This Environmental Impacts, Risks and Opportunities Assessment was carried out from 2 May to 15 June 2011 with the aim of identifying environmental project interventions that will assist the Government of South Sudan to establish adequate environmental governance. Action in this area is urgent due to the effects of climate change and the increasing pressures on the environment caused by the resettlement of people returning to South Sudan after the war.
After a period of over fifty years dominated by wars, and the independence process which created the country of South Sudan, an institutional and regulatory framework to govern environmental issues is now being developed. This process, however, needs to be boosted to cope with the complexity of the issues and dynamics of transition, which include rapid deforestation, land grabbing, and insecure, vulnerable livelihoods for large sections of the population. Indicators of these dynamics include a significant increase in population size during 2011 (estimated to be more than 10 percent), and the rate of land privatization in South Sudan, which is currently the highest in Africa.
The assessment is based on the results of earlier assessments and surveys carried out by, among others, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Resources Group, (IRG), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In addition, interviews were held with South Sudan government staff at national, state, county, payam and boma levels, staff from international organizations, resource users, returning war refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and with local community based organizations and non-governmental organizations (CBOs and NGOs).