African leaders agreed on concrete actions for land restoration towards sustainable development

News on the issues

At the 1st Africa Action Summit which was held on 16 November on the margins of the Climate Change meeting in Marrakesh (UNFCCC COP22), the African Heads of States agreed to speed up the implementation of initiatives that are critical to their countries’ development. These initiatives include the actions focused on a large-scale land restoration and rehabilitation such as the newly launched Security, Stability and Sustainability (3S) Initiative; the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative; and the Adaptation of African Agriculture (3A).

The Security, Stability and Sustainability (3S) Initiative was adopted at the ministerial meeting held on 14 November led by the Senegalese Presidency of NEPAD and the UNFCCC COP22 Moroccan Presidency.  The Initiative aims to forge a new approach to addressing the root causes of emerging threats to the “3S” of Africa by preventing climate change risks becoming disasters; creating wealth by restoring land and livelihoods; and building resilience among people and communities.  (Read the 3S brochure)

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative is a major African-led initiative with the bold ambition to restore the productivity and vitality of the Sahel region, whilst ‘growing solutions’ to the Continent’s most urgent development challenges. The UNCCD, through its operational arm Global Mechanism, supports the initiative by the FLEUVE (Front Local Environnemental pour une Union Verte) project in order to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders at local level, including civil society organizations, the private sector and local authorities, to help increase investments for sustainable land management and create employment opportunities or ‘green jobs’ for local people.

The Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) was launched in April this year by the initiative of Morocco to reduce the vulnerability of Africa and its agriculture to climate change. It promotes and fosters the implementation of specific projects to improve soil management, agricultural water control, climate risk management and capacity building & funding solutions.

At the African Action Summit, the French President François Hollande expressed his country’s support to achieve land degradation neutrality by its association with the LDN Fund [view the speech of the president of France (external link)]. The LDN Fund is a collaborative initiative between the UNCCD and Mirova with partners such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).  Its aim is to support affected countries restore degraded lands and prevent further degradation of fertile land. At the partnership signing ceremony of the LDN Fund, which took place on 14 November in Marrakesh, Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said "In an African sub-region alone, more than 30 million people were food insecure because of the drought this year. If we do not act urgently to meet the adaptation needs of agriculture in Africa, especially smallholders, the region will not be able to meet more than 13% of the demand for food by 2050. I am pleased to announce that the launch of the LDN Fund is on track. In addition to large-scale financing of transformation projects, it will enable smallholder farmers in Africa to benefit from the resources needed to preserve their land and sustainably exploit it.”