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Water Harvesting for Peacebuilding in South Sudan

Water Harvesting for Peacebuilding in South Sudan
May 2015

While the drivers of conflict in South Sudan are numerous, conflict over natural resources, particularly competition over access to traditional grazing lands and water rights, remains a fundamental challenge to peace and stability in the country. Various approaches and strategies are required to manage and resolve conflicts depending on the sources of the conflict. However, there is a general understanding between the Government, conflict-affected communities and development partners that resource-based conflicts could be mitigated or addressed through a combination of development and conflict transformation interventions.

To this effect the Government of South Sudan and the international community have been investing in livestock water provision, including hafirs, over the last several years as a means to mitigate the conflicts arising from dry season water demand. Developing water facilities for livestock is an expensive intervention. Such investments should be accompanied by activities that aid in the understanding of the dynamics of pastoralists in conflict-prone areas for better planning, design, organization and management of water facilities. It is equally important to understand the effectiveness of hafirs in reducing conflicts between communities as well as other socio-economic and environmental impacts.

To better understand the effectiveness of water harvesting (WH) interventions in livelihoods improvement and conflict reduction and to contribute to policy discourse on WH in South Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has embarked on a joint project entitled ‘’Assessment of WH structures for sustainable livelihoods and peacebuilding in South Sudan’’, financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) for South Sudan.

Based on the assessment findings, lessons learned, best practices and a review of existing documents, FAO and UNEP will develop guidelines for WH in South Sudan to maximize impacts on conflict reduction and peacebuilding. This will include: guidelines for the establishment and functioning of Natural Resources Management Committees for hafir management; environmental and social impact assessment; feasibility assessment, implementation, operation and maintenance; and gender mainstreaming in WH projects. In addition, the assessment will also contribute to capacity building in planning and implementation of WH interventions by the Government and other stakeholders through training and knowledge sharing.

 

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