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South Sudan launches UN climate change framework

JUBA (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Wednesday launched 28 projects under the National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs), making Juba eligible to acquire funding of up to 50 million U.S. dollars for implementation of programs seeking to address climate change.

Joseph Bartel, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the government has indentified five projects toward developing environmentally friendly agriculture, early warning system, wetland protection, renewable energy and mainstreaming environmental policies and laws.

Bartel urged the government to enact legislations that can protect the environment by ensuring increased funding to environmental conservation efforts and enforce stringent punishment and also ensure that increased funding to the 28 projects listed in the NAPAs.

“Once we get the environmental law, we are going to go after anybody including the oil industry that is currently not being monitored,” he said.

NAPA is an initiative of the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCC) that provides a process for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change. So far 51 countries have responded to it.

Environment Minister Josephine Naphon said NAPAs would help guide the country to stop over-reliance on thermal energy and shift to renewable energy by 2020.

Asrad Khan, UN Environment Program (UNEP) South Sudan Program Manager, said South Sudan remains one of the countries in the world with the highest deforestation rates, which has made it prone to disasters such as drought and flooding that have severely devastated crop and livestock production in the eastern and northern parts.

He said implementation of NAPAs would strengthen efforts to combat negative effects of climate change on livelihoods and boost food security.

“Climate change has no boundaries. So you it is very important for a country like south Sudan which is prone to disasters to adapt the NAPA to ensure that we use the natural resources wisely and start to take action now,” Khan said.

South Sudan is prone to recurrent floods every year in the rainy season—May to October—which threatens the lives and livelihoods of the local population and their communities, according to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Origination (UNESCO).

The agency said destruction of homes, schools, crops and agricultural lands lead to a loss in potential income, food insecurity, disrupted educational opportunities and delayed delivery of basic services in South Sudan.

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