Sudan Rio Plus 20 :Sudan seriously prepares for Rio +20 Conference for Sustainable Development (3)
The preparations for Sudan participation in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) is going at full speed spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Physical Development.
It was a intelligent choice that the Ministry of Environment decided that the quick-up of its activities was a Forum convened on 2 May 2012 to orient the Media on the Conference and the challenges of sustainable development.
A major event came in this context with the Ministry of Environment organizing a three days workshop from 8 to 9 May 2012 on the three basic issues that will be the focus in the Rio+20 Conference . The first and second days of the Workshop was attended by the Enlivenment Minister Hassan Hilalh to express his strong concern for the environment and the good preparation of Sudan participation in the Rio+20 Conference. On the First Day 8th May a paper was presented by Prof. Hasssan Osman Abdel Nour on The Environment and Natural Resources and on the Second Day 9th May 2010 a second paper was on THE Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development in Sudan by Dr. Yagoub Abdalla Mohamed ,both paper were reviewed in this page. This is a review of the last paper presented in the last day by Dr.Al-Haj Hamad on Sudan Commitment for the Global Social Resilience.
The UN system is determined to do its part on institutional reform, by improving system wide coordination mechanisms, and by reviewing and improving policies and programs, including through joint programming. But this may not be sufficient, and Rio+20 should consider continued efforts on broader reforms within the UN system, for example, the strengthening of institutions, mandates and regulatory frameworks, or making structural changes.
These issues require a coordinated approach by the UN system, stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector, to find joint innovative and lasting solutions. The Rio+20 will provide an appropriate platform to support selected initiatives, such as the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which illustrate a collective renewed commitment to sustainable development.
At Rio+20, we must build upon and scale up the achievements, best practices and lessons of the MDGs, and lay strong foundations for the post-2015 development agenda.
The MDGs were reflected in Sudan’s Interim Constitution as well as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as a prerequisite to achieve stability in Sudan. The National Long-term Strategic Plan which spanned the 25 year period (2007-2031) has also made strong references and commitments to the MDGs. The new Five Year Development Plan (2012-2016) being finalized and its predecessor (2007-2011) have also made strong reference to the achievements of the MDGs in Sudan. Achieving MDGs in Sudan is set as a challenge in the Socio-cultural section of the new Five Year Development Plan. The issuance of Sudan First MDGs Interim Report of 2004 and the latest 2010 Sudan MDGs Report marked important milestones in the country’s effort to document the progress on MDGs since the signing of the Millennium Declaration in September 2000.
The recent pre-secession CPA-period economic growth in Sudan had been driven by oil.
Oil accounted for nearly 50% of domestic revenue and 95% of export earnings and 15% of industrial value added. However, the non-oil productive sector particularly agriculture has been on the decline since the advent of oil in the late 1990s.
Real GDP growth rate averaged nearly 8 percent during the nine year period ending in 2009 and per capita income increased from US$776 in 2004 to US$1,570.4 in 2009. The service sector contributed 40 percent to GDP, surpassing agriculture as the leading sector in the economy. Trade, hotels and restaurants have flourished, mainly in the country’s capital (Khartoum) and generated about one-fifth of the GDP during 2004-2009. However, since the advent of oil, the non-oil sector has continued to decline. The dynamism had been to a greater extent in the non-tradable sector –construction and services, driven by the growing oil revenues. Direct foreign investment had expanded. But most of it was destined to the oil sector. The diversification of exports, including the revival of traditional exports such as cotton, and the development of non-traditional, non-oil exports is imperative for sustained growth and employment creation in Sudan. The productive sector in general and the agriculture sector in particular have been neglected in Sudan following the advent of oil since the early 2000. Sudan’s growth process has been unbalanced, with the majority of its manufacturing firms and irrigated land concentrated in the center with a huge disparity in the development indicators between the best and worst performing regions in Sudan.
The low growth of employment, increasing unemployment and low levels of productivity remain at the root of high and persistent levels of poverty in the Sudan. Agriculture continues to be the main source of employment for the majority of the labor force. In rural areas, about 50% of the rural labor force is engaged in agricultural activities.
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Sudan is highly indebted country where the debt stock reached nearly US$38 billion by the end of 2010. Such a huge debt burden has far reaching implication on the growth agenda, poverty reduction and realizing MDGs. The resulting heavy debt burden compounded by the renewed sanction has direct bearings on the evolution of the Sudanese economy and its prospects. According to the analysis of the World Bank and the IMF, the external debt of Sudan is unsustainable. That means that Sudan cannot service the debt and make progress on reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs. The Government of Sudan is currently negotiating the apportionment of the stock of external debt with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS).
Sudan has recently issued (July, 2011) its Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (IPRSP) with the objective of securing debt relief and channel the resources saved from debt relief to priority poverty-reduction and growth enhancing infrastructure sectors. Thus, a resolution to the debt problem will improve prospects for sustained growth, employment creation, poverty reduction and achieving the MDGs.
Post- CPA Period
According to the recently issued (July, 2011) Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper(IPRSP), the focus of Sudan new growth strategy is the non-oil sectors that can impact the incomes of the poor and create employment opportunities for all categories of the labor force. In the non-oil sectors, the aim is to attract domestic and foreign direct investment and to promote productivity growth for Sudanese firms to be globally competitive and hence sustain pro-poor and broad based growth. According to the IPRSP, the growth strategy needs to focus on two areas: (i) targeted support for the agricultural sector, including livestock, forestry and fisheries, to promote growth and productivity change; and (ii) broad support for private sector development, with policies, institutions, incentives and infrastructural services to promote investments, innovation, productivity growth and employment creation in all sectors of the economy. Productive activities will be the domain of the private sector. The key roles for the government in the strategy includes (i) the maintenance of macroeconomic stability that reduces macroeconomic risks, improves the confidence of the business sector in the management of the economy, helps to maintain the competitiveness of Sudanese firms; (ii) adopt policy and institutional framework that supports the strategic objectives of growth and poverty reduction; (iii) pursue human development efforts that builds a skilled labor force consistent with the demands of the labor markets to foster innovation and productivity; and (iv) economic services including infrastructure, and for agriculture, knowledge related services (research, extension and capacity building).
As underscored in the IPRSP, creating employment also requires that the education and knowledge system produces the skills that employers need to be innovative and to raise productivity. Access to quality education and healthcare is crucial for enabling more and more citizens to take advantage of the opportunities presented by a growing economy and add value to the economy and thus escape the poverty trap.
As articulated in the IPRSP, building a strong, inclusive, transparent and effective state and the institutional capacity to govern and deliver public services to the population is also another dimension of the policy framework. Important elements of good governance include effective public financial management (PFM) and decentralization, peace and security, fighting corruption, promoting human rights, and improving justice and law enforcement.
For the government of Sudan to reverse the economy from declining and meet the MDGs goal of reducing poverty and hunger by half by 2015, it must focus on providing support for female headed households and small holders agriculture involved in crop farming, horticulture, animal husbandry, fishing and forestry so that they can be resilient to economic shocks such as crop pest and diseases, drought and flooding. Poverty is higher among agriculture households than non-agriculture population. As substantial proportion of the Sudanese population is not employed or fully employed, employment generation is the feasible solution to reduce poverty. However, in the long run family planning is also one means of slowing population growth and dependency ratio and hence poverty.
By Alula Berhe Kidani, 23/05/2012