Desertification affects millions of the most vulnerable people in Africa, where two-thirds of the land cover consists of drylands and deserts.
Contrary to popular perception, desertification is not the loss of land to the desert or through sand-dune movement. Desertification refers to land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas resulting from factors such as human pressure on fragile eco-systems, deforestation and climate change.
Desertification and land degradation have a strong negative impact on the food security and livelihoods of the local communities in Africa’s drylands, home to the world’s poorest populations.
In 2007, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative with the objective of tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the region.
The initiative aims to support the efforts of 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.