Any real solution to Darfur's problems will require sustained economic development, says UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon in this article for The Washington Post.
Amid the socio-political causes of the Darfur conflict lies an ecological crisis, argues Ban. This crisis has arisen, at least in part, from a decrease in precipitation — about 40 per cent since the early 1980s — caused by man-made climate change.
The lack of rainfall has meant there is no longer enough food and water to sustain both settled farmers and nomadic herders. This shortfall led to the initial fighting and the subsequent full-scale violence in Darfur, says Ban.
He says the UN-African Union peacekeeping force accepted by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last week will help moderate the violence — but it is not enough to solve Darfur's problems.
The international community must help Sudan develop new technologies such as genetically engineered drought-tolerant crops or new irrigation techniques. Funds must also be raised for improving infrastructure in key areas such as health, sanitation and communications.