Minister of Environment and Physical Development

at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, 

Johannesburg, South Africa
02 September 2002


Your Excellency President Thabo Mbeki, President of The Republic of South Africa, Chairman of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Your Excellencies, the Heads of States and Government representatives.

It gives me great honour, Mr. President to congratulate you upon the hosting of your great sister country to this international summit which is reckoned as a salient landmark in development deliberations in the history of mankind as it coincides with the beginnings of the third millennium with all its challenges and new development perspectives which are built on what had been agreed upong during the first Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. In that sense it is a pride for all humanity to break away from the yokes of thinking about the momentary or instantaneous benefits to the wider horizon and welfare of future generations through the preservation of the environment and all that pertains to it.

If the 1992 conference is to be considered as a world-wide consensus on the plans for implementing Agenda 21, then this conference should be a real initiation of a genuine world-wide cooperation to achieve sustainable development. We look forward for such international cooperation based on mutual understanding and without political selectivism. Such cooperation can be realized through the promotion of dialogue between civilizations and respect of multiculturalism as well as through the abstinence from imposing unilateral economic sanctions .
Mr. President

As you know, Agenda 21 has been a rich framework which we took as our guide for setting national strategies and plans taldng into consideration the three pillars of sustainable development.

The concern for environment is demonstrated in the inception of institutions which are entrusted with the implementation of the national plans on sustainable development. On the top of these institutions is the Ministry of Environment and Physical Development, which incorporates the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources. The Ministry in collaboration with other ministries and departments formulated a number of strategies with environmental dimension e.g. The National Comprehensive Strategy (1992-2002) The Salvation Economic Programme (1992-1993). The Capacity Building Programme; Environmental Protection Act 2001, The National Strategy for Biodiversity (2001) The National Plan for Combating Desertification; Capacity building for Climate Change, Population Policy, Poverty Reduction Strategy 2002, as well as a 25 year strategy (2002-2027) which is currently under preparation. All of the foregoing list of achievements is to be found in some -detail in Sudan's National Report. Above all these concerns were incorporated in Sudan's 1998 constitution.

However, we need to mention some of the constraints that hindered or even aborted many of the sustainable development programmes particularly the economic siege (declared or undeclared) which began to clear away recently. It is to be mentioned as well that the Official Development Assistance which we used to receive from sister and friendly countries deteriorated from 800 million US dollars a year to a mere 80 million US dollars during the decode of the 1990s. This was aggravated by the fact that Sudan's foreign debt his soared to 21 billion dollars, much of it is due to interest on past debt. This influenced our strategy on poverty reduction, which is considered an important component for implementing plans on sustainable development. We hope as well that the move to multiparty system and democracy as well as the improvements in Sudan's relations will lead to better understanding and consequently an influx of foreign assistance.

It is worth mentioning as well that the Sudan has experienced civil strife at home and a flow of refugees and displaced persons from neighboring countries. The government exerted considerable efforts in reaching peace through rounds of negotiations under the Umbrella of IGAD that resulted up to now in Machakos (Kenya) Peace Framework and the current negotiations going on hoping to reach sustainable peace in the country.

Mr. President

At the end of my address I see it incumbent upon me to call upon donor states and international organizations to avail the necessary financial resources for the developing countries in order to help these countries in realizing sustainable development. It is a fact that these countries have experienced a serious drop in the official development Assistance through the past 10 years. We as well call upon the donor countries to cancel the debts which are burdening the poor countries and affecting their sustainable development plans as well as provide the developing countries with the necessary technology need for safe and clean production. There should be an international complementarily of responsibility towards the quality of life of future generations.

Thank you for listening