Since the early 1950’s, a large number of development studies have been made throughout Sudan. The studies – documents and maps, mostly defined as grey literature – cover large parts of Darfur, Kordofan, the River Nile, Eastern Sudan and South Sudan. The topics include diverse aspects of the physical, biological and socio-economic sectors.
The validity today of these works cannot be underestimated: they were often conducted by experienced multi-disciplinary teams working in the field on long-term aid projects. Yet many modern workers have been unaware of their existence or known how to locate these reference materials.
A portion of these studies can be found in government agency libraries in Khartoum and various other towns in Sudan, although these archives are scattered and often incomplete. Some documents can even be found in the homes of retired scientists.
A major scanning project by UNEP is tracking down such studies, with the aim of making them freely available to all involved in natural resources development throughout Sudan.
Supported by UKaid from the Department for International Development, UNEP has acquired an advanced book scanner, the Bookeye 3, and has so far scanned some 687 documents and 1,578 maps held by the World Soils Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom.
The scanner has now been shipped to Khartoum and placed in the UNEP office, where a library of additional scanned documents is being gathered from archives within Sudan. All of these scanned materials are being made available to those interested in utilizing archival data in their modern studies.
As thematic baseline studies, UNEP considers that most remain extremely useful, especially for geology, water resources and soils. They provide a timeline on which to assess change, whether that is over-use of a resource leading to its degradation, the rural economy, changing climatic conditions or population movements.