Climate change has hit Sudan hard. UN Environment and the European Union have jointly launched the second phase of a water catchment project. This project is expected to boost agricultural production and relieve communities facing low rainfall in Kafod, North Darfur.
The Wadi El Ku Catchment Management Project builds on a successful first phase, spreading seasonal water to increase agricultural productivity and reduce soil erosion.
The second phase will enhance agricultural productivity, improve natural resource management, and strengthen cooperation over natural resources at the community level. It will also provide insight for improved decision-making about water and natural resource management across the wider catchment.
The project will expand to all communities along the Wadi El Ku catchment area, where rainfall has declined by half in some areas over the last decade. It will help mitigate the displacement of farmers and contribute to peace and stability in North Darfur.
Already, the first phase of the project has tripled agricultural productivity in millet and sorghum. When asked, seven out of 10 people said that thanks to the project their income had increased.
“Many parts of Sudan are facing climate-related challenges and we need to replicate such projects in other parts of Sudan,” said H.E. Dr. Osman Mohamed Youssif Kibir, Vice President of Sudan.
His Excellency Ambassador Jean-Michel Dumond, Head of Delegation, European Union in Sudan, said: “Wadi El Ku – Phase One was very successful: three dams and one hafir have been constructed, allowing 1,584 households from 54 villages to cultivate also during part of the dry season”.
“The improved livelihood, the potential for reforestation are a big success and UN Environment and Practical Action, as well as the local authorities and villagers involved should be commended for this achievement,” he said.
“With this expansion, our intervention will directly support over 80,000 farming families and provide benefits to around 700,000 people living near the wadi or depending on its water for their livelihoods,” he added.
“Building on a successful first phase, the purpose of this project is to continue to demonstrate how environmental harmful cycle can be halted and eventually reversed while at the same time rebuilding relationships over natural resources,” said Mr. Atila Uras, UN Environment Country Programme Manager for Sudan.
More than two thousand people including Sudanese dignitaries and the international community celebrated the launch. It is expected that in future, its success will be replicated in other parts of Darfur and Sudan, contributing to climate-resilient livelihoods while reducing natural resource conflict and displacement.
The project, funded by the European Union, is implemented by UN Environment in partnership with the government of Sudan, the state government of North Darfur, local-based civil society organizations and local communities.
The combined strengths, contributions, and commitment of these partners will continue to ensure positive change and serve as a model for partnership that can strengthen livelihoods, protect the environment, and contribute to peace in Darfur and Sudan.