The Sustainable Development Goals in Sudan
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Sudan:
03 August 2022
From seeds to life - my visit to South Darfur
While looking across fields of abundance and imminent harvest, it is important to remember that they grew from tiny seeds that were planted and nurtured by their planters and rain, and, in South Darfur, protected from destruction to allow them to grow. Having visited South Darfur together with UN senior officials on 1 August, the importance of the harvest cannot be understated. People’s livelihoods depend on agriculture and livestock production, with the main crops cultivated including sorghum, millet, groundnut, sesame and hibiscus. However, the combined effects of crises from the economic downturn, climate change (including erratic rains last year) and conflict are significantly affecting people’s access to food in Sudan: 22 per cent of the population in the state face food insecurity. To counter this, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) received 12 million in funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support local food production in 14 states across Sudan, including in South Darfur, where 110,000 people are receiving support. This includes quality sorghum seeds to improve household grain production and strengthen resilience around food security and nutrition. During my visit to South Darfur, I was able to see the distribution of seeds and talk to the communities that had received and planted them. I was also able to see the work being carried out by other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to reduce the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity. The community leaders with whom I spoke were very grateful for the seeds and the support they had received – they are expecting a good harvest – but they also uniformly told me that their main need now is for the protection of their crops. They also communicated that they would like even earlier support as well as crop-related equipment and maintenance. I was particularly pleased to speak to women representatives about the importance of securing crops and their protection, who spoke of the need for training and capacity building for women in professions like agriculture. A key challenge is tensions between farmers and herders regarding the use of grazing land. They need to share. In previous years - due mainly to climatic reasons - herders have moved earlier in the year from north to south in Darfur, which has caused disruptions to farming. This is why it is so important that Crop Protection Committees function across Darfur, where the different community representatives - including women - can discuss and agree on ways forward that are mutually beneficial to herders and farmers. One step in the right direction has been the initial demarcation of migratory routes by the authorities in South Darfur, which allows farmers and herders to know where herders’ cattle will be grazed. However, more still needs to be done. Protection is key, especially for women who are exposed to the risk of Sexual and Gender Based Violence when going to their farms. I was glad to be able to witness the transformational impact of the support provided by UN and humanitarian organizations, and I would like to thank our generous CERF donors for their vital contributions. The seeds that were given to communities in South Darfur through humanitarian funds have the power to change the lives of tens of thousands, so never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
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16 July 2022
UNHCR and WHO join hands to improve access to health for refugees in Sudan
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and WHO, the World Health Organization, signed a Letter of Understanding on 06 July 2022 to enhance health services for refugees and host communities in Sudan. Building on a 2020 Global Memorandum of Understanding, the agreement enacts the two agencies’ first national comprehensive partnership beyond emergency responses. Sudan’s health system is buckling under several recurrent crises, with the current situation further exacerbating health and nutrition conditions for refugees and the communities which host them. Areas where refugees live often have limited health infrastructure and suffer shortages of medical personnel and supplies. “We are glad to make official our continuing collaboration at a time when multiple emergencies and the ongoing economic crisis are undermining a fragile health system,” said Dr. Ni’ma Saeed Abid, WHO representative in Sudan. “The Sudanese health system will also benefit from the know-how and from our renewed joint efforts towards health for all,” Abid added. The UN agencies will also strengthen their advocacy to Sudan’s government on key health issues affecting refugees, such as their full access to national health services. “Health is a fundamental right for everyone. This agreement will help us support refugees access vital health services in the country,” said Axel Bisschop, UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan. “Increasing access to healthcare for forcibly displaced populations is one of the pledges Sudan made at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019. Therefore, this agreement is a good opportunity for UNHCR to continue its support to Sudan in meeting their commitments,” Bisschop added. Among the main joint achievements in 2022, UNHCR and WHO supported early warning systems to detect potential disease outbreaks in a timely manner, in order to effect swift action and avoid further spread. The agencies continue to provide medicines and medical supplies to primary health facilities in refugee locations across the country, with about 32 such facilities also accessible by local populations. The new partnership defines UNHCR and WHO roles and strategic areas of collaboration, maximizing coordination — including with national authorities — and optimising resources when responding to refugee influxes and other emergencies affecting both refugees and Sudanese. Sudan hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. As of 31 May 2022, over 1.1 million refugees are hosted in the country, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic. END For more information, please contact: Dr. Salim Mohamednour, WHO/Khartoum, firstname.lastname@example.org Giulia Raffaelli, UNHCR/Khartoum, Mob: +249 91 216 7016 email@example.com Faith Kasina, UNHCR/Nairobi, Mob: +254 113 427 094 firstname.lastname@example.org
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01 June 2022
FAO scales up response to soaring acute food insecurity exacerbated by potential impacts of the war in Ukraine
Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is intensifying efforts to address soaring acute food insecurity in the Sudan which is driven by the combined impacts of armed conflict, drought, COVID-19, low production of key staple crops related to infestation by pests and diseases, and economic turmoil. According to the FAO Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 for the Sudan, 10.9 million people or 30 percent of Sudanese are expected to need life‑sustaining support in 2022, the highest number in the past decade. In response to the dire food security situation - a situation which risks being further exacerbated by the cascading effects of the Ukraine conflict, FAO has launched a new project funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which aims to restore the food security and nutrition of affected farming and pastoral communities in the Sudan through provision of emergency agriculture and livestock supplies. This vital $12 million contribution from CERF - the largest single allocation to FAO by CERF to date - will support urgent efforts to build the resilience of resource-poor farmers and pastoralists in the Sudan’s 14 most severely affected counties. “This generous contribution from CERF means that FAO can urgently provide essential agricultural inputs to vulnerable farming households before the main agriculture season starts in June. It will ensure that they can produce enough food to meet their needs for the months to come,” said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative to the Sudan. Responding to crises and building resilience The project will target 180 000 households or 900 000 people among the most vulnerable farming and pastoralist communities including internally displaced people, returnees, refugees and resident households. With two‑thirds of the population living in the Sudan’s rural areas, providing smallholder farmers with agricultural support is essential to the humanitarian response. The project covers both agricultural and livestock assistance, which aims at rapidly reducing dependence on emergency food assistance and provides a basis for medium- and longer-term recovery. This assistance includes the provision of certified crop, legume and vegetable seeds, donkey ploughs and hand tools, veterinary vaccines and drugs, animal protein-rich concentrate feed, and mineral licks; as well as donkey carts and productive animals. It also includes provision of cash and the rehabilitation of community productive assets such as small-scale water infrastructure, hafirs, pasture and other. The situation looks grim for millions as the war in Ukraine is causing further spikes in food prices, as the Sudan is dependent on wheat imports from the Black Sea region. Interruption to the flow of grain into the Sudan will increase prices and make it more difficult to import wheat. Currently, local prices of wheat are at over $550 per tonne – an increase of 180 percent compared with the same period in 2021. Furthermore, the current high prices for fertilizers on global markets will inevitably weigh in Sudan’s ability to import, potentially jeopardising the country’s ongoing and upcoming crops. For these reasons, this CERF allocation is timely and vital. In addition, FAO urgently needs another $35 million to ensure adequate support for two million vulnerable farming and pastoral households to produce their own food, keep their livestock alive and productive, strengthening their resilience.
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23 February 2022
Nutrition lays the groundwork for peace
By Leni Kinzli Conflict breeds hunger, it destroys livelihoods, disrupts basic services such as healthcare and education, and forces people from their homes. Mohammed should know – he was forced to flee his village in eastern Sudan after conflict broke out in 1994 between the East Sudan Front and the Sudanese Government. “Besides our family becoming separated, the most difficult thing was leaving our homes and village and not knowing when we would return,” says Mohammed. The signing of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement in 2006 brought an end to conflict but not to hunger. Today, Mohammed’s village of Tahadai Osis is one of the most food-insecure places in eastern Sudan, where over 65 percent of children are affected by stunting (impaired growth and development that children experience as a consequence of poor nutrition). Still, by 2014 Mohammed felt safe enough to return to his village. Seven years on, however, he finds he is struggling to make ends meet. With “no [formal] education it has been very hard for me to provide for my family’s day-to-day needs,” he says. In 2019, the World Food Programme (WFP), with funding from the European Union, launched a project to address the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern Sudan. Cash assistance was provided to 350 Tahadai Osis residents as they worked on local infrastructure projects such as rehabilitating a school and the school’s farm, repairing a solar-powered water tank, building pipelines to connect the village to clean water, and building flood prevention measures such as earth-retaining walls and soil dams. The community were introduced to poultry farming and educated on the nutritional benefits of eggs which are not traditionally consumed in this region. Some of the eggs are used to make breakfast for children at a nearby WFP-supported school and any surplus is sold on, with profits ploughed back into the farm. Mohammed and his wife Madina have started their own poultry farm which enables them to improve the diets of their three daughters – one of whom suffered from malnutrition before the family sought help at a WFP-supported clinic. “I cook the eggs for my daughters who really like them,” says Madina, “We sell any extra eggs which enables us to buy other basic necessities.” Children aged under-5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women are also screened for malnutrition at a WFP-supported clinic in Tahadai Osis. Those affected are provided with nutritional supplements that are packed with vitamins and minerals and rich in protein. Community volunteers also go door-to-door educating families on the importance of a healthy diet and hygiene measures which help to prevent malnutrition. “Volunteers came to my house and taught me about the importance of screening my children for malnutrition and how to prevent it,” says Madina. “I am now more aware of my family’s health and nutrition needs.” Improving the food security of families like Mohammed’s has contributed to peace and stability in the region and is encouraging others who fled conflict to return to their villages. “WFP has helped us to establish a foundation for our community to thrive,” says Karrar, a poultry-keeper from the village. “Access to clean water supports our livelihood activities and we have learnt how to rear chickens and to grow a variety of vegetables which has improved our diets.” WFP’s activities in Tahadai Osis village are part of a project entitled ’Improving nutrition and reducing stunting in eastern Sudan through an integrated nutrition and food security approach’. This work has been possible thanks to generous contributions from the European Union and the work of WFP’s implementing partner Sudan Vision.
