Assessment of Policy and Institutional Responses to Climate Change and Environmental Disaster Risks in South Sudan

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Nhial Tiitmamer
The Sudd Institute
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This report examines policy and institutional response to climate change and environmental disaster risks, with the view to providing recommendations to the government and its partners in South Sudan on where to focus their environmental policy interventions. To get a sense of the policy and institutional measures, we interviewed key government officials and examined legal and policy documents on environment, disaster management, food security, seeds, agriculture and livestock, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, land, electricity and petroleum and related institutional frameworks in target areas.

Climate change has increased the frequency of severe droughts, floods, storms and cyclones in various parts of the world (IPCC 2007, IPCC 2012, IPCC 2013, Meadowcroft, 2009). In South Sudan, seasonal patterns have become erratic and rain-fed agricultural areas have decreased significantly in the northern and eastern parts of the country (Funk et al., 2011). Rainfalls have decreased in South Sudan by 10-20 % and temperatures have increased by more than 1 ºC since the middle of the 1970s. These rainfall and temperature changes are linked to increase in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) since the industrial revolution (IPCC, 2013, IPCC, 2012, the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, 2014). The atmospheric CO2 has worldwide increased by 40% since the industrial revolution, and about 70% of this has been emitted since the mid-1970s (ibid).

Observations suggest that patterns in which floods and droughts occur in the same season have become widespread, with droughts happening earlier in the season around May/June and floods occurring later around August/September in South Sudan. These climatic shocks have wider negative impacts on people in terms of food security, health, and safety needs. The government and relevant actors can develop policy and institutional measures to address these shocks.
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