The Great Green Wall initiative
The Great Green Wall initiative is an African partnership against desertification and land degradation.
Desertification affects millions of vulnerable people in Africa, where two-thirds of the land is made up of dry lands and deserts. Desertification means land degradation in arid, semi -arid and sub-humid areas resulting from factors such as human pressure on fragile ecosystems, deforestation and climate change.
Desertification and land degradation have a heavy impact on food security and livelihoods of local communities living in these drylands of Africa, home to the poorest populations of the world.
The Great Green Wall initiative is a pan-African proposal to “green” the continent from west to east in order to battle desertification. It aims at tackling poverty and the degradation of soils in the Sahel-Saharan region, focusing on a strip of land of 15 km (9 mi) wide and 7,100 km (4,400 mi) long from Dakar to Djibouti.
The initiative aims to support the efforts of local communities in the management and sustainable use of forests, rangeland and other natural resources in drylands.
It also aims to contribute to the mitigation and adaptation to climate change and to improve food security and livelihoods of the peoples of the Sahel and Sahara.
Since the initial idea of a line of trees through the African desert from east to west, the vision of the Great Green Wall was gradually transformed into a mosaic of interventions designed to address the challenges faced the people of the Sahel and Sahara.
The strategy has set the following main objectives:
• improve the living conditions of people living in the drylands of Africa and reduce their vulnerability to climate change, climate variability and drought
• improve the status and health of ecosystems in arid areas of Africa and their resilience to climate change, climate variability and drought
• mobilize resources for implementation of the initiative of the Great Green Wall for the creation of effective partnerships between national and international stakeholders.
Overall though, the Great Green Wall is an extremely bold undertaking but sometimes thinking big is what is needed to draw attention to a problem.
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