Publications and resources

Dynamism in the drylands of South Sudan

This report looks at volatility in South Sudan's drylands, and discusses the short-term strategies pastoralists use when responding to emerging threats and the longer-term changes to their priorities.

Publisher SPARC
By Alex Humphrey Thudan James Gai Nyachar Lony
Reframing aid and resilience Supporting livelihoods and markets South Sudan

Over the last four years, South Sudan has experienced back-to-back years of flooding which have left much of the country submerged for years on end, driving displacement and worsening an already dire hunger crisis. At the frontline of the global climate crisis, many of the worst affected in South Sudan are pastoralists. Flooding has led to widespread livestock loss and has forced many pastoralists to trek their animals long distances in search of pasture and functioning markets. Violence, in the form of armed cattle raiding and revenge-related attacks, continues to affect pastoral communities, further limiting the ability of herders to safely graze their livestock.

Such volatility in South Sudan and the world’s drylands raise questions as to the long-term viability of pastoral livelihoods. This new report from SPARC seeks to answer these questions. The evidence is based on two years of interviews led by SPARC researchers with 60 pastoralist households affected by the flooding crisis in South Sudan. We asked the household respondents how they are adapting to climate- and conflict-related shocks and how increasing uncertainty in the drylands may be driving changes to their perceptions of pastoralism and long-term livelihood aspirations.

The findings show that support from aid actors should match the adept and inherent flexibility of pastoralists in response to shocks observed in South Sudan. For an overview of the report, its key findings and recommendations, read our blog here

SPARC will continue this line of research in the coming year in South Sudan and other drylands contexts. We welcome your feedback and look forward to sharing additional findings with you soon.

For further information, contact Alex Humphrey ([email protected])

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