African partnership to halt desertification and land degradation
Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel moves ahead
25 September 2012, Rome – Experts presented achievements towards the realisation of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel, a pan-African initiative to halt desertification, while improving food security and contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Launched in December 2006 at the Food Security Summit in Nigeria with a view to tackle the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the Sahara and the Sahel, the Great Green Wall initiative is bringing together more than twenty countries from the Sahelo-Saharan region, international organisations, research institutes, civil society and grassroots organisations.
“We are now all promoting one harmonised regional strategy, ” said Almami Dampha from the African Union, leading the initiative, during an event organised at FAO’s biennal Committee on Forestry, from 24 to 28 September 2012, one of the world’s most prominent gatherings on forestry and sustainable development.
The strategy was adopted in April this year and emphasizes an integrated approach to tackling land degradation and desertification through a mosaic of interventions addressing the challenges facing the people in the Sahel and Sahara.
It also defines the main objectives of the initiative to strengthen the resilience of the region’s people and natural systems with sound ecosystems’ management, sustainable development of land resources, the protection of rural heritage and the improvement of the living conditions of the local population.
During the event, forestry experts from Burkina Faso and Niger explained how their countries have translated the objective in action plans, with the assistance of the European Union, FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification (GM-UNCCD).
Plans are also in place for Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, and Senegal, while the plans for another five countries - Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria and Egypt – are in progress.
The GM-UNCCD, one of the initiatives key partners, unveiled a platform for partnership and resource mobilization to increase investment in the Great Green Wall.
“Optimizing existing resources and mobilizing additional ones using innovative approaches, such as this platform, is vital to sustainable and integrated efforts to combat land degradation and desertification,” said Inès Chaâlala of the GM-UNCCD.