Pan-Africa’s The Great Green Wall, GGW, initiative took steps to reverse the signs of desertification by planting trees from west to east Africa. This 9-mile wide and 4,400 miles long strip of land from Dakar to Djibouti aims to tackle poverty and the degradation of soils in the Sahel-Saharan (The Great Green Wall Initiative )
According to the Global Environment Facility, GEF, the populations in Sahelian Africa are among the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change and land degradation. The region depends on a healthy eco-system for rain-fed agriculture, fishery, and livestock management to sustain their livelihood. Africa faced a long harsh reality of land degradation, poor water quality and a massive population. In 2005, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with strong support by the President of Senegal developed The Great Green Wall initiative to combat ecological degradation.
In 2007, The African Union adopted the initiative, the vision evolved into an integrated ecosystem management. In June 2010, 12 cities signed in to create and further develop the initiative.
“The 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 progress of the GGW initiative is apparent especially in the region of Nigeria were tree density significantly improved since the mid-1980s’. According to GEF this natural regeneration of trees thanks to the help of local farmers benefits local communities, increases crop yield, improves soil fertility, reduces land erosion, diversifies income, increases food security, and much more. The GEF granted approximately 100 million dollars to the GGW participating countries to expand sustainable land and water management.
The website Great Green Wall Initiative.org addresses the recovery of the fertile dry-lands of Africa a vital source of life to millions of people. Implementing the GGW initiative in this region sets the basis for food security and agriculture production within the region. This food security allows for less dependency on major food exporting countries, like the United States and the European Union. This initiative empowers the continent and its people to be self-sustainable relying less on virtual water making water less of a global issue. Generating employment and mitigating social crisis for the regions’ most poverty stricken and vulnerable people.
“The Great Green Wall is a game-changer for Africa with the potential to strengthen local resilience to climate change, preserver rural heritage, and improve the livelihoods of local populations.”