Climate Services Model for South Sudan’s Rural Farmers and Agro-pastoralists
Using experimental data from a pilot project administered in rural Tonj South, Aweil West, and Aweil North, this paper studies climate services reception and application in South Sudan. The pilot climate service was first of its kind directly delivered to farmers and agro-pastoralists in the country. The results are encouraging: a vast majority of the project beneficiaries received climate conditions advice, used it, trusted it, and are now interested to make use of such services in the future. This positive reception implies a growing interest by agro-pastoralists and farmers to use weather forecasts to make informed farming decisions. We recommend a number of policies to strengthen this interest, with the objective of improving livelihoods for the rural population. First, there is need to establish a permanent national technical working group on climate services to coordinate, review, translate and disseminate climate information to key end users (e.g., agro-pastoralists, farmers, health professionals, airlines, etc). Support for this group could be drawn from the Global Environment Facility. Second, a financial and meteorological strategy for long-term climate services in South Sudan is desired. Third, the stakeholders should institute a climate data sharing agreement for more informed coordination and decision-making. These data would need generating using equipment that meets the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) standards. Fourth, more studies to increase understanding of the role of traditional rainmakers and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), creating an integrated climate services model to inform livelihoods and policies, are suggested. Finally, the stakeholders should mobilize resources to improve national capacity on climate information by strengthening South Sudan Meteorological Department through equipment acquisition, training and exchange visits with global forecasting centers, such NOAA’s Africa Training Desk.
Nhial Tiitmamer is the Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Program at the Sudd Institute and a part-time lecturer at the University of Juba. Before joining The Sudd Institute in 2013, Nhial spent research and consulting stints at Arletta Environmental Consulting in Calgary and at the University of Alberta in Canada. Nhial holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in English Literature from the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus and an M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Development from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Nhial is the co-founder of the NewSudanVision.com and has extensively commented and written on issues about South Sudan and Sudan.
Augustino Ting Mayai is the Director of Research at the Sudd Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, with concentrations on demography and development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently studies how state effectiveness affects child health outcomes in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Dr. Mayai has written extensively on South Sudan’s current affairs.