Current Date:

Tuesday, 18 September 2018
 

Sudan’s Report to Habitat III: United Nations’ Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (2)

(UN Habitat) - 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.
The Report includes six chapters: (1) Urban demographic issues, (2) Land and urban planning, (3) Environment and urbanization, (4) Urban governance and legislation, (5) Urban economy, and (6) Housing and basic services. These six issues constitute the kernel pillars of the "Habitat Agenda". Each chapter is divided into a number of sections.

 Managing rapid urbanization

Although the population of Sudan has been growing at high rates (about 2.8% per annum on average during the past 20 years), its urban population has been a growing at much higher rates (about double the natural population growth rate). Therefore, the proportion of urban population of the total population has always been on the rise as can be seen in Table 1. While that proportion amounted to 8.8% at the dawn of independence in 1955-1956 (i.e., the time of the first population census), it reached 29.8% in 2008 (the last population census), i.e. a more than three times increase.
The number of settlements that were classified as urban in the first census was 68. That number increased to 115 in 1983 (i.e., the third population census), and to 122 in 1993 (i.e., the fourth census). This also illustrates the high urbanization tendency in Sudan.
The national capital, Greater Khartoum that includes the three cities of Omdurman, Khartoum and Khartoum North, is by far the primate city in Sudan. Its 2008 population was about 4.27 million, i.e., more than nine times that of the second largest city, Nyala, whose population amounted to about 443,000 in 2008. Figure 2 illustrates the growth of Greater Khartoum during the five decades between the first and the last censuses. It indicates clearly that its population has been doubling-up almost every ten years.
Because of its relatively better services, large markets more employment opportunities and relatively higher standards of living, Greater Khartoum has always been the first choice for lifetime migrants. The 2008 census has shown that 49% of all life-time migrants have migrated to it.
It also showed that only 52% of those enumerated in Greater Khartoum were born in it (Central Bureau of Statistics). In addition to life-time migrants, Greater Khartoum and other large cities in Sudan host seasonal migrants who seek employment in urban areas during dry seasons and return to their rural areas just before the rainy season to prepare their lands for cultivation. The number of seasonal migrants in Sudan is estimated to be about four million people.
A similar phenomenon is observed in Nyala whose population has also been doubling-up every ten years. Its growth can be attributed primarily to natural and man-made disasters.
Between the first and the second censuses (1955/56 and 1973) it experienced a five–fold increase in population (from 12,000 to 60,000) due to a severe drought that hit the Sahel region of Africa in the late 1960s forcing people to relocate to water–rich areas. Another infamous drought happened in 1983 which resulted in a doubling-up of its population from 60,000 to 144,000.
During the past decade, with the escalation of conflicts and civil strife in Darfur, Nyala emerged as a safe abode for internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and a hub for national and international NGOs serving them, in addition to its traditional role as the largest market in western Sudan. The largest IDP camps within the vicinity of Nyala are Kalma, 78,000 IDPs; Otash, 14,000 IDPs, and Dereig, 13,000 IDPs.