Monday, November 21, 2016

The Great Green Wall

Desertification, land degradation, drought, climate change, food insecurity, poverty, loss of biodiversity, forced migration, and conflicts, are some of the key challenges facing Africa. The drylands of North Africa, Sahel and Horn of Africa extend over 1.6 billion hectares home to about 500 million people, i.e. slightly less than half of the entire population of the continent. Such rapidly deteriorating situation, exacerbated by climate change, has mobilised more than 20 African countries, NGOs, research institutes and grassroots organisations, to build together The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI). What is this Wall?

It is not a line or a wall of trees across the desert. The “Wall” is a metaphor to express a mosaic of sustainable land management and restoration interventions. It is a call for the sustainable management of natural resources, including soils, water, forests, rangelands; promotion of sustainable rural production systems in agriculture, pastoralism, and forestry, as well as sustainable production, processing and marketing of agricultural products and forest goods and services. The plan promotes:
• Long-term solutions to the pressing challenges of desertification, land degradation, drought and climate change,
• Integrated interventions tackling the multiple challenges affecting the lives of millions of people in the Sahel and Sahara, including restoration of production systems, development of rural production and sustainable development hubs,
• And an urgent call to development actors and policy makers to invest more on long-term solutions for the sustainable development of drylands in the Sahel and Sahara.

On November 16, FAO presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco a groundbreaking map of restoration opportunities along Africa’s Great Green Wall. at the UN climate change conference. Announcing that there are 10 million hectares a year in need of restoration along the Great Green Wall, it informs that restoration needs along Africa’s drylands have been mapped and quantified for the first time.

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