Climate change communication and education

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1. Context

2. Climate change education and training in the country

3. Climate change communication in the country

4. Monitoring and evaluation


  1. Context

i. Climate change context

The Republic of South Sudan is the world’s newest country, created in 2011. Currently, South Sudan has 32 states and a federated governance system. This country profile provides information on South Sudan’s approach to mainstreaming climate change communication and education on a national level and only gives examples of state-level initiatives when relevant and reported in official government communications.

According to the World Bank (2020), South Sudan is vulnerable to floods, droughts, and epidemics due to climate change. The country’s Initial National Communication (2018) acknowledges that communication and education are needed to combat climate change in the country; however, these two sectors have not been fully developed in the country. Currently, the country does not have a National Climate Change Policy, but aspirations for climate change mitigation and adaptation are stipulated in different environmental plans such as the First National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change (2021). According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, South Sudan is one of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change, because most of the population is dependent on climate-sensitive sectors for their livelihoods (e.g., agriculture, forestry resources, and fisheries) and it is likely that changes in temperature and rainfall intensity may have long-lasting negative impacts on the already poor health, nutrition, and economic status of the country.

According to the Global Carbon Atlas, South Sudan is a low-carbon–emitting country. The 2021 data shows that South Sudan, with a population of 10.75 million people, emits 1.6 tCO2 per person. According to the Initial National Communication (2018), the biggest emitting industries in the country are agriculture (74%), waste (11%), land use, land-use change, and forestry activities (8%), and energy.

South Sudan is part of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a Non-Annex I country. The country has also signed (2016) and ratified (2021) the Paris Agreement. South Sudan is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees highlighted in the report South Sudan: 2022 Regional Refugee Response Plan at a Glance (2022) that in South Sudan more than 8.9 million people need humanitarian assistance because of ongoing internal conflicts. By the time this profile was created, approximately 5 million children, women, and men had received humanitarian help. In addition, over 320,200 children in the country were supported with access to education by different partners; more than half of these partners were South Sudanese non-governmental organizations.

ii. Relevant government agencies 

Climate change

There are different government ministries, departments, and agencies involved in issues of climate change in South Sudan. However, many do not have an online presence or available websites and are only known because they are mentioned in official documents such as the National Communication (2018) and South Sudan’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021). The latter document indicates the administrative bodies responsible for climate change.

First, the Environmental Protection Bill empowers the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to act as a lead institution for implementing all policies related to the environment, including climate change, biodiversity, air and water pollution, and monitoring land-use patterns, to determine their impact on the quality and quantity of natural resources. The Ministry is also the technical and operational focal point for international environmental conventions and treaties. The Ministry has several important Directorates nested within it that are relevant to formulating and implementing South Sudan’s response to climate change.

The Directorate of Climate Change and Meteorology develops and implements programmes to address climate change issues and coordinates the implementation of South Sudan’s obligations under the UNFCCC. This Directorate is most relevant to climate change adaptation and is mandated to 1) undertake institutional capacity development; 2) strengthen partnerships and collaborations with all national and subnational stakeholders to address climate change; 3) develop national response strategies to climate change; and 4) strengthen the national capacity of meteorological services.

The Directorate of Environmental Planning and Sustainable Development is responsible for 1) undertaking capacity development; 2) developing the National Environmental Strategic Plan; 3) undertaking research and development; 4) preparing the State of the Environment in South Sudan reports; 5) strengthening partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders, 6) preparing the National Environmental Management Action Plan for South Sudan; 7) coordinating South Sudan’s multilateral environmental agreements; and 8) preparing the budget for the Ministry.

The Directorate of Environmental Education and Information comprises the Department of Information and the Department of Education. These departments are responsible for advocacy, awareness raising, and education and training, and will have roles in the National Adaptation Plan (2021) process.

The Ministry of Electricity and Dams is the regulatory body for the power sector and is responsible for the development of electricity sector policies and regulations in South Sudan. This Ministry looks after the implementation of plans, strategies, and projects for electricity generation, distribution, and transmission and dams for irrigation. The South Sudan Electricity Corporation is the only electricity utility, responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electrical energy to consumers in Juba, Malakal, and Wau. The South Sudan Electricity Corporation, an implementing body of the Ministry of Electricity and Dams, is responsible for the execution of the Ministry’s policies and strategies.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is responsible for water resource management in South Sudan, looking after the management of rivers, watersheds, and the supply of water.

The Ministry of Transport is responsible for overall policy and regulation of the transport sector, as well as the administration of all modes of transportation: road, rail, air, and river. The South Sudan Meteorological Department operates under the Ministry of Transport (as part of the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority) to provide weather-related and aeronautical information for air navigation.

The mandate of the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism is to protect areas in South Sudan (national parks and game reserves). This Ministry protects, conserves, and manages these areas through the South Sudan Wildlife Service.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is responsible for enhancing agricultural productivity with the aim of improving food security, driving economic growth, and facilitating and encouraging sustainable development for improved livelihoods.

The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries is responsible for policies for livestock and fisheries development. The Ministry’s roles include preparing and enforcing regulations and guidelines related to livestock disease tracking and control and ensuring the safety of food animals.

Among the other ministries mentioned in the document are the Ministry of General Education and Instruction; the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare; the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs; The Ministry of Roads and Bridges; The Ministry of Housing, Land and Physical Planning; the National Bureau of Statistics; the Ministry of Petroleum; the Ministry of Mining; the South Sudan Land Commission; the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Trade and Industry; the Ministry of Health; and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. The latter also monitors, assesses, updates, and disseminates disaster-related information to the country and various stakeholders. This includes promoting a culture of disaster awareness and building the capacity for disaster risk reduction at all levels of government. The Ministry has been undertaking a climate change vulnerability assessment and responding to climatic disasters such as flooding in South Sudan, together with international organizations and state governments, making it a significant stakeholder in the National Adaptation Plan processes.

Many of those ministries will have specific competencies and responsibilities in the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions, as detailed in Table 37 of the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (p. 140).

According to the country’s National Communication (2018), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Supplies provide allocations for disasters and emergencies in the country.

South Sudan, under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has a National Environmental Management Authority, which is a technical entity guiding the country’s environmental policy. According to the UNFCCC, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is the ACE Focal Point for South Sudan.

The South Sudan Meteorological Service (SSMS), which was created in 2011, is responsible for weather forecasts. The SSMS has major institutional and technological challenges and is severely under-resourced to carry out its mandate.

The Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) also mentioned that “a separate environmental authority/department, which will be responsible for the coordination and harmonization of NDC activities with all other relevant ministries, will be created within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry” (p. 139).

The Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) was established in 2019, and according to the First National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change (2021) is “[…] the essential stakeholder body and mechanism for ensuring the technical review of proposals…and alignment with national priorities and policies” (p. 26). The network provides a forum for approximately 80 members from line ministries, development partners, non-governmental organizations, research and academic institutions, and private sector stakeholders to actively participate, exchange ideas, and discuss lessons learned and best practices on how to improve their work in response to climate change. The Department of Climate Change, within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, serves as the secretariat and chair of the CCWG. The latter will also have representatives of the Community-Based Organization and Non-Governmental Organization Advisory Committee and Forum and the Private Sector Advisory Committee and Forum. However, the roles and responsibilities of the CCWG, with respect to the National Adaptation Plan, have yet to be defined and formalized.

The Government of South Sudan is also in the process of formalizing thematic working groups to formulate and implement the technical aspects of the National Adaptation Plan (2021).

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry proposed the establishment of the Climate Change Finance Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee during the process of establishing the institutional arrangements for the National Designated Authority and the no-objection procedure. The Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee coordinates matters related to the financing of climate change projects and programmes. Currently, the Committee does not exist, but in the short term, the Government of South Sudan will prioritize establishing and capacitating the Committee.

