Darfur’s Troubled Waters Hold Key to Peace

Photo: REUTERS/Albert Gonzalez Farran / 06 Nov 2020

Each year, 06 November marks the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. Here we report on how a flagship United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-led project in Darfur has brought once-warring communities together to better manage limited natural resources.

Across Sudan’s arid Darfur region, water has always been one of the most precious commodities. Without it, life literally trickles to an end.

With climate change, the availability of water for farming and living has become more unpredictable. Rainfall has been erratic, and temperatures are rising higher, leading to food shortages and conflict as farmers and herders compete for scarce natural resources.

“Water is a priority anywhere in north Darfur. We sometimes have only one shower per year, and often, as little as between 150–200 mm of rain a year,” said Mohamed Siddig Lazim Suliman, who works on a UNEP project on water resource management in Darfur.

Drought is not always the problem. Heavy rains can also bring misery – and death. When the ground has been baked dry over long hot months, it cannot absorb sudden downpours. When the water comes, it runs off in flash floods, barreling down dry riverbeds, sweeping all before them. In North Darfur alone, 42 people have drowned so far this year in such incidents. Read more…

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