Text Size:
Updated On: Thursday, November 23 2017

"Great Green Wall" Sprouting Across Africa

Content by: South-South News

17 April 2013, New York, USA | Afaf Konja - 4,300 miles of trees are being planted across the African continent through the participation of 11 countries in a new project designed to counter desertification, spearheaded by African heads of State.

The Great Green Wall will create fertile grounds branching through the countries of the Sahel-Saharan region, namely: Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.

Approved by the African Union in 2007 and backed by the United Nations, these countries reportedly began planting trees in 2008 to help tackle poverty and soil degradation. The UN explains that the Wall will help to "provide a barrier against desert winds and will help to hold moisture in the air and soil, allowing agriculture to flourish. It is also expected that the Wall will reduce erosion, enhance biodiversity and improve countries' resilience to climate change."

The Global Environment Faculty (GEF), the largest public funder of projects to improve the environment including the Wall, says that,"Populations in Sahelian Africa are among the poorest and most vulnerable to climatic variability and land degradation. They depend heavily on healthy ecosystems for rain-fed agriculture, fisheries, and livestock management to sustain their livelihoods."

Agriculture is one of the main industries in Africa, contributing to about 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) for the continent.

According to GEF, the idea of the Great Green Wall came from the former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 and was strongly supported by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.

'We are aware that this is our territory. It is up to us to rebuild our systems, that is why we dove in first,' said Ndiawar Dieng, forestry expert from Senegal attending the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10), currently taking place in Istanbul, Turkey.

Support is coming from the World Food Program (WFP) in food assistance for the community farming groups in these regions during the lean season, which the UN notes, helps them remain resilient and better equipped to cope with climate shocks.

According to the UN, other supporters of the Great Green Wall include the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

GEF states that, "participating countries hope that by linking national-level efforts across borders, they will tackle policy, investment, and institutional barriers that exacerbate the effects of climate change and variability, leading to desertification and deterioration of the environment and natural resources and the risk of conflicts between communities."

The Great Green Wall is estimated as a $2 billion initiative.


Subscribe to our newsletter