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Great Green Wall initiative

An African partnership to tackle desertification and land degradation

Endorsed in 2007 by African Heads of State and Government, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative aims to tackle the detrimental social, economic and environmental impact of land degradation and desertification in the Sahelo-Saharan region.

The initiative supports local communities in the sustainable management and use of forests, rangelands and other natural resources in drylands.

It also seeks to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well improve the food security and livelihoods of the people in the Sahel and the Sahara.

Initiatives like these are crucial across the Sahel and the Sahara, where the lives and livelihoods of millions of rural people are challenged by desertification and land degradation.

From an initial idea of erecting a line of trees from east to west through the African desert, the vision for a Great Green African Wall has evolved into a more science-based and integrated approach:  a mosaic of interventions adapted to local ecosystems and tailored to the needs of communities.


Since 2010, FAO in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Global Mechanism of the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCDD), has been supporting the African Union Commission (AUC) and partner countries to promote and further develop the initiative.

Action plans are in place in Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, while those of Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Sudan are in the making.

Moreover, in Senegal, the planting of 11 million trees contributed to the restoration of  27 000 hectares of degraded land, while multi-purpose gardens – orchard, kitchen garden and pasture in one - enabled women to increase their income and produce food for their families at the same time.

Dune fixation is being successfully rolled out in Mauritania. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger work together with Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew on the production of the most suitable trees, shrubs and herbs to turn degraded land into productive areas.

More information on: Great Green Wall initiative