Image credit: UNCCD. - Photo: 2019

Global Leaders Urged to Make Africa’s Great Green Wall a Reality by 2030

By Caroline Mwanga

NEW YORK IDN) – Eminent leaders from business, politics, media, the film and music industries gathered in New York on September 22 to spotlight the 8000 km  Great Green Wall – natural wonder of the world across the entire width of the African continent – as a practical, low-cost nature-based solution responding to the global climate emergency. They issued an urgent call on governments, civil society and business to join a growing global movement to make the Great Green Wall a reality by 2030.

The Wall, an African-led movement, aims to drive forward climate-smart solutions and bring back life to degraded landscapes in order to provide food security, jobs and thriving new economies for the communities living in Africa’s Sahel region. An estimated 15% of the Wall is already underway.

The Sahel – where the Great Green Wall is taking root – is a political hotspot. Nearly 80% of the land in this region is degraded, 33 million people are currently food insecure and temperatures are expected to rise by as much as 3-5 degrees by 2050. The most pressing challenges that humanity will face this century are already evident there, from food and water shortages, to climate change, drought, migration, and international terrorism.

Globally, three out of every four hectares of land have already been transformed from their natural state, putting nearly 1 million species on the path to extinction.

The Great Green Wall is often cast as a green belt stretching across the entire width of Africa from Dakar to Djibouti. But it is much, much more. It is a people-centered movement to restore the health of the Sahel’s eco-system and natural resources in order to build the resilience to drought of the communities living here, enhance their food security and empower them to generate new and sustainable income streams.

The Great Green Wall was launched a decade ago by the African Union, with the support of many partners that include UNCCD, the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the European Commission.

The September 22 event also featured musical performances by Songhoy Blues, Waje and Grammy-winning artist Ricky Kej as well as clips from the upcoming feature documentary titled, The Great Green Wall (Directed by Jared P. Scott), produced by MAKE Waves in association with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD convened the event, jointly organized by the UNCCD and Connect4Climate – World Bank Group represented at the event by Juergen Voegele, Global Director of the World Bank’s Climate Change Group.

“The Great Green Wall is a truly inspirational initiative, which is growing urgent solutions in the face of the 21st Century’s greatest challenges,” said Thiaw.

 “We are pleased to support the Great Green Wall, a tremendous example of how we can fight poverty by revitalizing degraded land through climate-smart practices,” said Juergen Voegele, Global Director, Climate Change, World Bank Group:

Jim Pisani, Global Brand President, Timberland added: “As a brand pursuing a better future for our planet, Timberland is proud to join the Great Green Wall movement, which we see as crucial in supporting communities on the very frontline of the global climate emergency and building a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Timberland’s support of the Great Green Wall is part of the brand’s commitment to plant 50 million trees worldwide by 2025. [IDN-InDepthNews – 23 September 2019]

Image credit: UNCCD.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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