Education and communication

According to South Sudan’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), the Ministry of General Education and Instruction is mandated to develop policies and regulations to provide basic education to all children, eradicate illiteracy, improve the status of women, and provide equitable access to learning opportunities for all South Sudanese people. The Ministry of General Education and Instruction is also listed among the implementing entities across sectors in the following terms “[t]he Ministry of General Education and Instruction will support other ministries in creating awareness around climate change and capacity-building of various stakeholders, including government institutions and local communities.” (p. 141)

The National Adaptation Plan (2021) highlights the role that the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare will have in the National Adaptation Plan. The Ministry has five directorates: Gender, Child Welfare, Social Welfare, Administration, and Research and Planning. The Directorate of Gender will be an important stakeholder in the mainstreaming of gender into the South Sudan National Adaptation Plan. Specific roles for the Ministry include 1) coordinating with the Department of Climate Change and academic and research institutions to develop a research programme focusing on socially differentiated impacts of climate change, including gender-differentiated impacts; 2) providing information to support decisions for government and non-government stakeholders based on research findings; and 3) providing capacity development programmes and leadership training on gender and climate change issues at the request of the Department of Climate Change.

Key non-governmental organizations that collaborate with the Government of South Sudan in developing the country’s basic education systems include the following: Africa Educational Trust, Save the Children, and World Vision. There is also the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, which is responsible for post-school training, tertiary education, and innovation initiatives. The Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services is responsible for the country’s communication and information initiatives. However, because of the lack of online presence of many government ministries, information on their precise roles is seldom available in the public domain.

iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans 

Climate change

South Sudan operates under a Transitional Constitution (2011) developed when the country gained independence from Sudan. Section 41 of the Constitution highlights fundamental objectives and guiding principles linked to the environment and mandates every citizen of the country to protect the environment and reduce pollution.

The country’s National Environment Policy 2015–2025 (2015) is the key policy framework in implementing climate change actions by mandating relevant government agencies to protect the environment through activities such as waste management and green energy transition. The policy calls for 1) the development of a national strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation; 2) the formulation of the climate change policy; and 3) increasing the country’s efforts to reduce communities’ vulnerability to climate variability and change.

The First National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change (2021) is the key implementing blueprint for the country’s climate change adaptation efforts in light of the many problems South Sudan faces, such as drought and famine. In 2016, the country adopted the National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change, which focus on the environment, water resources, agriculture, disaster risk reduction, and policy and institutional framework; however, it has no specific say on climate change education and communication.

After joining the UNFCCC in May 2014, the new nation launched diverse initiatives to meet its climate change–related obligations and commitments and prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) submitted to the UNFCCC in February 2017. South Sudan’s NAPA identified five priority areas for effective climate change adaptation: 1) environment; 2) water resources; 3) agriculture; 4) disaster risk reduction; and 5) policy and institutional framework.

In 2015, South Sudan submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC and in 2018, its Initial National Communication. The Initial National Communication identified priorities, recommended mitigation and adaptation measures, and provided information on how to integrate these measures into national development plans. The process of developing the Initial National Communication included consultations with representatives from the government, academia, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations. In addition, South Sudan developed a Second Nationally Determined Contribution in November 2021 that captured adaptation actions that will be implemented for the period of 2020–2030. Efforts to integrate adaptation in development planning processes are underway; adaptation is being integrated into the National Policy on Food Security and the Disaster Risk Management Policy (DRMP), both of which are currently under development. The National Policy on Food Security identifies that adopting drought- and flood-resistant seed varieties is a promising strategy to strengthen adaptive capacity in the country. The draft of the Policy also includes measures to address flood risks. The country’s National Adaptation Plan (2021) indicates that the priority areas for adaptation are agriculture and forestry, livestock, health, water, and disaster risk management.

