The world's biggest ecosystem restoration project – Thegef

 

 

The world's biggest ecosystem restoration project – Thegef

“Any threat to our environment is a threat to our health, our society, our ecosystems, our economy, our security, our well-being, and our very survival,” says a ministerial declaration of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

 

In the post COVID-19 era, restoring degraded drylands across vast swathes of Africa could make a major contribution towards creating a healthier planet with healthier ecosystems.

 

The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement of epic proportions initiated in 2007 to green the entire width of Africa, a very dry region extending from Senegal to Djibouti.

 

The focus has since shifted to a more integrated approach including sustainable land use, livelihood and job creation, and peacebuilding.

 

Landscape degradation, climate change, and rapidly increasing populations over the past 50 years are often major drivers of conflict. The Great Green Wall aims to bring people together, restore degraded land, and promote sustainable development. It’s no longer simply about planting trees.

 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has estimated that the core area of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel stands at 780 million hectares (more than two times bigger than India), 21 percent of which includes restorable agro-sylvo-pastoral lands. Of this total, the United Nations and member states agreed in September 2019 to restore 100 million hectares by 2030.

 

The Great Green Wall contributes to, or directly supports, 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and has been endorsed by over 20 countries.

 

“Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change still constitute our best, and only, global road map for the future,” says United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ecosystems expert Tim Christophersen.

 

“We must seize the opportunity of this crisis to strengthen our commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

 

In 2010, the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall was created to coordinate and monitor the initiative. Planning, coordination, and implementation is supported by nationally designated agencies and units, rural communities, and by several projects.

 

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