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In the Sahel, building resilience in the face of climate change and land degradation

May 2022, ABIDJAN – The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is taking place this year in Abidjan. In this context, the Sahel Alliance joins forces with the UNCCD and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and co-organised a parallel session dedicated to the Great Green Wall and a transition to a low-carbon economy on May 18.

The Great Green Wall Initiative, approved in 2007 by the African Union, is implemented by the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (Agence Panafricaine de la Grande Muraille Verte, APGMV) and national agencies in 11 countries. The G5 Sahel countries are part of it. This initiative aims to restore the Sahel’s degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives, the aim being to restore 100 million hectares, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs. The Great Green Wall Accelerator was designed in 2020 to support the activities carried out by the PAGGW. It aims to help all partners and stakeholders accelerate implementation plans, better coordinate investments and monitor progress.

Joint advocacy is needed to place sustainable land management and restoration at the heart of development policies in the Sahel.

Melchiade Bukuru, Director of the UNCCD New York Office

The Sahel Alliance and the GGW Accelerator bring together the same community of beneficiary countries, donors and partners committed to the fight against climate change and desertification. They pursue common objectives, with regard to sustainable rural development, better management of natural resources, as well as resilient and remunerative production systems.

The Sahel Alliance and the Great Green Wall share common objectives, which present a strong potential for synergy, from a geographical and thematic perspective, detailed in the joint declaration adopted by the Alliance and the UNCCD. (…) The Great Green Wall is an important lever for action and offers prospects for economic and social development that could contribute to the significant improvement of people’s living conditions.

Adrien Haye, Coordinator of the Sahel Alliance

The May 18 side event supports the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) “Growing a World Wonder” campaign, which aims to inspire an African-led global grassroots movement by 2030. The campaign also aims to stimulate global awareness of the initiative in public spheres, political debates, the media and cultural sectors, in order to generate long-term public and private investment. The Sahel Alliance, UNCCD and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) share common goals in terms of landscape restoration, improving food security and community resilience to shocks and climate change through development plans and strategies focused on resilience, modern and sustainable agriculture and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Ms Vieyra Olola, GGGI Côte d’Ivoire Resident Representative and Adrien Haye, Alliance Sahel Coordinator, planted a tree in the COP 15 forest. A symbol of hope in the Sahel.

The event is part of a strengthened dialogue between the Sahel Alliance and the Great Green Wall Initiative Accelerator, highlighting synergies and opportunities from an institutional perspective to do more and better for the environment and the people of the Sahel. At this event, success stories were shared through large-scale programmes and initiatives supported by the Sahel Alliance and the GGGI. Initiatives that help build community resilience, land restoration and water management, job creation, and design climate change mitigation and adaptation responses for the most vulnerable populations, including women and youth.

Mohamed Fadiga, FAO

Mr. Fadiga, Mr. Savadogo of FAO and Adamou Ounteni Issaka of WFP, co-lead of the Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development Working Group, co-moderated the presentation of key initiatives for land restoration.

In conclusion, they underscored future prospects in the pursuit of efforts: support the establishment of an incentive framework for taking into account the effects of climate change (promotion of agroecology, renewable energies, insurance against climate-related risks) to improve the resilience of G5 countries, political support for the GGW, strengthening the coordination of the commitments by the various technical and financial partners to increase the effectiveness of development aid.

Ms Juliane Wiesenhütter

Ms Juliane Wiesenhütter, Deputy Head of the German Delegation to COP 15, presented Germany’s commitments to the Great Green Wall (GGW) at the meeting. She particularly emphasised the fact that the German Comprehensive Soil Protection and Rehabilitation Programme for Food Security, active in 6 African countries, has contributed to improving the living conditions of 1.5 million people affected by rehabilitating 500,000 hectares of land.

The commitments of Alliance members in the sectors directly placed under the canopy of the GGW are particularly important: with nearly 300 projects and €6 billion committed as of 31/12/2021, the agriculture, rural development and food security sector constitutes the 2nd largest sector of intervention in the Sahel Alliance portfolio in terms of volume.

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