World Environment Day - Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level

WED 2014: Raise Your Voice for Sudan’s Environment

This year’s WED celebrations in Darfur and Khartoum integrate all issues related to Sudan’s environment, ranging from waste management to climate change adaption to forestry and livelihoods.

Caption: 5 June 2014. El Fasher: In celebration of promoting a “greener Sudan”, the Deputy Wali of North Darfur, the Minister of Environment, the Head of the North Darfur Justice Department, University of El Fasher representatives, UNEP, and UNAMID planted 7 neem trees around the University of El Fasher Campus.
Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID

It also featured UNEP’s Integrated Water Resource Management work to date in the region and presentations by the Ministry of Environment on improved waste management and efforts to promote community forests and tree nurseries in North Darfur. In Khartoum, festivities were organized by the Sudan Friends of Environment Group, which consists of local organizations, academic institutions, and UN organizations.

The events kicked off on 3 June with a media roundtable of journalists to publicize the upcoming activities and generate interest for environmental issues in Sudan. It also served as an opportunity to establish a network of journalists for environmental issues, as it is one of the most under-covered stories by the local press despite the enormous environmental challenges the country faces.

In Darfur, activities began on 5 June with a photo exhibition and presentation that highlight the impacts of waste dumping on the area’s water supply. It also featured UNEP’s Integrated Water Resource Management work to date in the region. A second presentation, by Practical Action, focused on community forestry in North Darfur and efforts to promote tree nurseries. The sessions ended with brief participant interviews and the collection of calls to action for WED 2014.

In Khartoum, WED was held in an outdoor family recreational space, known as the Green Yard. The event opened with a fun run for about 100 children.   This was followed by the opening of a three-day exhibit from the WED committee, featuring info booths. This was an opportunity for UNEP Sudan to display publications and to garner interest for the Arabic versions of its soon to be released reports.

Speeches were then delivered by members of the WED committee including Brad Smith, officer-in-charge of UNEP Sudan.  An awards ceremony then took place to recognize fun-run winners and contributors to the WED celebration in Sudan. Entertainment followed soon after with a comedy group performance and a very popular Sudanese music band.

This grassroots WED event attracted over 500 people and was attended by VIPs such as the Undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment and heads of UN agencies.

WED celebrations continued with lectures at Future University and al-Faisal Cultural Centre to generate discussion on environmental issues among the academic community and  engage youth groups working on environment. Following the lectures, a 2-day workshop was held by a Sudanese turning-trash-to-treasure group at the Khartoum Juvenile Reformatory.

These activities are to be followed by cleaning and tree-planting campaigns in various Khartoum neighborhoods. The campaigns will be conducted in collaboration with the authorities at the locality level.