The Environment Protection Bill was developed to provide a legal framework to cover all matters and concerns related to the environment in South Sudan. The National Policy on Food Security recognizes climate change and natural disasters as threats to food security. The Policy aims to implement measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on food security in the medium and long term. Its key objectives are to 1) understand the likely impacts of climate change on the resilience of key crops, agroforestry, and tree species; 2) enhance the adaptive capacity of communities in drought- and flood-prone areas; and 3) support measures to protect vulnerable communities against diseases and pest outbreaks related to climate change. Some of the implementation strategies that are proposed as part of this policy are to 1) collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to identify key activities responding to immediate needs to adapt to climate change; 2) support and promote the development of intensive agriculture and diversified crops adapted to extreme climate risks; 3) map and intensify research on the crops and livestock that are most adapted to changing climatic conditions in different agroecological zones; and 4) prevent water, soil, and air pollution from agrochemicals.

South Sudan developed its Second Nationally Determined Contribution in November 2021 and has captured adaptation actions that will be implemented for the period of 2020–2030. Notably, the document mentions different strategies for gender inclusion, including the following highlights:

Integrate a gender perspective into national level climate change policies and strategies. South Sudan will target 35% representation of women in decision-making related to climate change—as per the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. (p. 149)

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has nominated a gender focal point. Other strategies include, “engaging with men and women to build adaptation plans by utilizing their Indigenous knowledge.” This particularly involves working with women in community-based adaptation planning, using their skills and knowledge on natural resource management, and ensuring that the burdens and opportunities created by climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions are equitable. The strategy will also involve strengthening the adaptive capacity of communities using a gender and human rights approach, making information, training, and technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation accessible and relevant to all stakeholders.

The South Sudan Fisheries Policy highlights that the country will conduct research and develop a monitoring and reporting framework to assess the impacts of climate change on fisheries. This is also mentioned among the adaptation strategies for agriculture and fisheries in the Second Nationally Determined Contribution of 2021.

In April 2023, a major US$ 9 million initiative was launched to help communities adapt to climate change by strengthening climate early warning systems and restoring the country’s ecosystems in 2 of the 10 states. Over the course of five years, the project will strengthen the country’s climate resilience through several initiatives, one being the establishment of a Climate Change Centre at the University of Juba.

Education and communication

The General Education Act (2012) stipulates that one of the aims of education in South Sudan should be promoting environmental awareness. The General Education Coordination Framework (2017) mandates relevant educational authorities to develop policies and plans that foster Environmental Education. No further information was available for this section.

According to South Sudan Initial National Communication (2018), the National Environment Policy (2013) included measures to mainstream climate change, including “support communication, education and public awareness programmes on the importance and benefits of conserving biodiversity to citizens and their livelihoods” (p. 76).

The Girls’ Education Strategy for South Sudan 2015-2017 (2015) guarantees that all the states that are part of the country commit to advancing gender equity in the education system by working together to overcome barriers at the household, school, and community levels. The Strategy also outlines the importance of training teachers in gender equality issues.

The National General Education Policy, 2017-2027 (2017) is a direct result of the General Education Act (2012) and it aims to strengthen the education system and support students to gain the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed for success in life and work. The Policy aims to contribute to helping the country make the transition from an oil-dependent economy to a resilient knowledge-based economy. It also presents cross-cutting educational issues, one being Environmental Education. The Policy highlights that the government will collaborate with the Ministry responsible for the Environment to “[r]aise awareness of the public about the effects and impacts of climate change and their role in combating climate change.” (p.68). Lastly, it outlines that the education system aims to produce environmentally responsible citizens, who are 1) committed to sustainable development; 2) aware of the importance of sustainability; and 3) appreciative of collaborative work to preserve nature for present and future people.

In 2021, the Ministry of Higher Education, Sciences and Technology presented the Higher Education Policy Framework 2021-2025 (2021) which aims to ensure quality education, training, and research in an accessible, relevant, and inclusive way. Moreover, it seeks to guarantee that higher education in the country works as a support to build a peaceful society that fosters sustainable development. The Policy Framework was validated by government officials, higher education institutions, and development practitioners.

