El Fasher, Sudan 4 March 2014 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), together with the European Union (EU) and the Government of Sudan has launched a new €6.45m catchment management project in the Wadi El Ku, one of the largest seasonal water courses in North Darfur.
This landmark project aims to improve the livelihoods of conflict-affected people in and around a stretch of the Wadi El Ku near El Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur, through the improved management of local natural resources. The area has seen enormous population growth over the past 10 years, and currently it is estimated that well over 700,000 people depend on the Wadi for their water supply and livelihoods (agriculture and livestock). The result is widespread deforestation, falling groundwater levels, and increasing environmental degradation, which in turn erode livelihoods and undermine economic recovery.
Working with the international NGO Practical Action, and a committee of Darfuri technical experts, the project will promote more sustainable approaches to soil, water and forest management and decision-making by natural resource users in the Wadi El Ku. Doing so will contribute towards economic and livelihoods recovery in the area, and demonstrate sustainable approaches to catchment management that can be replicated elsewhere in the region.
The Governor of North Darfur State, his Excellency Osman Mohamed Youssif Kibir, declared the Wadi El Ku project a “strategic project for the state” which will demonstrate the benefits of collaboration between different actors over natural resources. The Governor also emphasized the importance of community support in all aspects of project implementation to ensure a model that can be replicated more widely across Darfur.
Wadi El Ku project is the EU’s first substantial investment for development in the region in years, stated the EU Sudan Programme Manager. UNEP affirmed its confidence that the project would break new ground in terms of effective natural resource management in Darfur. “The aim is to make a real contribution to the region’s recovery from conflict,” said UNEP Sudan’s Senior Advisor.
The project, which is funded by the European Union, is being implemented by UNEP over a 3-year period in partnership with the Government of North Darfur, the Darfur Regional Authority, non-governmental and civil society organisations and community-level natural resource stakeholders.
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Cassidy Travis, Communications Advisor, Post-Conflict & Disaster Management Branch on +41 22 917 8839 or Cassidy.firstname.lastname@example.org