Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative, designed to restore degraded land, create jobs and address climate change, needs more collaboration if it is to reach its 2030 goal of restoring 100 million hectares.
This was the sentiment expressed by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) director-general, Qu Dongyu, who on Monday appealed for “an urgent scale-up” in the initiative.
During the Great Green Wall investment forum hosted virtually by French President Emmanuel Macron, Dongyu said international organisations, national authorities, the private sector and local communities must come together in order to help support the initiative.
Restoring land means combating climate change and desertification, thereby securing more food and alleviating poverty across the continent.
These 100 million hectares of transformed land will create 10 million “green jobs”, and sequester an estimated 250 million tonnes of carbon-equivalent content.
So far, the FAO has a project portfolio of $238 million (R3.6 billion) directly supporting the Great Green Wall Accelerator, and a total project portfolio of more than $1.15 billion to support all 11 Great Green Wall countries.
They are also working with the UN’s Convention to Combat Desertification, and the UN Environment Programme.
This includes technical assistance provided to assist retiring degraded land across the Sahel, from Mauritania and Senegal in the west, to Djibouti and Eritrea in the east.
“The Great Green Wall Initiative is a historic opportunity to conserve biodiversity, address climate change and enhance food security simultaneously,” Dongyu said.
Compiled by Nica Richards