The Revised National Development Strategy (2021) was developed to situate the country’s work towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The priorities for development presented in the strategy are mainly linked to health, education, and food security. The document also includes the objective of strengthening the human capital in South Sudan by investing in teacher education and training curricula. Finally, the Strategy calls for collaboration between the government and civil society to respond to the threats caused by climate change by co-developing plans and policies that foster environmental governance in the country.

The National Adaptation Plan (2021) lists “increase knowledge of climate change and environmental issues through a national awareness-raising campaign and inclusion in school curricula” (p. 98) and “Promote climate health education in school curricula” (p. 103) among their goals.

The Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) states that South Sudan plans to carry out the following interventions: 1) develop climate-change awareness programmes to disseminate information to the wider public; 2) update school curricula to include climate change, environmental management, and other relevant topics to increase awareness among youth; and 3) use the capacities of universities and research institutions, such as the Sudd Institute, Yei Agricultural Research Centre, Palataka Agricultural Research Centre, and Halima Agricultural Research Centre, to support the government in carrying out research and developing and implementing capacity-building plans at national, state, and county levels.

iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication

Most of the official documents that report climate change actions do not use the term ‘climate change education.’ For example, in the country’s Initial National Communication (2018) there is no specific mention of education or communication in relation to climate change. The country’s General Education Coordination Framework (2017) also makes no mention of climate or climate change in its stipulations. However, legal frameworks such as the Transitional Constitution (2011) and the General Education Act (2012) allude to ‘Environmental Education,’ a term that could be connected to climate change education. Key documents such as the Initial National Communication or the National Adaptation Plan (2021) reference public awareness but not public participation and public access to information.

v. Budget for climate change education and communication

Currently, there are no specific projects and programmes that are part of the Adaptation Fund for South Sudan. According to The Initial National Communication (2018), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Supplies could mobilize funds for climate change adaptation in the country. Nevertheless, at the time of this review, the Ministries do not have a specific budget allocated to climate change.

The Green Climate Fund supports climate change readiness efforts in South Sudan; however, the actual expenditure on these efforts is not available. At the national level, South Sudan has earmarked US$ 19,104,900 for projects in biodiversity, climate change, and land degradation. However, many climate change efforts are implemented at the regional level of Eastern Africa.

According to the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), the Government of South Sudan has estimated that the country will require financing worth US$ 100 billion to make the country resilient over the coming decades. In order to achieve the targets set within the Second Nationally Determined Contribution, initial estimates suggest that South Sudan will require US$ 376.3 million to implement adaptation actions in the sectors of agriculture, livestock and fisheries; infrastructure; forests; biodiversity, ecosystem and sustainable wetland management; water; tourism and recreation; health; and disaster risk management. For climate mitigation, a total of US$ 10 million is required for a period of 10 years for greenhouse gas reduction in the agriculture, livestock and fisheries; forestry; electricity; waste; infrastructure (construction and buildings); transport; and tourism and recreation sectors.

While education related to climate change is not specifically mentioned, the detailed financing requirements of the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) mentioned the need for US$ 5.5 million to raise awareness and build capacity for forest conservation and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

  1. Climate change education and training in the country

i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education 

South Sudan’s National Curriculum Framework (2014) designates the environment as one of the themes of the curriculum. In this regard, the National Curriculum Framework aims to produce “environmentally responsible members of society” (p. 5) who will be able to do the following:

  • Commit to sustainable forms of development;
  • Be aware of the fragility of the environment and the importance of environmental sustainability to life and prosperity; and
  • Appreciate the need for everyone to work together to preserve the environment for the common good and for future generations.

