According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
"The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change"
UN statistics showed that rainfall declined some 40 per cent over the past two decades, he said, as a rise in Indian Ocean temperatures disrupted monsoons.
"This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming,'' the South Korean diplomat wrote.
"It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought"
However, recent research published in the Journal of Arid Environments, argues that contrary to the apocalyptic visions of an African dust bowl there is a strong "secular" trend for "...increasing vegetation greenness over the last two decades across the Sahel..." - a region that contains Sudan. In fact, according to this peer-reviewed paper, there is a "...vast belt of significantly increasing vegetation across the central Sudan." These scientists propose three possible suggestions for the causes of this agricultural boom:
- Increasing rainfall across most parts of the Sahel;
- Improved land management; and
- Land use change resulting from migration of displaced people.