National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BBSAP) 2011-2020 Workshop for the Implementation of the CBD in Sudan

The Ministry of Environment ,Forestry & Physical Development 's , Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources (HCENR) vide the Biodiversity Project organized a Workshop on 10 February, 2014 on the Updated National Biodiversity Strategy  and Action Plan for 2011-2020.
The Workshop was well attended by many high governments and legislative officials in addition to United Nations Agencies representatives. The opening session was addressed by the HCENR's Biodiversity Project Manager Prof. Ahmed El Wakeel who first highly commended the UNDP and other UN Agencies support to the project. He pointed that the aim of the Workshop is present the Draft of the CBD (Convention on Biodiversity) 2011-2020 Sudan Strategy and Action Plan for discussion, so that any useful remarks, comments and suggestions that will further improve the Draft can be included before presentation to the concerned authorities for approval and adaptation. This Strategy is an improvement of the previous strategy by including the developments in climate change , biodiversity and the social and economic national arena  that have accrued during the last decade to preserve biodiversity and include it in the national social and economic strategies of Sudan.

The second speaker to address the Workshop was the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Sudan Country Director Ms. Yvonne Helle who made the following statement:
I am honoured to have been given an opportunity to say a few words at this workshop which is one of the essential activities for the positive environmental action in the Republic of the Sudan. As you are aware,  Sudan is rich in its diversity of ecosystems, habitats, species and genetic resources, but on the other hand the threats to biodiversity are many and major ones including habitat loss, land use change and degradation, and unsustainable use, invasive alien species, climate change and pollution. The preparation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for Sudan and its endorsement by the government represents an excellent step to overcome these threats as well as it ensures Sudan’s commitment to the international agreements on climate change and biodiversity. As you are aware, Sudan has been Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since 1995. The project is part of the second generation of Biodiversity Enabling Activities under the GEF and the project address the country’s need to continue to fulfill its obligations under the CBD as well as a significant contribution to Sudan’s efforts toward implementing the CBD Strategic Plan 2011 – 2020 at the national level. As we all know Sudan has strong researches entities and academic institutions that related to biodiversity and natural resources management.  This will definitely help in building the capacities of the relevant stakeholders and local communities on biodiversity issues. Moreover, they represent an effective tool to enlighten the respective authorities on the importance to integrate the national strategy in the national plans and frameworks. With the strong belief that addressing biodiversity provides an opportunity to make inroads into poverty reduction and to move toward a more sustainable development, UNDP is globally strengthening its engagement in issues related to climate change and biodiversity paths. In this context, UNDP is supporting today’s discussion forum on the preparation of a National Biodiversity strategy and highlighting the issues that are of great concern to Sudan and the developing countries at large. UNDP stands ready to continue its support to Sudan and working closely with the government counterparts. I wish you successful discussions and have a great day.
This was followed by an address by the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Physical Development Mr. Hassan  Abdel Gadir Hilal  who started by thanking the participants for attending this important Workshop because Biodiversity effects daily human life in all its dimensions in food, medicine, housing, clothing and many other aspects of life. " I would like to highly commend the UNDP-Sudan Office for its continuous support to us in all our environmental and biodiversity projects", said Minister Hilal. Adding that, we are all aware that in the present the environment and biodiversity issues are no longer national but also of regional and international concern to all. So, we had to extend the area of cooperation at the regional and international levels to the sake of safe and sustainable environment, this is demonstrated by the large number of regional and international conventions that have been signed and ratified by Sudan. It should be noted that Sudan was among one  of the first countries that have signed and ratified the CBD (Convention on Biodiversity) which was one of the outcomes of the World Summit 1992 (Rio-ONE) and which also included the Climate Change Convention and the Combating Desertification Convention, and both conventions have also been ratified by Sudan. All these conventions have direct impacts on citizens daily life ,this is why Sudan have formulated many action plans and programmes for their implementation and this respect would like to highly commend the support of UNDP, UEP(United Nations Environment Programme), the World Bank and GEF (Global Environment Fund) to Sudan to  fulfill its national and  international obligations. During the more than two decades since the Earth Summit there have been many world wide developments that had very negative impacts on the environment and human life. These negative impacts include the increase in global warming and decrease in the forests areas worldwide, all these factors have effected severely the biodiversity and at the end led to the spread and increase in the rate of poverty in its many forms. Also, man-made causes like wars, conflicts and unsustainable use of natural resources in many countries including Sudan had a very negative impact. Also, the secession of South Sudan has effected the ecosystems and biodiversity map of Sudan but still Sudan is reach in biodiversity and ecosystems. But this make it necessary to accelerate efforts to preserve and insure the sustainability of the present biodiversity and ecosystems through research and actions plans and make agreements with neighboring countries specially South Sudan in this respect for mutual cooperation on these vital issues. At the end, I would like to highly commend the efforts of the team of experts headed by Prof. Al Wakeel for their great effort to produce this strategy.
The following presentation reviews the developments in the NBSAP in Sudan.
The Government of Sudan has signed the CBD in June, 1992 and ratified it in October, 1995. Following the ratifications of the CBD, the Government had meet its obligations under the CBD. These obligations were; to develop a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and to prepare and submit a Country Reports (CR) to the CBD and to meet these obligations, the Government received support from GEF (Global Environment Fund) for Biodiversity Enabling Activity. Hence, the Sudan NBSAP was developed in 2000 and approved in 2001. In addition, the first CR was sent to the CBD on 2000, the second on 2003, the third on 2006 and the fourth on 2009. Now, the fifth CR report has been prepared and will be due next March, 2014.
But the previous NBSAP had inherent deficiencies mainly that most of the emphasis was put solely on the conservation aspects, while issues of sustainable use and benefits sharing were given little attention. Poverty has not been addressed in the NBSAP and / or linked to biodiversity even though biodiversity and poverty are interconnected. In addition of not stressing on the association between food security and other goods and services provided by the ecosystems and the biodiversity components. And no clear mention of the synergies between biodiversity, climate change and desertification.
The other shortcomings of NBSAP was the non-streaming of the NBSAP into national development plans and the implementation actions plan (if any) was limited to sect oral levels and never in coordination . Now 12 years have passed since the previous NBSAP and no revision was conducted or monitoring or follow-up was made.
Since the 2000 NBSAP many new development have accrued at the international level. Most notable was the Nagoya (Japan) in 2010 and its results in the form of the AICHI-NAGOYA Outcomes. There were 47 decisions of COP-10 including the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS); Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets and the Strategy for Resource Mobilization.
Same time, there were 17 decisions on MOP including the Nagoya-kL Protocol on Liability and Redress and the Strategic Plan for Bio-safety Protocol.
The Summit lead down some strategic goals which included , addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity losses, reduce the direct pressures and promote sustainable use , directly safeguards ecosystems ,species and genetic diversity, enhance the benefit to all forms of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and enhance implementation through participatory planning.

By Alula Berhe Kidani, 11/02/2014