However, for all levels of basic education (pre-primary, primary, and secondary) there is no particular focus on climate change in the National Curriculum Framework. For pre-primary, a learning area on ‘environment’ is included. At the primary level, no specific learning concerning the environment is included in the framework. Neither lower nor upper levels of secondary education include the environment as one of the learning areas. Nevertheless, the National Curriculum Framework has identified ‘environmental awareness’ and ‘sustainability’ as cross-cutting issues in the framework. The Initial National Communication (2018) makes specific proposals to integrate climate change into the country’s education systems; for example, at the primary level, natural study and agriculture are proposed as an entry point, while at the secondary level, integrating climate change is proposed through the introduction of content that makes learners aware of the need to develop climate adaptation and mitigation capacities for their country.

ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources

The Ministry of General Education and Instruction is responsible for teacher training and teaching resources in South Sudan. Teacher training is delivered by three Teacher Training Institutes operating in the country and at universities like the University of Juba. The Ministry of General Education and Instruction works with a Directorate of Teacher Development and Management Services that is responsible for teacher training, professional development, and ethical conduct.

In 2021, South Sudan introduced the Qualified Teacher Status Curriculum, which guides both in-service and pre-service teacher training. The Initial National Communication (2018) indicated that teachers ought to be equipped with knowledge about climate change so that they are able to teach a curriculum that integrates climate change across all subjects taught at schools in South Sudan” (p. 239).

One strategy for adaptation mentioned in the Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) is to establish herder institutions to train and build the capacity of herders. South Sudan will build the capacity of pastoralists to promote the adoption of climate-smart livestock farming and community-managed disaster risk reduction measures. Progress on this objective is evident through the implementation of a “pastoral livelihoods and education project” (p. 76) in the Lakes states, although it is unclear if this project had a focus on climate change. Similarly for fisheries, the document mentions “Increase awareness of communities in the fisheries supply chain on climate change and risk management” (p. 77) by enhancing the awareness of communities on climate change through workshops, training modules, and by providing services such as early warning systems. However, this project is yet to be implemented.

iii. Climate change in higher education

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology has the overall mandate over tertiary education in South Sudan. The country’s oldest and biggest university, the University of Juba, houses the School of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies. The Initial National Communication (2018) recognizes the important role of higher education in climate change actions in South Sudan. Particularly, higher education institutions have been identified as key stakeholders in driving climate change adaptation plans through research and innovation. However, no other higher education institutions or research centres in the country include climate change–related content. According to the Initial National Communication (2018), the most active institutions engaged in scientific research are the three major national universities in Juba, Bahr el Ghazal, and Upper Nile, and to a lesser extent, the Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, located in Bor. The three main universities have medical schools and courses in veterinary science, environmental studies, natural resource management, architecture, and geology.

iv. Climate change in training and adult learning 

The Ministry of General Education and Instruction is responsible for out-of-school training programmes and adult learning in South Sudan through the country’s Policy for Alternative Education Systems (2019). However, the policy does not have any focus on climate change or the environment in its objectives. The country’s Initial National Communication (2018) indicated that it is particularly difficult to provide adult learning in South Sudan due to the ongoing armed conflict that draws adults into forced dislocation. The same document indicated that Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to implement a programme on food security and develop agricultural markets in South Sudan. The project complements its main activities with awareness-raising and education campaigns on improved hygiene, food storage, and nutritious food preparation. GIZ is running the project in seven of South Sudan’s states on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Co-financing is provided by the Delegation of the European Union to South Sudan and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Sudd Institute is a private and independent research organization established in 2012. The Institute undertakes and facilitates research and training to inform public policy and practice, create opportunities for discussion and debate, and improve analytical capacity in South Sudan. The Institute has carried out several research studies on climate change and other topics; it offers high-quality services, has adequate means, and has developed research capacity in many areas of relevance to South Sudan.

  1. Climate change communication in the country

i. Climate change and public awareness 

South Sudan has identified public awareness as one of the driving factors for climate change adaptation in the country. One of the objectives of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change (2016) is to raise public awareness so that citizens can take action toward climate change adaptation. The National Environment Policy (2015) also aims to create public awareness regarding the protection of the environment and provide a basis for creating environment protection and management policies, laws, and guidelines.

