Forestry policies, institutions and programmes
The Forest Department was established in 1902. In 1989, the forestry administration was changed into a Forests National Corporation with a management board responsible only to the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry. The main objective of the change was to reduce bureaucracy, to enhance forest management performance and to return revenue from forest products into forest management. The Forests National Corporation (FNC) has a strong planning department equipped with a computer system and small database provided by donor projects.
The first forest policy for the Sudan was enacted in 1932. Its main objective was to protect and reserve about 15 percent of the total area of the country as reserved forest.
A second forest policy was issued in 1986. Its main objective was to reserve 20 percent of the total area of the country and to manage the forest resources by sustainable means. It also recognized private forests and aimed to increase people¿s participation in forest plantation, forest management and protection.
A new forest policy is being sought which takes into account changes in constitutional, political, administrative, environmental and socio-economic variables since 1986. It is hoped the new policy will aspire to raise the total reserved area for natural resources (forestry, wildlife and range lands), currently 11 percent of the country¿s total area, to 25 percent. Other objectives of the new policy are the sustainable management of the forest, increased people¿s participation and institutional strengthening and capacity building. FAO¿s support is being sought in this respect (see below). Efforts are also under way to resolve intersectoral conflicts, which have been the major cause of deforestation. For example, the Sudan Water Policy of 1999 stresses the importance of watershed management and stipulates afforestation of degraded areas.
The first recognized forest law was issued in 1901. The Forest Act of 1932 divided the responsibilities of forest administration between the central and provincial authorities. In 1939 a royalty order was enacted for collecting royalties from forest products produced outside the forest reserves to discourage people from cutting trees outside the forest reserves. A new forest law was issued in 1989. This law enacted the FNC and legalized people¿s participation in forest management and made provision for private, community and departmental forests.
The most recent forest law, passed in 2002, reorganized the FNC into a national corporation for forests and natural resources which also covers range management.
The Forests National Corporation cooperates with villagers who depend on reserved forests for their livelihood, as well as with national NGOs like the Sudanese Social Forestry Society and the NGO coordination committee for combating desertification. There is also very good cooperation and support between the FNC and United Nations agencies such as FAO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Many projects organized through agencies and donors such as Irish Aid, FAO, UNDP, UNEP, Concern, Plan Sudan and others have provided institutional support and capacity building in extension and participatory approaches to forest management. Woodlots and nurseries established in different locations have provided practical demonstrations for awareness raising. A Forest Development Project funded by the Netherlands through FAO, which ended in 1996, helped a good deal in institutional strengthening and capacity building.
International aid to the Sudan has decreased sharply during the past few years. Outside aid is needed for institutional strengthening and capacity building in sustainable forest management and the environmental protection services of forests. Technology transfer, new systems of data analyses and networking are urgently needed for proper and sustainable forest management.
The Sudan has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Last updated: February 2003