16 October 2009Some 16,000 volunteers will take to the streets of Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, next month in a United Nations programme to tackle health hazards caused by public dumping of waste in a rapidly growing metropolitan area that has endured repeated fatal outbreaks of cholera, water-borne diseases and malaria. The project is part of a £20 million United Kingdom-funded project to improve the sustainable use of natural resources in Africa’s largest country, to be carried out by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) over the next three years. UK Minister of State for International Development Gareth Thomas was visiting Juba today to launch the segment that aims to establish long-term waste management capacity in Southern Sudan.“The Juba clean-up not only marks the beginning of an important project that will have concrete and positive impacts on the population of southern Sudan – it also takes forward UNEP’s collaboration with Sudan to improve environmental management as a critical pre-requisite of sustainable development,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in Nairobi, Kenya.The clean-up, which will be replicated in the nine states of southern Sudan, will be coupled with a sustained awareness-raising campaign to encourage the citizens of Juba to adopt an environmentally friendly attitude towards the disposal of waste in the city. UNEP’s country-wide programme seeks to help the people of Sudan, a country ravaged by several current and recent conflicts, to achieve sustainable peace, recovery and development by improving the management of natural resources. The recently established UNEP office in Juba will also provide technical support to the Government to manage its forests and other valuable natural resources in a sustainable manner, and work to build the capacity of Government ministries to tackle environmental issues.After a peace agreement in 2005 ended two decades of war between the Government in Khartoum, in the north, and southern Sudanese rebels, UNEP conducted a post-conflict environmental assessment, making 85 recommendations and outlining a detailed $120- million action plan over three to five years.