Resilience in Urban Sudan (RUS): Resilience, social cohesion and climate change in urban areas of Greater Khartoum

2019-2022

Project leader: Dr. Josepha Wessels (K3), Malmö University, Sweden

Project members:  

  • Dr. Vittorio Felci, Senior Researcher (K3), Malmö University, Sweden
  • Dr. Fanny Christou, Postdoc (LUCSUS), Lund University, Sweden
  • Dr. Sumaya Zakieldeen, Senior Researcher, IES, University of Khartoum, Sudan
  • Dr. Muna Ahmed, Director IES, University of Khartoum, Sudan

Research partners:  

  • Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), Lund University, Sweden
  • Institute for Environmental Studies (IES), Khartoum University, Sudan

Financing bodies: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS)


The main purpose of this research project is to contribute to scientific knowledge to tackle consequences of climate and environmental changes in urban areas of the Global South. The project will strengthen applied studies on urban sustainable development according to the Sustainable Development Goal 11, also known as the Urban Sustainable Development Goal (USDG). This project therefore aims to explore urban community resilience and the initiatives of social cohesion, that are participatory and inclusive and help mitigate climate change and adapt to increasingly challenging conditions in urban areas. In order to face environmental threats, at the roots of growing inequalities, there is a scholarly need to better understand the proactive or reactive acts of resilience that urban communities develop themselves. Dealing with the Sustainable Development Goal 10 and 13, this project also highlights the ways communities in a specific urban neighbourhood contribute to enhance a sustainable climate action and strengthen efforts to reduce inequalities. 

On the longer term, this project aims to contribute to urban sustainable development and planning through producing policy recommendations on how to increase and enhance social cohesion in fragmented neighbourhoods affected by increasing and repeated environmental challenges and migration influxes. In order to study the effects of climate change and environmental issues in urban areas, the research team will conduct an interdisciplinary Participatory Action Research (PAR) focused on a neighbourhood in Greater Khartoum. The aim is to explore environmental challenges as well as the societal responses that are developed by the communities in Khartoum. The project aims to (1) investigate the impact of environmental challenges on communities and (2) explore ways in which communities come together to identify shared challenges and devise climate action.

This interdisciplinary project will involve collaboration between researchers in Sweden and Sudan and combine environmental sciences, humanities and social sciences. The project will involve primary stakeholders from the neighbourhood from the start in order to ensure a societal relevance and greater impact on the ground. Local communities and stakeholders will be key in developing community climate action and the formulation of policy recommendations. This study applies a bottom-up participatory approach (PAR) for sharing decisions and knowledge production. The research team believes that only a participatory approach is effective to strengthen capacity to enhance social, cultural and environmental sustainability in marginalised neighbourhoods, among diverse groups of people and in Sudan.