The South Sudanese government has announced the ban on the export of wood and charcoal, saying the practice has had a negative impact on the country’s environment.
The Minister for Trade and Investment, Musa Hassan Tiel, said that illegal logging is now punishable by law.
“A lot of people are engaged illegally in cutting of trees for the purposes of producing charcoal for export,” Tiel told reporters in the country’s capital, Juba.
The new move, according to the minister, follows the massive destruction of forests in the country, instructing all environment agencies and other departments to ensure the ban is implemented.
“We urge our citizens and those who are engaged in those kinds of activities to stop doing that,” further stressed the minister, adding “Our citizens should look for new ways of cooking our food”.
Southern Sudan does not have a forestry policy and its authorities are afraid of losing the country’s tropical forests if strict measures are not put in place to curb the rampant rates of illegal logging.
The youngest nation in the world is facing a civil war and while its population is fighting hunger, it is also suffering the devastating effects of climate change, partly blamed by those responsible for the conflict.
In South Sudan, deforestation is aggravated by an increase in illegal exports of wood and charcoal, largely by foreign companies.
But while up to 95 percent of South Sudan’s population relies on climate-sensitive activities such as agriculture and forestry for their livelihood, the ongoing civil war exacerbates the problem.
South Sudan is currently involved in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, displacing nearly two million of them.
Last year, representatives of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) warned of the dangers posed by the country’s natural resources and wildlife to the alarming expansion of illegal exploitation, trafficking, and logging.
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