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Environmental Forum: A Step Forward in the Right Direction

Muawad Mustafa Rashid

Introduction:

With the growth of catastrophic environmental phenomena worldwide and the effects of climate change on society, especially in recent years, represented by floods, rising temperatures, fluctuations in rain rates, and other effects, what prompts us to air a sincere national appeal to avoid the certain losses which will inevitably affect all of us.

Allah the Almighty granted our country with rich natural resources that are among the first in the global ranking in terms of richness of diversity and abundance.

We hereby call on all media outlets to mobilize enthusiasm and unify efforts to protect the environment and natural resources aiming at supporting sustainable development efforts through awareness and monitoring actions.

Our role revolves around the struggle to rebuild an ecological society that respects the environment and calls for the values of human solidarity and justice.

Environmental Forum Kicks-off:

A group of environmental experts and activists led by Dr. Eisa Abdul-Latif of Environment Protection Society decided to launch a platform under the title of (Environmental Forum) to deal with the issue by mobilizing all possible efforts to protect the environment and to represent a wake-up call to all concerned institutions locally, regionally and internationally.

The slogan of the forum is (Environment Needs more than Just Solidarity).

The main objective of the forum is to create a pressing force towards considering the environment and human beings as the basis in the decision-making process besides developing policies aiming at the advancement of society and the strengthening of its steadfastness.

The proposed Environmental Forum is to provide support to all actors, activists and those interested in environmental work to organize popular activities concerned with activating the role of individuals as well as families by raising awareness of important environmental and ethical issues e.g. ethics of consumption, planting and protecting trees, the importance of traditional municipal agriculture in preserving the environment and human dignity, health and strengthening the local economy based on the dependence and preservation of local resources and living organisms.

It is high time for the concerned institutions to adopt policies related to renewable energy, recycling plastic waste and organic waste, increasing the green spaces, and reducing pollution by encouraging dependence on environmentally friendly types of machinery.

The formation of the Environmental Forum is not a luxury as seen by many, but we are reminded of the environmental economic and social damages caused by some greedy humans and also to create an effective community awareness that adopts policies to change the catastrophic environmental landscape.

In this regard, we call on the concerned authorities to find out solutions to the problems of destroying nature i.e. the frequent cutting of forests, besides working out a plan to stop importing genetically modified seeds, and in return adopting a policy to restore, preserve and improve local organic seeds.

To help overcome climate change and environmental challenges, it is time to promote actions that introduce sustainable production and consumption practices, address pollution and limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Sudan is also suffering from climate change, notably through the intensified El Nino phenomenon, which delays rains, and causes low rainfall and intermittent dry spells. It results in reduced cultivation areas, delayed planting, poor pastures, and limited water availability for both people and their livestock.

In short, we urge the government to set a national strategic policy and harsh punishment against violators to preserve the remaining forests, besides adapting national plans to invest in land use based on appropriate ecological and environmental principles.

Back to the launching of the Environmental Forum, I received an invitation from the initiators of the forum to attend the founding meeting to discuss the objectives, and means of promoting this brilliant idea, besides the formal procedures to kick off its activities.

For the benefit of our readers and concerned public, private institutions, NGOs, UN agencies, diplomatic corps, and environment-related activists we hereunder summarize the presentation displayed by the executive secretary of the founding committee of the forum.

  • Wake-up Call:

Earth is dying. Climate is changing. Draught is hitting. Villages, cities, and farms are drowning in floods. Species threatened with extinction are on the rise. Resources are drained. Environmental conduct is declining. Policies and procedures are written but not activated. Resources and border wars are ragging. Communities are in intensive moves by displacement, refuge, and migration.  As a result, the origin environment is changing and the receiving environment is becoming more affected. Unprecedented demographic change is on the make. Poor people and their environments are always the victims.

  • Preamble:

The issues of the environment are officially marginalized due to the domination of politics over all other issues. As an example, the principles and agreements related to the environment are in most cases subject to negligence without being activated. The talk about the environment has become a kind of luxury and elitist. This happens while the deterioration is very clear. Experts suggest that the core of the issue lies in the lack of awareness which leads to changing the behavior towards adapting solutions according to the environment-protection-related legal policies and frameworks.

  • The Forum:

It is an intellectual, technical, voluntary, non-profitable foundation targeting – through its cultural and educational activities – the issues of the Sudanese environment and addresses people of all walks through media outlets.

  • The Vision:

Advanced Communal Awareness – Sustainable Environment

  • The Mission:

Continuous Technical and Intellectual Support that Achieves the Sustainability of Environmental Ethics.

  • General Objective:

Upgrading the Environmental Awareness among the Sudanese people and their institutions regarding environmental protection and development.

