Protected Area Network Management and Building Capacity in Southern Sudan

Fast Facts:
• Project Document
Location: Southern Sudan
Duration: March 1, 2011 - January 31, 2015
Focus area: Energy and Environment for Sustainable Development
Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, University of Juba and the private tourism sector
Contact person in UNDP: Martin Dramani
Despite the effects of the 1983 to 2005 civil war, many areas of Southern Sudan still contain areas of globally significant habitats and wildlife populations. Southern Sudan contains one of the largest untouched savannah and woodland ecosystems remaining in Africa as well as the Sudd, the largest wetland in Africa. The Sudd is of great importance to the flow of the River Nile, the protection of endemic species and support of local livelihoods. The 2007-2010 aerial surveys conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism of the Government of Southern Sudan revealed:
• One of the largest, intact antelope migrations in the world comprising 1.2 million White-eared Kob, Mongalla Gazelle and Tiang, which rivals the world famous Serengeti wildebeest migration.
• Around 4,000 elephants and viable populations of other large bodied species such as giraffe, buffalo and the endemic Nile lechwe.
• Large carnivore species such as lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog still exist.
• However, particular species have been decimated by poaching during the civil war (e.g. zebra, hartebeest and buffalo) and are at risk of local eradication unless effective protection can be quickly mobilized.
• Rhino have not been detected but local reports suggest that there may still be hope that this species persists.

These valuable national and global assets are threatened by increasing commercial poaching linked to the proliferation of firearms, returning refugees, competition for scarce natural resources (grazing lands and water) and the presence of extractive industries exploring for oil and other valuable minerals. In the face of these threats, protected areas provide the cornerstone for a broader strategy embedding conservation in the landscape.

There are currently six national parks and 13 game reserves legally created in Southern Sudan, covering 11.1% of the land area (90,755 km²). However, the human, physical, institutional and systemic infrastructure was largely destroyed during the civil war. Moreover, most of these protected areas, while created on paper, never underwent a consultation process with local stakeholders and protected area boundaries were never demarcated. Other constraints preventing the effective management of protected areas are inadequate enabling policy and capacity for wildlife management at the operational and administrative levels.

The project goal and objective: to conserve the globally significant biodiversity of Southern Sudan and support long-term solutions that will secure the foundation for biodiversity conservation in South Sudan through enhanced management effectiveness of the protected area estates.

The project strategy

The ideal, long term solution for protected areas management in Southern Sudan would be “An ecologically representative and connected network of protected areas, subject to efficient management arrangements for the situation of Southern Sudan and adequately financed through multiple sources”.

This project proposes to contribute to the ideal long-term solution by laying the foundations for effective protected areas management firstly, reassessing the present protected area estate to ensure the identification of key migratory routes and wildlife corridors within the protected area network; and secondly, building the capacity of the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism to effectively manage and sustainably develop Southern Sudan’s key protected areas. To achieve this, the project will undertake a range of activities to deliver the following three outcomes:
 1. Capacity for protected area management strengthened
 2. Management of four key protected areas improved (i.e. Southern, Bandingalo and Boma National Parks and Zeraf Reserve)
 3. Sustainable financing of protected areas designed and enhanced.

The expected benefits of the project are the expansion of the protected area network of Southern Sudan by 350,000 ha and 6,800,000 ha of protected areas under improved management. Specifically, this will include:
• Improving the overall protected area institutional capacity as follows:
Institutional capacity: from 42 to 52%
Systemic capacity: from 39 to 50%
Individual capacity: from 32 to 43%
• Increasing management effectiveness at the protected area level, from a management effectiveness tracking tools baseline of 25% to greater than 40% at Bandingilo, Southern and Zeraf and from 41% to greater than 50% at Boma
• Increasing the financial sustainability of the protected area network, from a financial sustainability baseline score of 5% to 20%.
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