Combating desertification: UNCCD sponsors independent review of Great Green Wall accelerator.

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Par François M’BRA II

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) recently commissioned the analysis of the Great Green Wall Accelerator.

This vision and global voice for the earth brings together governments, scientists, policymakers, the private sector and communities around a common vision and global action. It aims to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet.

The UNCCD is a multilateral commitment far more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties that aims to mitigate the current effects of land degradation and promote the management of the land of tomorrow to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunities to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Update on progress since 2021, identification of recommendations

At the “One Planet Summit” organized in January 2021 in Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron, a “Great Green Wall Accelerator” was launched to secure $19 billion in financial commitments to boost implementation of the initiative in the 11 African countries that are members of the Great Green Wall initiative.

By 2030, the Great Green Wall (GMV) project aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land in Africa, over an 8,000-km stretch of land south of the Sahara from Senegal to Djibouti and create 10 million jobs in rural areas.

According to “Agropasteur Babaclimat”, two years after the “One Planet Summit”, 80% of the US$19 billion pledged for the Great Green Wall Accelerator has been programmed in the 11 African member countries of the Great Green Wall (GMV) initiative.

More than just a tree-planting initiative, the Great Green Wall initiative is a comprehensive program of integrated ecosystem management and rural development aimed at combating land degradation, desertification, climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and food insecurity.

In the two years since the One Planet Summit, the Great Green Wall Accelerator has identified and funded 150 projects covering all countries that are part of the Great Green Wall – from Senegal to Djibouti.

However, continued political leadership, country ownership, targeted action at all levels and strengthened institutional arrangements are needed to realize the vision of this African-led movement.

These findings come from the new Great Green Wall Accelerator analysis, commissioned by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which takes stock of progress made since 2021 and identifies a series of recommendations for action.

The report precedes consultations with Great Green Wall Initiative countries and partners held on March 30, 2023, under Nigeria’s rotating presidency.

National Great Green Wall Coalitions have been established in 9 of the 11 countries, bringing together governments, international donors, the private sector and civil society to chart the way forward for implementation in countries.

To date, $2.5 billion of the funds pledged at the One Planet Summit have been paid, with the remaining $17.5 billion expected to be paid by the end of 2025.

However, this amount is still insufficient to reach the $33 billion needed to realize the vision of the Great Green Wall.

The Accelerator has been extremely proactive and provided a high level of expertise in the areas it addressed, namely governance and advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and resource mobilization, as concluded by the Independent Review of the Great Green Wall Accelerator completed in late February 2023

Loopholes to close

The report has not only praised the achievements made since the implementation of this initiative. Beyond what may lead to a bright spot, it is also important to highlight the weaknesses identified in the system. These include institutional shortcomings due to insufficient financial and human resources and political support for regional and national agencies for the Great Green Wall.

A situation that jeopardizes the sustainability of the achievements of the Great Wall Accelerator.

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