Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
World Heritage Convention, process of desertification, environmental destruction, overgrazing, landmines
Scarce resources, drought, and civil war led to widespread famine and environmental destruction in Sudan during the 1990s. Only 75 percent (2000) of the population has access to a safe supply of fresh water.
Expanding human settlements threaten the country’s forests. Traditional fuels such as wood provide 75.10 percent (1997) of Sudan’s energy supply, and the demand for charcoal has led to the clearing of many Sudanese forests. Deforestation, overgrazing, and poor land management practices all speed the process of desertification, as the Sahara encroaches onto previously arable and forested land.
The United States Department of State estimates there are more than 1 million land mines buried in Sudan. Sudanese officials believe there may be as many as 3 million mines in the country. Some landmines were laid as part of the desert warfare of World War II (1939-1945), while other mines were deployed during the country’s more recent civil conflicts. Sudanese authorities estimate that one-third of the country’s territory may be polluted by land mines and unexploded munitions.
Sudan has designated 3.6 percent (1997) of its land as protected areas, but poaching threatens animal populations in these areas and throughout the country. Comprehensive conservation efforts are hampered by the ongoing civil conflict, especially since rebel forces control ecologically rich woodlands in the southern part of the country.
Sudan has ratified international agreements protecting biodiversity, endangered species, and the ozone layer. The country is party to the World Heritage Convention and the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Sudan also participates in the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program.
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