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 by the African Union, this game-changing African-led initiative aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and 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 8,000 km natural wonder of the world stretching across the entire width of the continent.

The Great Green Wall is now being implemented in more than 20 countries across Africa and more than eight billion dollars have been mobilized and pledged for its support. The initiative brings together African countries and international partners, under the leadership of the African Union Commission and Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall.

Objectives

By 2030, the ambition of the initiative is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land; sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs. This will support communities living along the Wall to:

  • Grow fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets
  • Grow economic opportunities for the world’s youngest population
  • Grow food security for the millions that go hungry every day
  • Grow climate resilience in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth
  • Grow a wonder of the world spanning 8000 km across Africa

Key Results

Since its launch in 2007, major progress has been made in restoring the fertility of Sahelian lands. Key examples include:

  • Ethiopia: 15 million hectares of degraded land restored, land tenure security improved
  • Senegal: 11.4 million trees planted, 25 000 hectares of degraded land restored
  • Nigeria: 5 million hectares of degraded land restored and 20 000 jobs created
  • Sudan: 2,000 hectares of land restored
  • Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger: about 120 communities involved, a green belt created over more than 2,500 hectares of degraded and drylands, more than two million seeds and seedlings planted from fifty native species of trees

How is the UNCCD supporting the initiative?

FLEUVE Project – The Local Environmental Coalition for a Green Union (2014–2018)

The Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD implemented a flagship initiative under the Great Green Wall called FLEUVE. The project was financed by the European Commission in the amount of about seven million Euro and was implemented from 2014-19.

FLEUVE aimed at strengthening the capacities of local communities to help boost investments in land restoration and created employment opportunities or ‘green jobs. The project was driven by local people themselves to strengthen community resilience to land degradation, drought and climate variability.

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

The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD is also supporting the development of sustainable value chains, where it is working with the private sector who guarantee purchase of dryland products in the Sahel. This leads to the creation of land-based jobs for thousands of rural women in the Sahel.

Irish Government

The Global Mechanism is simultaneously implementing a EUR 1.2 million grant from the Irish Government in support of the Great Green Wall.

This work is based on two pillars:

  • The elaboration of a “State of the Great Green Wall” Landmark Report, which will provide a big picture overview and authoritative analysis to assess the state of the Great Green Wall, a decade after it was launched
  • Development of a portfolio of transformative projects along the Great Green Wall for future donor funding

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.

The campaign aims to inspire a global popular movement to deliver this urgent African-led dream by 2030. It centers on the core narrative that the Great Green Wall is an urgent symbol of hope in the face of the greatest challenges faced by mankind this century from climate change to food security, migration and resource-driven conflict. It is a compelling example of man and nature working together to create a unique legacy – a new world wonder for the next generation.

The campaign has already reached millions of people through mass media outreach, virtual reality, high-level events and civil society involvement. Among the future highlights is the release of the Great Green Wall documentary produced in collaboration with an Oscar nominated filmmaker Fernando Meirelles and Malian singer Inna Modja.

Partners