The country’s Initial National Communication (2018) indicated the following:

Climate is a complex concept and raising public awareness of the basic science, its uncertainties and the risks it poses is vital so that the public can engage in a debate about the actions needed to combat climate change and to reduce its future risks. Therefore, the country designates education, training and public awareness on climate change as an essential component of its action on climate change. (p. 238)

To translate the aspirations of public awareness of climate change into actions, the country’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021), while recognizing the need to increase the awareness of individuals, government institutions, communities, and other stakeholders on climate change, suggested that stakeholders in South Sudan create deliberate measures that would make people aware of climate change issues. Such measures would include climate change campaigns and educational initiatives on climate change.

Among the possible interventions to increase awareness of climate change, the document considers the example of preventing further destruction of forests: South Sudan could raise awareness among different stakeholders, such as local communities and government institutions, regarding climate change and the role of forests in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

To increase awareness and build capacity of key stakeholders, South Sudan plans to organize interactive and informative talks on radio, television, and at clubs and schools to spread awareness among youth.

ii. Climate change and public access to information 

Public access to information on climate change issues is mentioned in most South Sudan’s official documents. For example, the 2016 National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change emphasized a need for the South Sudanese people to have access to weather information such as early warnings. However, there is no explicit or expressed need for the public to access information that would support them to make informed decisions about fighting climate change. The country’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) expressed a need for the country to develop digital information hubs to provide farmers with climate-related information. The same need is also expressed in the National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change (2016).

iii. Climate change and public participation 

Climate change actions, especially adaptation efforts in South Sudan, have fostered public participation, particularly in climate change discussions and decision-making. As reported in the country’s Initial National Communication (2018), South Sudan’s climate change adaptation activities have included community consultation processes, stakeholder engagement, and advisory groups. The National Communication reported that the development of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change in 2016 involved public participation that brought together stakeholders, such as policymakers and farmers, to deliberate actions needed for climate change adaptation in South Sudan. The Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) highlighted that South Sudan intends to actualize the National Environment Policy (2015) on public participation in climate change efforts. However, information on the efforts required to achieve this objective are not easily available.

The National Adaptation Plan (2021) indicates that because the Climate Change Working Group and Technical Working Groups are composed mainly of government officials, effective mechanisms to engage non-government stakeholders should be established to ensure that they are meaningfully engaged in the planning and implementation of South Sudan’s adaptation response. To facilitate this engagement, over the short term (2020–2022) the Plan suggests establishing two engagement mechanisms: 1) A Community-Based Organization and Non-Governmental Organization Advisory Committee and Forum. The Advisory Committee will consist of a fixed number of representatives from various organizations who will provide input to the National Adaptation Plan process. A larger forum will invite membership from international, national, and subnational organizations and will provide an arena for sharing knowledge and experiences to ensure representation of the whole society, coordinate action, and establish synergistic partnerships between members; and 2) A Private Sector Advisory Committee and Forum.

  1. Monitoring and evaluation

i. Country monitoring 

The country’s Initial National Contribution (2018) expressed a need for the country to develop a Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification system for climate change. This system would ensure that information on adaptation and mitigation is put together for informed decisions about climate change. However, information is only available for the plans that the country intends to embark on for climate change.

The Second Nationally Determined Contribution (2021) highlights that South Sudan will focus on building the capacity of institutions to conduct baseline surveys to record and monitor changes in environmental pollution, biodiversity loss, and natural resources management. Increasing awareness and knowledge among communities regarding climate change and environmental concerns will also be a key focus area.

ii. MECCE Project Monitoring

South Sudan’s Curriculum Framework mentions words in the cluster of ‘Biodiversity’ 1 time, ‘General Environment’ 6 times, ‘Sustainability’ 2 times, and Climate Change’ 11 times.

The country’s General Education Strategic Plan (2017) mentions words in the clusters of General Environment’ 2 times, Sustainability’ 9 times, and Climate Change 2 times.



This profile was reviewed by Adane Kebede, Project Manager, Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network.

Last modified:

Wed, 29/11/2023 - 10:17