The Great Green Wall Initiative

What is the Great Green Wall?

The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope in the face of one of the biggest challenges of our time
– desertification.  Launched in 2007, this game-changing initiative aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and in the process transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel. Once complete, the Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet – an 8000km natural wonder of the world stretching across the entire width of the Continent.

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel initiative is now being implemented in more than 20 countries across Africa’s Sahel region and more than 8 billion dollars have been mobilized and/or promised in its support. The initiative brings together African countries and international partners, under the leadership of the African Union Commission.

An African Dream

The Great Green Wall is already boosting food security and resilience to climate change, whilst creating thousands of jobs for the many communities who live along its path, especially women and young people. Moreover, it promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats that plague the people of this region – notably drought, famine, conflict and migration.  A decade after it was launched, the initiative is already empowering local people not only to survive in this harsh environment, but to thrive once more.

By 2030, the ambition is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create a minimum of 350,000 jobs in rural areas.

How is the UNCCD supporting the initiative?

FLEUVE Project - The Local Environmental Coalition for a Green Union

The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD is implementing a flagship initiative under the Great Green Wall called FLEUVE – The Local Environmental Coalition for a Green Union. The project is financed by the European Commission to the tune of Euro 7 million and is being implemented from 2014-18.

FLEUVE aims to strengthen the capacities of local communities to help boost investments in land restoration and create employment opportunities or ‘green jobs’.  The project is driven by local people themselves to strengthen community resilience to land degradation, drought and climate variability.

Micro-investment projects are currently being implemented under FLEUVE in 23 communities across five Sahel countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Senegal.   The project is complemented by regional-level activities on capacity building and the dissemination of good practices on sustainable land management and innovative financing.

The project is led by the Global Mechanism, with the support of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and three networks of community-based organizations - RESAD, RADDO and Drynet.

Public Awareness Campaign

The UNCCD has launched a public awareness campaign on the Great Green Wall, called ‘Growing a World Wonder’. The campaign aims to boost global awareness of the initiative in public spheres, policy debates, as well as media and cultural sectors with a clear view towards inspiring long-term public and private investment in the initiative.

As part of the campaign, the UNCCD developed a Virtual Reality film, which transports viewers to ground-level where communities are growing this new world wonder. The film, which first premiered at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 to world leaders, has since featured at major public events across the world including amongst others: the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony, La Geode Imax Cinema in Paris and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew. In October 2016, the film was awarded the ‘Best Documentary’ prize at the 2016 Screen4All Festival in Paris.


  • Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)
  • European Union (EU)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-PACO)
  • Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)
  • World Bank Group (WBG)