The Great Green Wall initiative for the Sahara and the Sahel

The Great Green Wall initiative for the Sahara and the Sahel

Counteracting desertification: a regional initiative in Africa

Desertification has had an acute impact in Africa, particularly in the Community of the Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), which is characterised by climate ranging from hyper-arid to dry sub-humid. The local communities and their livelihoods are heavily dependent on the increasingly fragile natural resources.
This note, conducted by the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) on the request from CEN-SAD, summarises the results obtained from available documentation and consultations from experts and practitioners for the preparation and implementation of the Great Green Wall in the region.

The document emphasises that the Great Green Wall initiative has not been conceived as a wall made up of trees planted across the Sahara, but rather as a set of cross-sectoral actions and interventions aimed at the conservation and protection of natural resources with a view to achieving development and, particularly, alleviating poverty. The report draws lessons learnt from past experiences while considering current development needs.

Key objectives of the Great Green Wall initiative include:

  • reforestation and recovery of existing vegetation focusing on plant species, plant production and planting techniques,
  • curbing illegal logging
  • promotion of modern bioenergy instead of unsustainable biomass use
  • improvement in water resources management, which includes investment in appropriate irrigation
  • production of green energy and food crops
  • active participation of local communities, among others.
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