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Two-thirds of the African continent is desert or drylands. This land is vital for agriculture and food production, however nearly three-fourths of it is estimated to be degraded. The region is affected by frequent droughts, which have been particularly severe in recent years in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.

Poverty and difficult socio-economic conditions are widespread, and as a result many people are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. For many African countries, fighting land degradation and desertification and mitigating the effects of drought are prerequisites for economic growth and social progress. Increasing sustainable land management (SLM) and building resilience to drought in Africa can have profound positive impacts that reach from the local to the global level.

The UNCCD Regional Implementation Annex for Africa outlines an approach for addressing desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) on the African continent. This Annex is the most detailed and comprehensive of all the regional annexes to the Convention.

Africa: Regional cooperation

All African countries are Parties to the UNCCD. Most African countries have developed and submitted National Action Programmes (NAPs). The preparation of NAPs is a dynamic, continuous process and the status of each country is subject to change over time.

To facilitate cooperation on issues related to land degradation, African countries have created five Sub-Regional Action Programmes (SRAPs) and a Regional Action Programme (RAP).

The current African RAP outlines were adopted at a ministerial level in 1999 and compose six thematic programme networks (TPNs) that concern:

  • Integrated water management
  • Agro-forestry
  • Soil conservation
  • Rangeland management
  • Ecological monitoring and early warning systems
  • New and renewable energy sources and technologies
  • Sustainable agricultural farming systems

Since the adoption of the UNCCD’s Ten-Year Strategy, the sub-regional entities have begun aligning their action programmes to it, particularly the North, Central and Western African programmes. The other two sub-regions have benefited from training by the UNCCD on how to align their programmes to the Strategy. It is expected that the alignment of the SRAPs to the Strategy will improve their effectiveness in achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) in the region.

After the Strategy was adopted, regional cooperation has received increasing attention within UNCCD decision-making. An important demonstration of this is decision 3/COP 9, which calls for strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of regional coordination mechanisms, with the view to facilitate cooperation among affected parties within the regions, enhance synergies among relevant institutions and organizations, and respond to existing and emerging challenges, capacities and specific issues.

Achievements since decision 3/COP 9:
  • A regional consultative committee was established in November 2012 in Algiers to guide and support regional coordination
  • A regional work programme was drafted as a practical framework for joint activities and coordination within the region
  • A regional coordination unit (RCU) for Africa, hosted by the African Development Bank in Tunis, has been strengthened
Contact Regional Liaison Office for Africa (Annex I)

212 537 666 301
Eaux et Forêts, Avenue Mohamed VI, Km 7,5
Soussi, Rabat 10170, Morocco

Mr. Cheikh Toure

  • Regional Liaison Officer
  • ctoureatunccd [dot] int (ctoure[at]unccd[dot]int)