The proposed 170-mile (280 kilometres) Jonglei canal is the Sudan has led to a clash between the Sudanese Government and environmentalists from neighbouring countries.
SV PAN DOWN EXTERIOR 'The Professional Centre' building, Nairobi, Kenya.
SV INTERIOR Newsmen at Sudanese Jonglei Canal conference.
SV Anti-canal objector George Matheson Manager addressing conference. (In English)
CU Environment Liaison Centre Director Richard Odingo addressing conference. (IN English)
SV Newsmen seated
CUs Jonglei committee member Yakub Samani addressing conference. (3 shots)
MANAGER: 'It is unwise under any circumstances to proceed with the project unless one is aware of the full possible implications. The consequent position that derives from that is simply that we feel the Sudanese Government should not take steps which will irreversibly commit themselves to building this canal in such and such a way before that information is available.'
ODINGO: 'Now the ELC is definitely not a police organisation. After all, we are just the Centre -- where the non-governmental organisations air their views. And all we can do is to air our views, and our views which we are airing is that here is a canal being built in an area which could easily be the next desert. Certainly, there is every possibility that if anything goes wrong with the project not only will it affect the Sudan, it will affect the neighbours of the Sudan. That's what we are saying.'
SAMANI: 'We are planning a project of two hundred thousand acres to be irrigate ed for the benefit of our people in the area. Has this been mentioned here? To produce food, and to produce fibre, for our people, who are hungry now. B. This project is going to serve the river transportation between Malakal and Juba. For five or six months, these people are completely cut off from any part of the Sudan. Now this canal is shortening the river transportation by 300 kilometres.
C. This project is providing for an all-weather road that is going to connect Malakal and Bor, and these are the most difficult heavy-clay places. Now if this done, this road is going to connect Alexandria with South Africa (eds - correct). Those people who don't know that should know that. D. This project is going to provide land...er, provide water for livestock and wild-life in the dry season, which otherwise is not there. We are concerned about the wild-life, as anybody else. We are also concerned about our people. And believe me, the project that we have, proposed by competent people all over the world of preserve the wild-life, is going to preserve both man and wild-life.'
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Background: The proposed 170-mile (280 kilometres) Jonglei canal is the Sudan has led to a clash between the Sudanese Government and environmentalists from neighbouring countries. The Sudanese Government plans to start digging the canal next year, to irrigate some 200,000 acres (80,000 hectares). But environmentalists say the canal has not been properly planned, and could lead to a disastrous change in the balance of nature affecting surrounding nations like Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
SYNOPSIS: The controversy was highlighted at a new conference in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday (September 1), held by t he Environment Liaison Centre, based in Kenya. ELC spokesman, George Manager, outlined the basic objections.
ELC Director Richard Odingo followed up.
But a member of the Jonglei project committee, Mr. Yakub Samani, supported the proposed canal.