The Tragedy of the Unregulated: Why the Government should Reform the Charcoal Sector

Charcoal is increasingly becoming a primary energy choice, accounting for 96% of cooking fuel for the growing urban population of South Sudan. Yet not much is known about the level of government regulation to make the woodfuel, especially the charcoal sector, sustainable. Some of the previous works on charcoal sector in South Sudan look at a range of issues that include illicit trade in charcoal across borders, challenges and barriers to safe access to cooking fuel, analysis of experiences and perspectives of end users of charcoal in the value chain, and charcoal production as a threat to biodiversity and wildlife habitats. Yet little attention has been paid to the regulation and militarization of the charcoal sector, its potential as a conflict driver, and the power relations or power structures that control the sector and the state of regulatory capacity and its effectiveness. Therefore, this analysis contributes to our understanding of how the militarization of the charcoal sector and inadequate governmental regulatory capacity undermine sustainable management of the charcoal sector. The rest of the Brief is structured as follows: Section 2 describes the methods used in collecting the data and in analyzing the collected data, Section 3 discusses key findings and policy implications while Section 4 concludes the Brief by offering policy recommendations.