Priorities identified (Trade and economy, Pastoralist livelihoods, Forestry, Agricultural innovation, Energy and construction, Water management)

Note on process

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The Darfur region faces acute vulnerability to the impact of climate change. The impact includes increasing climatic variability particularly increasing frequency of drought. In North Darfur this is already evident with 16 of the driest 20 years on record having taken place since 1972. The significance of this is that it translates into increasing vulnerability for the people in Darfur in the form of failed harvests and challenges for pastoralism.

Climate change has to be seen in the context of other processes of change. In addition to climate change these processes include, for example: population growth; migration; rapid urbanisation; environmental degradation; restricted access to natural resources, technological and economic changes; and the impacts of conflict.

Consequently adaptation and recovery programmes need to address these issues holistically. Examples would include:
  • Integrating support to both urban and rural livelihoods programming into a forestry progamme (e.g. processing fruits in towns for export)
  • The National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) project for South Darfur plans for water harvesting, crop production, range management, animal production, forestry and horticulture.
  • Integrated approaches such as addressing water and forestry together with catchment management programmes.
Increasing climate variability puts an emphasis on the need for drought cycle management which includes programmes such as fodder supply, destocking and restocking and water resource management. Mitigating the impacts of the conflict includes reversing the adoption of “maladaptive” livelihood coping strategies. Maladaptive strategies are livelihood activities that are unsustainable or have negative impacts on others.

Adaptation to climate change and concurrent processes of change and longer term recovery requires evidence based policy and programmes built on applied research and best practice. The work will require an emphasis on building capacity of line ministries, civil society and communities and supporting the process of collaboration between customary and statutory governance.

The current insecurity in the Darfur region was an issue that pervaded all the group discussions during the retreat and needs to be considered in the development of implementable plans for programmes in Darfur.


Work done by six thematic groups contributes towards a future vision for Darfur, beyond short term humanitarian action, that is based upon:
  • A more urbanised settlement pattern, based on sound structural plans and therefore urban economy
  • The combination of a rural economy based on higher value livestock, forestry and agricultural products (cash crops) and an urban economy that is based on the processing of those products. Research to underpin the development of appropriate economic planning.
  • Pastoralists will shift to more economic production systems of livestock based on a number of livestock production models (transhumance, ranches, zero grazing). Services will be adapted to serve those engaged in the different production models. If essential services are provided to transhumant pastoralists, many will eventually choose to settle, and pastoralist systems will become more sustainable and economically productive.
  • Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) including catchment management and urban pollution control for effective, sustainable and inclusive management of water
  • Achieving sustainable forestry resources, through reforestation, afforestation and conservation
  • Agricultural innovation building on what local communities are already doing successfully
  • Promotion of alternative energy and construction methods
  • Community-based approaches that make increased use of local institutions such as Village Development Committees (VDCs) and service delivery sub-committees
  • Underpinning all of the above by aligning and ensuring complementarily between federal state and customary laws, especially relating to land tenure
  • Capacity-building of formal and informal institutions

Priorities identified

Trade and the economy

  • Beginning now to plan for the transition from Darfur’s somewhat artificial emergency economy to a future more sustainable economy
  • Improved infrastructure e.g. transport and communications, energy and water infrastructure
  • The increased provision of banking facilities and micro-credit

Pastoralist livelihoods

  • Recognition of the importance and needs of livestock mobility to the future of pastoralist livelihoods
  • Education for pastoralists including skills based training and adult literacy targeting youth and women
  • Pasture rehabilitation
  • Research on new patterns of animal disease (related to climate change)
  • Developing a model for pastoralism, learning from experiences inside and outside Darfur
  • Awareness raising among pastoralists on climate change adaptation and improvement of quality of livestock production


  • Projects that promote participatory reforestation and afforestation
  • Capacity-building of formal and informal institutions, ranging from local communities to the FNC, raising awareness of, and providing training in nursery techniques and tree planting

Agricultural innovation

  • Agro-forestry, including integrating fruit trees, fodder trees and the planting of shelter belts into the agricultural system
  • Managing scarce water resources between livestock and agricultural production
  • Technology that promotes sustainable agriculture e.g. soil conservation
  • Promoting crop and herd diversification

Energy and construction

  • The development of policies, legislation, standards and guidelines on construction and energy
  • The immediate adoption of alternative building technologies by government, UN and INGOs for all new buildings
  • Government, UN and INGOs to develop appropriate alternative energy sources

Water resource management

  • Capacity building for government and civil society for water user and water management forums.
  • Multi-purpose water harvesting projects with community management
  • Integrate water management, forestry, agriculture and livelihoods projects as first step towards catchment management
  • Capacity building programme for maintenance of surface water e.g. hafirs and dams.

Note on process

The retreat was held on 23-24 March 2010 at Crimson Lights restaurant in El Fasher, North Darfur. The retreat was hosted by the office of the Deputy Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN for Sudan (Darfur) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Development represented by the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources. The stated objectives of the workshop were:
  • To consult with practitioners and decision makers and draw on action research; lessons learnt; policy and practice in order to develop a vision for adaptation to climate change in Darfur.
  • To facilitate collaboration among stakeholders to work towards the development of a recovery strategy for Darfur.
In this document the preamble provides a summary of technical presentations made by the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources; the Agricultural Research Station, Nyala; the United Nations Environment Programme and Tufts University, Feinstein International Centre.

The vision and priority action points were identified with the following process. After the technical presentations, thematic groups were established that discussed the following five questions relating to adaptations in Darfur: (1) What are the short-term adaptations taking place? (2) What is driving these adaptations? (3) Which of these are ‘maladaptations’? (4) What are the implications of the above for sustainable livelihoods in Darfur in the longer term? (5) What are the priorities for action?

The outputs of these groups were reviewed and commented on in plenary with a “gallery walk” by all groups to review the flipcharts produced by each group. From the annotated records of the thematic groups a draft vision statement and priority action list was written by a technical secretariat (UNEP and Tufts), which was reviewed and revised by the thematic working groups. The output of this process forms this document. (Initially a water resources group was not included, but the meeting requested a group which was formed during the gallery walk and moved straight to preparing the vision and priorities sections.) Detailed records of the discussion and more details of the conference can be found at