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Accelerating Innovative Climate-Resilient Agricultural Development in Sudan

The increasing climate change threat that Sudan faces has not gone unnoticed. Efforts to build resilience to climate impacts from more frequent droughts and stronger storms, to creeping sea-level rise and failed harvests aim to ensure families, communities and governments can manage and bounce back from them.

In Sudan, climate threats are looming large – leading to variations in rainfall and temperatures across Sudan’s arid and semi-arid drylands, pushing lives and livelihoods in peril. Poverty was deepening with the country already in conflict, and additional challenges posed by COVID-19.

Various forecasts, reports note that rainfall will fluctuate even more in the future and the frequency of extreme events such as droughts or heavy rainfall will increase, as temperatures continue to rise. The impacts of climate change are particularly felt by the poorest population groups, for whom natural resources form the basis of their livelihoods.

It is clear that climate change will increase the risk of drought and desertification even more over the next few years, therefore, all around the world, countries have been engaged in utilizing technology as a means of helping humanity cope with desertification in a better way.

One of the many factors that contributed greatly to the acceleration of desertification issues in Sudan is the absence of economic and social institutions- which are supposed to help citizens cope with the resources degradation problem and the formation of initiatives to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of desertification.

Desertification threatens almost all the potentially cultivable land in Sudan; especially the irrigated sector, mechanized crop production schemes and the traditional rain-fed agriculture. Left with no support, farmers must weigh their options, either they individually try to mitigate the effects of desertification on their livelihood or decide to abandon it altogether to minimize losses.

Farmers have innovated for centuries, as part of dynamic, informal processes of learning, changing and responding to change. Innovation is central to efforts to encourage both economic growth and social development in rural areas.A grassroots, inclusive ‘innovation’ may have one or more of five characteristics: newness; adaptation from other efforts; collective and socially cohesive interactions; application of new knowledge content; and new or improved learning pathways.

Climate-resilient innovation involves integrating what we know about the current and future climate into the design of the innovation so people are more able to anticipate, adapt to or absorb the effects of climate change. Innovations in climate resilience include changing practices ( technical aspects of farm production), economic innovations (credit access and savings schemes) and social innovations (participatory planning and access to and integration of climate information by farmers).

Adapting to climate change will require innovation, creativity, experimentation and, above all, partnerships. Responding to climate change at the local level will require both local authorities and communities to work together. Harnessing knowledge and diversity from within local communities and matching with the legal mandates of local governments enables the creation of interventions more aligned with experienced realities and the identification of new approaches.

The urban poor, being in the frontline of impacts and disproportionally affected by climate change, need to be enabled to implement actions to cope with these impacts, while taking advantage of the benefits and opportunities brought by such interventions.

Climate adaptation actions take many forms, such as the creation of climate-resilient livelihoods, climate disaster risk reduction, enhancement of adaptive capacity, and addressing poverty, vulnerability, and their structural causes. For instance, the establishment of early warning systems could enhance the adaptive capacity of urban populations, while flood-proofing and protection could save life and property.

Investing in rural communities as evidenced by financial support for a number of climate resilience-building projects around the world, should focus on sustainable development within the agriculture and fisheries sectors, strengthening natural resource management, including water, and enhancing community resilience to better cope with the effects of extreme weather patterns and climate change, for instance drought.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved $25.6 million in new funding for an innovative climate resilience project in Sudan, designed to promote agriculture, health, and food and water security. Around 1.2 million people from subsistence farming and nomadic pastoralist communities across 9 states will directly benefit from the initiative, along with additional 2.5 million people expected to be indirectly benefitted.

These will help increase robustness and resilience of highly vulnerable rain-fed farming and pastoralist systems to climate change risks. By demonstrating viable and cost-effective adaptation options the project will also assist the government of Sudan to improve its food security policies and address critical social vulnerabilities that often underpin resource-based conflicts, aggravating human security conditions.










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