As a result of the conflicts between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–North (SPLM–N) and the Sudanese armed forces, more than 200,000 people have fled to South Sudan. The bulk of these refugees are now living in the South Sudanese federal states of Unity and Upper Nile, creating considerable challenges for the regions concerned. In some areas the number of refugees is three times larger than the local population, and pressure on the already scarce resources such as wood, water and arable land has grown further. This situation often leads to tensions and conflicts between refugees and the local people.
The SDC is supporting the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its efforts to counter or reverse the negative effects of the overuse of natural resources in South Sudan. In the medium term, there are plans to implement a strategy on the permanent monitoring of the ecological effects of refugee camps in the federal states of Upper Nile and Unity. As part of these efforts, from June 2013 to the end of March 2015, the SDC funded a project to conduct forest mapping in the South Sudanese counties of Maban (Upper Nile) and Pariang (Unity) with the aid of satellite images.