.org