By Christopher Bendana
The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative (GGW) has received 10billion United States Dollars in new funding a statement released yesterday 11 January by the United National Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has revealed.
Emmanuel Macron, the French President announced at the recently concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity co-organized by France, the United Nations, and World Bank, added the statement.
The GGW is an African Union ambitious program that is intended to restore 153 million hectares of degraded land and fight extreme poverty in the Sahel region caused by the harsh drought conditions.
Mohamed Cheikh El-Ghazouani, the president of Mauritania and current chair of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall, welcomed the Accelerator program on behalf of the region.
“We welcome the announcement of the Great Green Wall Accelerator Initiative, whose objective is to release an initial contribution over the period 2021-2025, to give effect to the commitments of the financial partners in a coordinated framework,” said Ghazouani.
“The mobilization of this additional funding through an innovative approach will certainly contribute to the achievement of the Great Green Wall goals, which aim by 2030, at the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land and the creation of 10 million green jobs. This initiative will certainly facilitate the alignment of our partners’ interventions, in response to the concerns raised by our Ministers of Environment at the last Great Green Wall Conference,” said Ghazouani.
Ghazouani stressed that it would help them access the necessary funds, to increase local investments within the framework of the five pillars adopted and to strengthen the capacities of the national agencies of the Great Green Wall.
“In this context, I would like to suggest the establishment, in each of our countries, of a biodiversity Fund into which we will contribute a portion of the resources resulting from the cancellation of our debts. A cancellation that we call for with all our hearts.”
“Pandemic recovery is our chance to change course. With smart policies and the right investments, we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies, and builds resilience. Innovations in energy and transport can steer a sustainable recovery and an economic and social transformation. Nature-based solutions – such as Africa’s Great Green Wall – are especially promising,” said the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Since its inception in 2007, the Great Green Wall (GGW) has partnered with stakeholders to regreen the region and create an 8,000 km long world wonder involving at least 11 countries and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The GGW Initiative, now well into its second decade, is an African-led flagship program demonstrating how to harness the power of nature to provide policy solutions to multiple and complex environmental threats, such as land degradation, desertification, drought, climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, and food insecurity, simultaneously.
The GGW has inspired many African countries that are now associated with it and its work is contributing to the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. GGW is among the iconic global campaigns targeted for completion during the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration ending in 2030.
The virtual ‘One Planet Summit’ for biodiversity held on January 11, 2021, in Paris was an opportunity to raise the level of ambition of the international community in protecting nature, while responding to the new questions raised by the COVID-19 pandemic as communities mobilize resources to build back better and improve livelihoods in the Sahel through the Great Green Wall Initiative.
The summit is mobilizing resources, heads of government and partners as well as leaders of international organizations, financial institutions, the business sector, and NGOs to make commitments for concrete action to preserve and restore biodiversity, to make strong new announcements, and to launch transformational initiatives for nature.