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Key findings
  • More than half (51%) of Sudanese say flooding has become more severe in their region over the past decade. About four in 10 citizens (39%) say the same about droughts.
  • A slim majority (54%) of Sudanese say they have heard of climate change. o Climate-change awareness is particularly low among citizens with no formal education (36%), those experiencing high levels of lived poverty (46%), rural residents (50%), and women (46%).
  • Among Sudanese who are aware of climate change: o Only four in 10 (41%) say it is making life in Sudan worse. o More than two-thirds say that citizens can help limit climate change (68%) and that their government should take steps now to limit climate change, even if it is expensive (68%). o More respondents assign the primary responsibility for fighting climate change to the government (47%) than to ordinary citizens (18%), business and industry (13%), or developed countries (13%). o But large majorities say greater efforts to fight climate change are needed from developed countries (79%), business and industry (75%), and citizens (60%) as well as from the government (81%).
  • Only about one in 10 citizens (11%) approve of the government’s performance to date in addressing climate change.

Even as armed conflict ravages Sudan (Médecins Sans Frontières, 2023), a less obvious but  insidious phenomenon threatens the well-being – even the survival – of its people: climate  change. 

Blamed for rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, record floods, and increasingly  frequent droughts, climate change puts agriculture and other livelihoods at risk, with grave  consequences for food security and health (Climate-Related Peace and Security Risks Project, 2022; USAID, 2016; ReliefWeb, 2020; Tayebi, 2021).  

Evidence suggests that climate change has also increased competition for access to scarce  resources, including water and grazing lands, fuelling cycles of intercommunal conflict  (Climate-Related Peace and Security Risks Project, 2022; United Nations Envionment  Programme, 2022).  

The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (2023) ranks Sudan among the 10 countries  most vulnerable to climate change worldwide (179th out of 185). 

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9  questionnaire to explore Sudanese experiences and perceptions of climate change.  

Findings show that almost half of Sudanese have not heard of climate change. Among those  familiar with climate change, most say the government is doing a poor job of addressing the  threat. But most also call for greater engagement by business and industry, developed  countries, and ordinary citizens as well as by the government. 

Simon Templer Kodiaga

Simon Kodiaga previously served as the communications coordinator for East Africa at Afrobarometer.

Elmogiera Elawad

Elmogiera Elawad is the Director of Sudan Polling and Statistics Center.