Seeds Taking Roots: FAO, Italy and Sudan Substantiate their Partnership

Projects worth 1.6 million Euro will help Sudan’s agricultural sector mitigate and adapt to climate change

07/03/2019 - 

The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) sealed an agreement with FAO today, detailing technical support to the National Council for Environment of Sudan, and turning ongoing cooperation activities between Italy and Sudan into tangible projects and initiatives to implement. Two approved projects totaling 1 611 877 Euro will enhance and protect rural livelihoods in Sudan thanks to tailored climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

The projects have specifically been developed within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November 2016 between IMELS and the former Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development (MENRPD) of Sudan (now National Council for Environment). This MoU fosters cooperation in the field of climate change vulnerability, risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation, and the promotion of renewable energies. The projects, which were signed by Mr. Francesco La Camera, Director General, IMELS, and Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Assistant Director General, Program Support and Technical Cooperation Department, FAO, in the presence of His Excellency Addelwahab Mohamend Elhijazi Mohamend Khair, Ambassor of Sudan in Italy, are firmly rooted in the priorities of the Sudanese Government, and concretize an in-depth analysis of areas of intervention between experts and officials on all sides.

“Boosting agricultural sectors and rural development is a sine non qua to opening up attractive perspectives for rural communities and youth in the Sahel. This, in turn, will not be possible without providing answers to the challenges of climate change. We are confident that this collaboration that takes shape today will bring decisive improvements to the lives of people in Sudan, enabling them to increase their agricultural production sustainably, and protect their livelihoods from the impacts of environmental shocks and crises. We look forward to explore further opportunities for joint work in the future.” noted Mr. La Camera during the signing ceremony.

The projects in detail

The first project signed today will improve evidence-based decision making with regard to food security and rural livelihoods, by strengthening the Sudan Meteorological Authority’s hydro-meteorological network and climate services. It has a budget of 0.5 million Euro over a period of one year. The second project, also spanning one year, aims to enhance livelihoods and the resilience of communities in drought-prone areas through water harvesting measures, particularly by means of deploying solar pumps. This project has a budget of 1.1 million Euro.

Agriculture plays a central role in Sudan. About 53 per cent of the country’s labor force work in agriculture, and the sector accounts for about 30 per cent of GDP. At the same time, Sudan’s ecosystem is fragile, and poses challenges to sustainable agricultural production. For example, crop production in the rainfed sectors - the largest share of the land under cultivation - fluctuates widely as a result of unreliable amounts and distribution of rainfall.

Against this backdrop, the Government of Sudan and FAO have already built a strong partnership, working to both mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change through a wide range of research-based and practical programs and projects.

More about the partnership

Italy and FAO have a special relationship and a long-standing cooperation. Italy supports FAO’s work both through the Regular Program and voluntary contributions, and was the eighth largest contributor to FAO’s integrated Plan of Work and Budget for the period 2012-2018 through assessed and voluntary contributions.

In May 2018, on the initiative of Italy, IMELS, FAO and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed a Technical Arrangement, which provides a framework of cooperation and facilitates the collaboration between the parties in the establishment of a Centre for the Sustainable Development for Africa. It recognizes the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on Africa’s agricultural production, food security, water availability, stability and economic growth, as well as the importance of increasing access to affordable, sustainable and reliable energy. On 28 January 2019, the Africa Center for Climate and Sustainable Development was inaugurated at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

The partnership between FAO and the Government and Sudan, including the MENRPD, dates back to the year 1977. It has brought about important advances in creating an enabling policy and institutional environment for food and nutrition security, promoting sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources, and enhancing capacities for disaster risk management and resilience building.