Current Date:

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Sudan’s Report to Habitat III: United Nations’ Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (1)

(UN Habitat) - The population of Sudan reached 30.9 million people in the last population census (2008), and is projected to reach 39.7 people by 2016

, growing at a 2.8% growth rate per annum. With this rate of increase the population could double up in in about 16 years.
The urban population constituted about 29.8% of the total 2008 population, which indicates that Sudan is predominantly rural. This high rate of population increase, and the tendency towards population concentration in large urban centers, constitutes one of the biggest challenges facing Sudan because it requires heavy investments in infrastructure, housing and social services in urban areas that are beyond the ability of public authorities, and popular initiatives, to satisfy.
This inability affects relatively the quality of life in urban and rural areas. Children and adolescents below 18 years of age constitute 48.5% of Sedan's population. This necessitates provision of a range of essential services for this group, which constitutes a strong asset for Sudan if it is well catered for. On the other hand, youth in the 15-35 years age range constitute about 35% of Sudan's population. They are also a strange asset for Sudan's future provided that their economic and socio-cultural needs are satisfied. The central government and state governments have launched youth and graduates employment programs, and provided funds for youth micro-enterprises.
The Sudanese Urban Dwellers Survey we conducted in September and October 2014 revealed that the priorities they would like to see in their cities come in the following order of importance :(1) better housing and good living environments, (2) good education; (3) better health care; (4) affordable and nutritious food; (5) access to adequate and safe water and sanitation; (6) honest government and local authority; (7) better streets, public transport and mobility; and (8) better job opportunities. In addition to those, urban dwellers in Greater Khartoum, the national capital, identified a well-planned city and town and access to land and security of tenure among their top priorities.
Sudan has taken great strides towards achieving the Habitat Agenda (that resulted from Istanbul 1996 international conference) goal of reducing the number of urban dwellers living in slums substantially. In Greater Khartoum, for example, their percentage dropped from about 60% in 1990 to less than 20% in 201 4. A similar drop happened in other Sudanese towns. Similarly, Sudan has made great progress in achieving the second goal of the Agenda by increasing the number of urban dwellers with sustainable access to a source of safe drinking water. According to the 2008 population census, they constituted 55% and 82% of the populations of Sudan and Khartoum State, respectively. A similar progress in the third goal of increasing the number of urban dwellers with access to proper sanitation and toilet facilities has been achieved. According to the 2008 population census, the percentage of households with access to proper means of sanitation. They constituted 54.3% and 90.6% of Sudan and Khartoum State households, respectively.
As for as provision of adequate housing is concerned, hundreds of thousands of housing plots have been allocated to urban dwellers in several Sudanese towns. This has increased the percentage of households who own their houses from 76% of the total 1996 households to about 87% in 2008 (Annex 1). This does not necessarily mean that all those households have adequate housing. It may mean owning just a plot of land or a humble house. Access to adequate housing constitutes a big challenge to individuals, households and government agencies, and it figured as the top priority in the Urban Dwellers Survey.
Absence of housing finance is one of the biggest obstacles that hamper provision of adequate housing for Sudanese households. Consequently, a high percentage of them resort to sending some of their members to work in one of the rich countries and use their remittances in home construction. In 2008, the National Fund for Housing and Reconstruction was established to build housing units on behalf of needy households against easy installments. However, lack of adequate funding is the biggest hurdle that faces the Fund.
Sudan has also made good progress in linking urban and rural areas together by building national and local highways and domestic airports. Similarly, good progress has been made in sustainable urban planning. Many state capitals have prepared long-term master/structure plans. However, lack of sufficient budgets and trained cadres impedes full implementation of those plans.
Many Sudanese towns face the dangers of natural disasters – namely, droughts, desertification and floods. As a result of climate change, desertification is the major obstacle that hampers sustainable development and urbanization in Sudan because it leads to failure of rain-fed crops and drying-up of pastures upon which millions of rural households depend. This has forced millions of people to migrate from rural areas to the fringes of towns and cities where they live as squatters. Sudanese urban areas require substantial resources in order to consolidate their coping mechanisms to address the ramifications of climate and its concomitant natural disasters.
On the other hand, civil strives and armed struggles that proliferate in some states in Sudan constitute a big challenge through the destruction of infrastructure, services and livelihood means, and the human displacement resulting from that. Sudan has made good progress in resolving those conflicts and grievances that bread instability through negotiations and peaceful resolution of those conflicts; however, it appeals to the international and regional communities to assist in funding the resulting reconstruction and development.
Lastly, the above-mentioned strides and achievements are often impeded with sanctions and embargoes imposed on Sudan by the international community since 1994. Those sanctions prohibit importation of new equipment and technologies for water purification, sanitation, clean and sustainable energy sources – such as solar and wind powers – transportation means, safety and security means. Unless those sanctions and embargoes are lifted, the suffering of Sudanese urban dwellers – especially the urban poor – will continue unabated.
The United Nations General Assembly, through its Resolution 66/207, decided to convene in 2016, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Urban Development (Habitat III).
This conference will be a follow up to the first one that was held in Vancouver in 1976, and the second one that was held in Istanbul in 1996. Leaders of the world will convene to assess the progress achieved in implementing the commitments of Habitat II Conference (known as the Habitat Agenda), and to renew their commitments to achieve sustainable urban development, and to address the challenges that will face cities and their dwellers during the coming 20 years through a “new urban agenda”.
The objectives of this Report are to review Sudan’s progress in implementing the Habitat Agenda, utilizing guidelines prepared by UN-Habitat; with a focus on policies, strategies, projects and actual achievements. The Report also reviews the challenges that faced Sudan during the past 20 years, and the challenges expected during the upcoming 20 years that could be addressed through a “new urban agenda”. The Report has been prepared with wider consultation and participation of Habitat partners, including National Governments, Local Authorities, NGOs and CBOs, Trade Unions, Professionals and Researchers, Academia, Human Solidarity Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Parliamentarians, Private Sector, Foundations, Financial Institutions, Youth and Women’s Groups. It has been validated and endorsed by the National Council for Urban development and the National Habitat Committee.
Sudan’s agricultural sector contributed about 27.4% of GDP in 2013. The industrial sector, on the other hand, contributed about 33.6% of GDP, while the service sector contributed about 39% of GDP. Using the official rate of exchange, the total GDP based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) amounted to US$ 89.9 billion and grew at a rate of 3.9% during 2013. The per capita GDP based on the PPP amounted to $2600 which ranked number 182 worldwide. The rate of inflation recorded by the Central Bank of Sudan in December 2013 was 41.9%. Based on the Central Bureau of Statistics estimates, 46.5% of the total population falls below the official poverty line.
Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in Sudan has been hampered by recurrent armed conflicts, the longest of which was the south Sudan conflict that raged from 1983 to 2005, and led eventually to the secession of South Sudan in 2011; and the current one raging in Darfur, south Kordofan and south Blue Nile since 2004. Consequently, the overall performance of Sudan in achieving the MDGs is lower than expectations.