  • Detailed Objectives:
  • Monitoring, analyzing, and documentation of environmental issues and proposing solutions.
  • Upgrading the environmental awareness of the citizens, especially youths.
  • Encouraging and urging the society to work jointly in protecting and developing the environment.
  • Introduction of laws, policies, agreements, and environmental protocols, besides pressing on for its implementation.
  • Demonstrating local concepts and knowledge for publication to achieve the sustainability of resources.
  • Linking Sudanese people with their environment is a life necessity.
  • Expanding the circle of environmental publication, providing the environmental library with intellectual, research, and documentary publications, besides introduction brochures in simple language and deep content.
  • Means:

To achieve the above objectives the Forum will utilize 10 essential elements that shape the implementation of strategic programs:

  1. Broadcasting stations (TV Channels later on) specialized in environmental aspects.
  2. Environmental Correspondent (volunteers from states and some institutions in the three sectors (public, private, and civilian) to be provided monitoring, analyzing, and documentation skills on environmental issues.
  3. Environment-Friendly School (Primary and Intermediate) to educate the kids and utilize them in sending the environmental message through songs, and short plays (environment communication programs); besides activating the school events aiming at environmental conduct building among the kids.
  4. Youths around the Environment (in secondary schools, universities, cultural centers, social media, electronic magazines, and short videos). Training, attracting, and utilizing the skills.
  5. Women at their houses (women’s nursery and model environmental district).
  6. Environment-friendly Street (participation of the users including the residents, and shopkeepers in continuous cleaning and landscaping campaigns.
  7. Environmental Dialogue – Platforms of dialogue over local, regional, and international environmental issues, legislations, agreements, and policies to be addressed by experts and youth groups to bridge the environmental knowledge gap.
  8. Environmental knowledge transformers from Academicians, experts, and innovators (practitioners of creativity and preservers of environmental heritage)
  9. Environmental publication directorate (periodical environment book, series of environmental knowledge booklets, brochures, and flyers besides supporting and developing the environmental pages in the printed newspapers.
  10.  Report on the State of the Environment in Sudan (an annual comprehensive report contributed by experts in all environmental aspects).
  • Values:
  • Trustfulness.
  • Honesty in dealing with the issues and presenting them.
  • Adherence to the values and laws of voluntary and teamwork.
  • Distancing the issues of the environment from political pitfalls.
  • Establishment and Implementation:

For the purpose of establishment preliminary board of directors has been formed mandated to legislation, restructure, set the frame and the general goals of the forum, build the implementation strategies, supervise the general assembly meeting of the membership to endorse the memorandum and articles of association, besides electing the steering executive council.

  • Continuity:
  • Existence of the frames and policies that govern the forum, its activities, and works.
  • Consensus over the necessity of establishing the forum, adapting the idea, and its support from the partners.
  • Communicating the idea and objectives of the forum to the stakeholders, besides pushing them to participate in its development and sustainability.
  • Obtaining sufficient resources aiming at the sustainability of the forum.
  • Partners and Donors:
  • UN Agencies (UNEP – UNDP – UNICEF – UNISCO – UNWOMEN – UNCCD – WHO – FAO – UNIFPA – UNHCR – UNIDO)
  • Embassies: Britain – America – Norway – France – Germany – Korean – Saudi Arabia – Qatar – EU Mission in Sudan .. etc.
  • Supreme Council of Environment and Natural Resources (national and state)
  • Local and foreign cultural centers (British – Mutasim Nimir for Environmental Culture – Sudanese Studies Centre – Abdul Karim Mirghani Centre)
  • Organizations working in the environment aspect (Sudanese Society for Environment Protection, Consumer Protection Society – Journalists for Environment – Sudanese Society of Organic and Environmental plantation. etc.
  • Academics, Academic institutions, universities, Environment and Information colleges, and Research centers.
  • Ministry of Education.
  • Media (Sudanese Journalists Trade Union – National TV, private and states TV channels, Sudanese broadcasting, FM stations, Society Radio.
  • Private companies and corporations.
  • Environment-related issues Pioneers and experts
  • Any other partners to be proposed later on.

We recognize that the challenges are big and that we are dreaming high, but with joint work under the slogan (be Realistic and ask for the impossible), we can achieve a considerable amount of positive work besides adding to it now and then.

From the Editor:

We assume that our paper is among the partners of the proposed Environmental Forum and accordingly our editorial board decided to spare a dedicated weekly page to the service of the environment-related activities, with a concentration on the Forum’s activities to be edited by the Forum’s Information directorate.

Let us all work collectively to make this brilliant idea a reality.

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