21 Oct 2018

 

South Sudan Commemorates World Environment Day

South Sudan joined the rest of the world in the commemoration of the World Environment Day (WED) with emphasizes to protect the natural heritage and its biodiversity.

By Jok P Mayom

JUBA, 09 June 2016 [Gurtong]- The Ministry of Environment & Forest and the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation & Tourism in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on Thursday marked the day under the slogan “Go Wild for Life” in Juba.

In attendance also included Ambassadors from various countries accredited to South Sudan.

This year’s theme is the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife, which erodes previous biodiversity and threatens the survival of elephants, rhinos and tigers as well as many other species.

This year’s slogan “Go Wild for Life” encourages campaigns about the wildlife crime and the damage it does and to challenge those around to do what they can to prevent it.

Mr. Arshad Khan, UNEP country representative said, “The WED is celebrated on 5th of June throughout the world in order to raise awareness and to take positive environmental action to protect nature and mother earth.”

“It was established by the United Nation General Assembly in 1972 at the UN conference on human and the environment and since then it is celebrated though every year with different themes” Khan said.

He said the theme “Go wild for life” focuses on encouraging people to protect the nature.

“The main objective of WED is to raise public awareness on the illegal wildlife trade and poaching which is happening in this Country at an alarming rate” UNEP Representative said.

He said UNEP has been working with the government and communities since 2009 on key environmental issues ranging from environmental management.

Mr. Joseph Africano Bartel, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in his remarks said this year global world day celebration is celebrated in Angola, a post conflict nation like South Sudan that has taken an initiative to protect its natural heritage.
“South Sudan is endured with vast natural resources which when sustainability exploited will enhance the livelihood of its people” he said.

He also said that the lack of environmental legal framework has led to increase of criminal groups that are currently destroying the natural heritage in an alarming rate.

“Our forests are being destroyed, to fuel the booming illicit charcoal burning” he noted.
“Two weeks ago, elephant task were confiscated at Juba International Airport” he revealed.

Bartel noted that the ministry of environment and forestry is in the process of enacting its environmental bill after the adoption of its policy by the national assembly.

He also added that the bill will formulate tough regulations and standards to safeguard and regulate the exploitation of natural heritage and reverse the unsustainable course that is currently the case.

Amb. Mary Catherine Phee, U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan on her part backed the Under Secretary’ remarks saying, decades of insecurity have put at risk South Sudan’s unique wildlife populations and open the door to illegal trade of bush meat of various species and ivory.

“I know everyone here today wants to strengthen the effort to protect South Sudan wildlife and natural resources because South Sudan is part of our global community and our global heritage” said Amb. Phee.

Amb. Kiya Masahiko, Japan Ambassador to South Sudan said “Peace is also important for wildlife. I would like to invite more and more Japanese people to visit the national parks but the indispensable precondition is to restore peace.”

“It is my sincere hope that all the people and leaders make the greatest efforts to restore peace as soon as possible in this country so that more people can see many animals here in this country” said Amb. Kiya.

Amb. Tim Morris, British Ambassador to South Sudan described the commemoration as a real sign of seriousness with which South Sudan approaches a question of illegal wildlife crime.

“I would like to congratulate South Sudan, with all the challenges you are facing, you are already identifying to preserve the great resources you have, an important  share of precious global habitat for animals as you develop your vision to the future of your country please keep this dream alive” he said.
 

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