Population and the environment, the inseparable link

5 August 2012

Recognizing the interdependence between people and the environment, UNFPA and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) have come together in a joint project to promote dialogue and to further collaboration between partners working on population and the environment.

Through a series of workshops, the 6-month project aimed at initiating discussions between partners at the federal and state governments, UN agencies and civil society working on population and the environment.

The kick-off workshop was held in Khartoum in early 2012, bringing together the National Population Council, the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, UNEP and UNFPA. Three workshops at the state level were later held in South Darfur, North Kurdofan and Gedarif in addition to a wrap-up one in Khartoum.

Ms. Sharareh Amirkhalili, UNFPA Deputy Representative in Sudan, addressed the inception workshop in Khartoum reiterating Sudan’s need to respond to the challenges of population development and environmental degradation. “It is high time to develop sound policies that will take into consideration population variables and the inter-linkages with environmental change,” she said.

The objective of these workshops was to enable partners to identify the linkages between population variables and environmental change and how they influence each other. Identifying common areas of work relating to policy and implementation was another area of focus in addition to coming up with practical steps to achieve that.

The workshops also aimed at highlighting and strengthening the role of national institutions to plan, implement and monitor effective policies that address demographic and environmental concerns simultaneously.

Addressing the final workshop, Ms. Pamela Delargy, UNFPA Representative to Sudan noted that climate change has a significant impact on human migration. “Strategic partnerships like this one between UNFPA, UNEP and national stakeholders help identify the issues and pave the way for implementing effective programing,” remarked Ms. Delargy.

Some of the main recommendation of the workshops focused on the enforcement of laws and policies, political commitment and participation, data availability, strengthening coordination at all levels, involvement of the media and empowering native administration to have greater role.