Good Governance of Natural Resources is Vital for Peace and Economic Development in Darfur: UNEP study

By United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Good governance of the environment and natural resources is key to building lasting peace in Sudan, specifically Darfur, according to a UNEP study launched today ahead of the landmark International Donor Conference on Darfur held in Qatar on Sunday.

The report – funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) - looks at the importance of equitable and participatory environmental governance in Sudan, and how other countries across Africa, such as Kenya, Niger, and South Africa, have tried to reduce tension over the environment and improve the management of land, water, forests and other resources.

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur calls for the “development of a framework for equitable access by various users of land and water resources”. The UNEP report looks at emerging approaches across Africa and presents these to assist Darfur's efforts towards developing such a framework.

“One of the main goals of this International Donor Conference is to raise funds for the development and reconstruction of Darfur. Any peace process in this war-torn region of Sudan must consider environmental governance, and the lessons we can learn from other African countries,” said Robin Bovey, UNEP's Country Director in Sudan. “UNEP recommends that all parties ensure that land and natural resource issues are placed high on the peacebuilding agenda.”

Since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 and the subsequent loss of vital oil export revenue, Sudan is increasingly dependent on the livestock and agriculture sectors to boost its economy. Consequently fair governance of the country's natural resources is critical as a foundation for the national economy. It is also imperative to place these issues on the agenda in the conflict affected border areas of Sudan such as Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

A key issue in Darfur's recovery is how the dynamic interface in natural resource management between traditional leadership and formal government will work, and how emerging forms of natural resource management across Africa such as group ranching, integrated water resources management and community forestry will be complimentary to this interface. Supporting the development of inclusive governance arrangements that can meet the challenges that Darfur faces today such as climate change, recovery from conflict and rapid urbanisation is a priority that needs to run through Darfur's recovery and development planning.

The report also reviews international environmental governance for principles and approaches to negotiation that can assist Darfur's in rebuilding equitable natural resource management. Land is a central issue, and how tension between customary and statutory land rights complicate equitable land tenure. Indeed, land continues to be at the heart of many conflicts in Africa.

By publishing this analysis UNEP aims to contribute to the reconstruction process in Darfur, by informing decision makers of the viable models for peaceful “co-management” of natural resources. The report backs up practical initiatives in Darfur developing approaches that can be modified and replicated, working with government, civil society and communities themselves.

Notes to Editors

To view the full report “Governance for Peace over Natural Resources” go to www.unep/sudan. This is the second in a series of reports supporting the implementation of elements of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur that call for a new framework for collaboration over natural resources. The first report was “Environmental Governance in Sudan – an expert review” undertaken by two senior Sudanese environmentalists.

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) was finalized at the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference in May 2011, in Doha, Qatar. On 14 July 2011, the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement signed a protocol agreement committing them to the Document, which is now the framework for the comprehensive peace process in Darfur. The DDPD is the culmination of two and half years of negotiations, dialogue and consultations with the major parties to the Darfur conflict, all relevant stakeholders and international partners. For more information regarding the International Donor Conference for Darfur please go to