The World Bank and Global Environment Facility are financing the US$1 billion Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP), active in 12 countries together with a regional hub project called Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication, and Knowledge Services (BRICKS), implemented by the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Bold coordinated action and more investments in sustainable land management are needed to boost food production, help people adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, support biodiversity, enhance businesses based on land resources and contribute to a green economy.
On the 4th March 2013, Chris Reij, SLM specialist, Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute, held a presentation on "Resilience-building in the Sahel: Regreening the Sahel" as part of the Brussels Briefing on the "Agricultural resilience in the face of crisis and shocks" organized by CTA Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. He explained how the 5 million hectares which have been re-greened in the last 20 years have had a positive impact on food security. To find out more and watch his presentation here.
Since its adoption in 2007 by African Heads of State and Government, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative has become Africa's flagship initiative in tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation, desertification, drought and climate change.
It is estimated that 83 per cent of rural people in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on the land for their livelihoods, but 40 per cent of Africa's land resources are currently degraded. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, forced migration, conflict and security issues are just some of the many threats arising from this situation.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
More partnerships and investment are needed to support the pan-African partnership to tackle desertification and land degradation. So far, the African Union - in cooperation with the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and the Walloon Region of Belgium - has mobilized more than 50 million in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative.