Of all of South Sudan’s natural resources, forests are of particular significance to the country’s development trajectory. With an estimated 30% forest cover in the country, South Sudan’s forests harbor globally significant biodiversity, provide a globally significant greenhouse gas sink, and provide numerous other goods and services to South Sudan’s growing population. In particular, South Sudan’s forests play a significant part in the daily lives of South Sudanese, with more than 90% of the population directly dependent of forests for fuelwood, food and nutrition security and hydrological cycling services. Forests also support a wide diversity of wildlife habitats.
However, South Sudan’s forests and their associated ecosystem goods and services are also under significant threat due to unsustainable activities such as illegal logging, unplanned and inefficient agricultural practices, and an unregulated charcoal industry, serving ever increasing demand in urban centres.
“These activities undermine the health of forests and subsequently those that depend on them. It is important to build sustainable livelihoods. Furthermore, they compromise South Sudan’s resilience to shocks such as the impacts of climate change,” explains Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan.
FAO South Sudan is working with both the central government of the Republic of South Sudan and other development partners to address the problems associated with deforestation and other unsustainable land uses. Since 2011, the Republic of South Sudan has been a UN-REDD Programme member country.
“Through this consortium of UNEP, UNDP and FAO, the UN-REDD Programme is helping South Sudan to lay the groundwork for recognizing and safeguarding forests as a key source of sustainable livelihoods and climate change mitigation measures,” highlights Abdal Osman, FAO Head of Programmes.
These initiatives were consolidated at the climate change talks in Paris December of 2015, where the South Sudan government reiterated its commitment to pursuing the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) as a primary mechanism for achieving its forest conservation and management goals.
FAO is specifically assisting in the design of technical approaches to monitoring forest cover change, training, and engaging the government on issues of policy and practice in the land use sector. It is anticipated that this suite of activities will lay the foundations for a system of measuring, reporting and verifying emissions reductions from future REDD+ activities in the country. Also, at community level FAO is distributing fuel-efficient stoves to reduce forest and natural resource degradation. It also supports agroforestry initiatives for example, supporting a tree seed center in Kagdu Forestry Training Centre to facilitate sustainability.
Source : Fao