Until this ten-year national environmental policy programme was presented, South Sudan had no policy governing the use of its environment despite heavy pollution due to oil production, charcoal burning, tree cutting and unnecessary deforestation.
As protracted fighting, which has killed tens of thousands since 2013, dominates political and economic decisions, questions remain about the country’s ability to prioritise the environment.
“The strategic goal of the National Environment Policy 2015 to 2025 is to ensure the protection, conservation and sustainable use of the natural resources of South Sudan without compromising the tenets of inter-generational equity,” Hoc said.
“The policy will pursue and archive to develop laws, regulations and guidelines to ensure sustainable management of the environment as well as the prudent utilisation of natural resources,” he added.
The policy contains ten chapters including chapters on climate change, management of resources, corporate social and environmental responsibilities and environmental planning.
Hoc said the policy targets to conserve and protect the environment from current threats of population growth, habitat destruction, pollution, and logging and cutting of trees for charcoal which leads to forest fragmentation.
It targets to establish mechanisms to promote partnership working and coordination, monitoring and evaluation of environmental strategies and programmes among the stakeholders.
It will also oversee implementation and enforcement of international, regional and domestic environmental laws and promote the environmental rule of law in the Republic of South Sudan. It also aims to increase funding for environmental programmes at the national, state and local levels.
Hoc said with increasing uncontrolled human activities on the environment in the country, there is eminent threat that the climate is being affected, citing that there is reduction on the amount of rainfall in other parts of the country, and many rivers are drying up – an indication of bad climate change impacted by human activities.
He hopes that once ratified, the policy will help address these challenges.
The 78 page document was directed to the Parliamentary Committee of Lands, which will present it back to the house after a period of seven days.