Salva Kiir orders ban on charcoal trade: In an effort to protect South Sudan’s forest’s cover which is being depleting at high rate due to charcoal burning,the government of Salva Kiir Mayardit has has ordered a ban on charcoal trade in South Sudan.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Trade and Environment announced restriction on charcoal exports to commence towards the end of July 2018.
South Sudan’s Minister for Trade and Environment, Moses Hassan Tiel directed all commercial and Intelligence Officers to ensure that no charcoal crosses from South Sudan to neighboring countries.
“This order further directs all trade officers deployed at various border stations and checkpoints to ensure that this order is implemented across South Sudan,” said Dr. Moses Hassan Tiel.
The Minister’s order to ban charcoal business in the Africa’s youngest state was received positively by the International Environmental Agencies such as the UN Environment. The Agency commended South Sudan for coming up openly with such orders which aim at protecting the country’s natural resources.
UN Environment South Sudan Country Manager, Arshad Khan said they are committed to work with South Sudan to ensure that the country’s forest cover is not depleted through illegal business such as charcoal burning and wood harvesting related activities.
“We remain committed to working with the government of South Sudan; the private sector; and civil society; to ensure the country’s sustainable development through promotion of sound environmental governance,” Arshad Khan,UN Environment South Sudan Country Manager, said.
UN Environment is the leading global environmental authority that sets the environmental agenda. The agency has been active in South Sudan since independence, creating and developing environmental awareness on a national scale to support the government and the people of South Sudan.
The 2018 State of the Environment Outlook Report, a study jointly undertaken by UN Environment and South Sudan’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry is one of the areas the two have worked together.
The government’s order to ban charcoal burning in South Sudan was triggered by the need to protect the country’s grasslands, wetlands, wildlife, and tropical forests that are a natural asset to the country’s economic activity such as agricultural, mineral, timber, and energy resources.
But despite having one of Africa’s lowest population densities, less than 13 people per square kilometre, the landlocked Central East African country’s forests remain under immense pressure from charcoal and fuelwood production and consumption.
According to the 2015 survey carried jointly by UN Environment and the Government of South Sudan, it was estimated that, in the capital Juba, 88 per cent of households, 74 per cent of businesses, and 40 per cent of institutions depend on charcoal energy.
Furthermore, 15 per cent of households, 8 per cent of businesses, and 40 per cent of institutions use wood fuel for cooking. This demand translates into an estimated five million trees being logged annually to supply Juba with charcoal it currently consumes.
According to the country’s Inaugural State of the Environment Outlook Report launched in June 2018, wood fuel and charcoal account for over 80 per cent of all wood used in South Sudan, with an annual deforestation rate estimated at between 1.5 and 2 per cent.
Given importance OF forests in meeting South Sudan’s energy and construction needs in the near term, and possibly in generating foreign income in the longer term, the environment report recommends promotion of agroforestry to improve soil fertility in the short-term and to increase fodder, timber, and fruit production in the long-term.
It’s against this background that the government came up with the order which is considers a step ahead to reverse, or minimize environmental degradation in the country.
It also follows a related order, issued by the Ministry of Environment in May 2015, which banned illegal logging and export of logs and charcoal.
South Sudan decision follows that of Kenya and Uganda in which both countries banned charcoal production and exportation due to the high rate of forest depletion which charcoal burning was causing.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO