|Proceedings of the Khartoum Workshop on Arid Lands Management (UNU, 1979, 96 pages)|
|The university of Khartoum and the United Nations University|
Vice-Rector, Programme on the Use and Management of Natural Resources
Co-ordinator, Sub-programme on the Assessment of the Application of Knowledge to Arid Lands Problems
The United Nations University was established in response to growing international recognition that the major problems confronting humanity are not the responsibility of single nations but of the whole interdependent world. In the words of its Charter, approved by the UN General Assembly in 1973, the prime concerns of the University will be "the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare." The essence of the University is global networks of scholars working on related problems, and these scholars are linked to the University individually through research and training units, and formally through associated institutions. Through these networks the UN University is pursuing its aim of advanced research and training and the dissemination of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the needs of the developing countries. Thus it is acting to strengthen the resources of associated institutions where necessary, sponsoring research projects within the objectives of its programmes, providing post-graduate training to UNU Fellows, and facilitating the interchange of ideas by means of workshops, seminars, and a variety of publications.
In 1975 the UN University Council set three priority areas for immediate attention, namely, world hunger, human and social development, and the use and management of natural resources.
The aim of the Programme on the Use and Management of Natural Resources is to identify the most critical problems that can be alleviated through research, advanced training, and the dissemination of knowledge, and particularly those which are presently relatively unrecognized or inadequately dealt with by existing institutions. In early 1977 the Council approved the Programme's taking the following critical problems as a basis for its work: increasing environmental deterioration and mismanagement of natural resources in the humid tropics; limited energy supplies, particularly for rural communities; and the ineffective application of knowledge in the management and development of arid lands.
The general objective of the Arid Lands Sub-programme is to bridge the gaps between scientists, land-users, and administrators in order to develop and provide information for more effective management of arid lands. Specifically, the Sub-programme will identify factors obstructing the application of scientific or traditional knowledge that could be used to improve the environment and raise living stand. arcs in the dry lands, and then develop and implement means to overcome these obstacles.
Following a favourable report by a UNU evaluation mission in October 1977, the University of Khartoum was chosen as the initial base for this Sub-programme. The workshop recorded in this publication marks the initiation of joint activities. It was also the occasion for the formal designation of the University of Khartoum as an Associated Institution of the United Nations University. An agreement to this effect was signed by Professor Ali Fadl, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Khartoum, and Dr. Walther Manshard, Vice-Rector for the Natural Resources Programme, on 22 October 1978, the opening day of the workshop.
The co-operation between the UN University and the University of Khartoum will primarily be conducted through the Institute of Environmental Studies, recently established at the University of Khartoum with the support of the Ford Foundation. The University of Khartoum, being the major centre of advanced studies in the Sudan, is well placed to investigate environmental changes linked with development of the arid and semi-arid parts of the country, with which the aims of the Arid Lands Sub-programme of the UN University are closely linked. Post-graduate courses given by the Institute will provide training to UNU Fellows under the Subprogramme, particularly from those parts of Africa with comparable environmental and social problems.
A large number of departments from various faculties of the University of Khartoum will be associated in the work of the Institute, and it is intended that co-operation be" tween the UN University and the University of Khartoum for the furtherance of the Arid Lands Sub-programme will be on the widest possible basis. The Institutional Co-ordinator responsible in Khartoum for such co-operation will be Dr. Mustafa M. Khogali of the Department of Geography
The specific objectives of the Khartoum workshop were:
(a) to identify problem areas related to the utilization of existing knowledge in the development of the Sudan;
(b) to evaluate existing development projects; and
(c) to discuss the content of training programmes, and appropriate network relationships to support such programmes.
A summary of the proceedings, discussions, and recommendations is given in the report by Dr. Douglas L. Johnson.
The facilities provided by the University of Khartoum for the meetings and field excursions to the Gezira and Rahaad Development Schemes, as well as the hospitality of the university, are gratefully acknowledged, as is the co-operation of all participants, both Sudanese and overseas. There was unanimous agreement that the workshop had fulfilled its primary function of initiating effective co-operation between the University of Khartoum and the United Nations University in its Arid Lands Sub-programme, and of indicating the immediate lines for research and training.