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23 February 2022
A network of care for migrants in Sudan
By Wilson Johwa For the visitors sitting in the covered waiting area outside Khartoum’s Migration Resource and Response Centre (MRRC), this multi-storey building on a busy road is a vital destination. Between January and December 2021, nearly 7,000 visits were received from migrants – mostly from African countries – who sought assistance there. Dr Amna Khairy, one of four MRRC doctors, says if not for the centre, many migrants would have struggled to access health care, in addition to being confronted with higher fees, with no option of free medication. The MRRC also solves the language barrier with dedicated interpreters. COVID-19 presented Dr Khairy and her colleagues with a major challenge in how to reach migrants in need of support, especially after last year’s lockdown. However, among the first innovations was the set-up of phone-based medical consultation through a dedicated Helpline at the MRRC. In other cases, the MRRC team would contact registered patients with chronic diseases via the Helpline to check on their condition. “We distributed prescribed medicines through migrant community leaders and through safe houses,” says Dr Khairy. She and her colleagues later received positive feedback on these extra steps they took to help migrants. “After lockdown, they said, ‘your calls were very helpful, we know there is someone who cares about us.” Sudan is a source, transit, and destination country at the centre of several migration routes. It hosts several migrant populations from countries such as Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Somalia, and the Philippines. IOM Sudan has three MRRCs that provide a network of care facilities for migrants in vulnerable situations. MRRC Khartoum is the biggest, followed by similar centres in Gedaref State, on the border with Ethiopia, and another in Kassala State, close to border with Eritrea. The three centres also work through a network of partners. In Khartoum, this includes a community safe house catering to the needs of Ethiopian migrants in difficulties. At MRRC Khartoum, Dr Khairy and the three other doctors provide primary care and refer complex cases to hospitals and other specialized centres. Take Guday Kebede, who had developed problems with her eyesight and could no longer work. “I was almost unable to see,” said the 39-year-old Ethiopian domestic worker. “My eyes had filled with water and after the operation, I can see again,” she said, referring to a procedure arranged through the MRRC. Guday has been living in Khartoum for five years, having arrived in Sudan in search of a better life – for herself and to support her five siblings back in Ethiopia. The MRRC doctors also conduct outreach visits such as on COVID-19 awareness and for the distribution of personal protective equipment. In addition, they provide services to migrants at the two safe houses, and at two government-run facilities for migrants in administrative detention – the Counter-Trafficking Unit and the Aliens Field Inspection Unit. Simachew Admasu, the manager of the Ethiopian safe house, says most of those cared for at the facility are young women who leave home with the promise of a job in the Middle East. Among them is Maritu, 20, who had hoped for a life in Dubai. She will be assisted by the MRRC to return to Ethiopia where she intends setting up a shop, although she has not completely abandoned her dream. “Everyone I know travelled irregularly with no idea of regular migration, and many changed their lives that way,” Maritu says. Further support for migrants in Khartoum is provided by a team of caseworkers from the MRRC who assess migrants’ vulnerabilities. Also on hand is mental health and psychosocial support, with complex cases being referred for more advanced interventions such as post-traumatic stress disorders, psychiatric disorders and depression. Other services offered at the Khartoum MRRC include information on assisted voluntary return and reintegration, as well as outreach visits to support migrants in administrative detention with food assistance and hygiene items or with the payment of school fees for migrant children from economically vulnerable families to prevent them from dropping out of school. Plans are underway to work through MRRC Khartoum to refurbish three primary health centres that also serve migrants. They are all in Khartoum State and work on the first one is due to start soon. The three migrant support centres in Sudan are mainly co-funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
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16 June 2022
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