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Baobab fruit, moringa oil and shea butter are just some of the products from Africa’s Sahel region that may hold the key to improving livelihoods, restoring degraded lands, and tackling climate change. To unlock this potential of the Sahel’s natural capital and give new momentum to the Great Green Wall’s land restoration ambition, a new sourcing challenge has been launched at UNCCD COP15 Green Business Forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The Sahel sourcing challenge calls on the global supply chains managers to upscale the use of sustainably produced Sahelian ingredients, such as bambara nut, baobab, moringa, gum Arabic and fonio, from the Sahel's small-scale producers as a way to create new economic opportunities for local populations. Sahel region is one of the most vulnerable places on Earth, where the temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average and where increasing desertification, drought and resource scarcity, leading to radicalization, conflict and migration. An African-led movement to inspire the world, the Great Green Wall is an epic vision to create a 8,000 km-long mosaic of projects across the continent that support land restoration, create 10 million jobs and promise a better a future. UNCCD is a key partner of the Great Green Wall Initiative, working with businesses and major corporate partners to create green jobs and transform the Sahel through market-driven, sustainable ethical supply chains. “The Great Green Wall challenge has a huge potential to help combat land degradation. By creating demand for the Sahel’s underutilized ingredients, the private sector can play a pivotal role in the creation of local economic development and the subsequent environmental and social impact that new value chains will bring,” says Nick Salter, co-founder of Aduna. Aduna, together with WhatIf Foods, Unilever, Evonik, Doehler, the World Economic Forum and the Global Shea Alliance, is among the major businesses and platforms that are working on the challenge and calling on others to follow suit and work with UNCCD and Business Fights Poverty to make the challenge a world-class success. “We're looking to be not just buyers, but to support communities. Improving livelihoods and soil fertility are in everyone's best interests,” says Scott Poynton, CEO and Founder of The Pond Foundation and WhatIf Foods Partner. Follow the Great Green Wall progress on the Web, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The UNCCD is partnering with GLOBHE on the use of innovative technology to better assess tree populations along the Great Green Wall GLOBHE is a drone service company that provides earth observations for a sustainable future, deploying drones through local operators to collect high-resolution data, which helps organizations and researchers to plan and action at the right place, at the right scale and at the right time. The joint project with UNCCD will focus on combining macro satellite data with high-resolution micro data from drones to accelerate the verification of tree species in Northern Ghana, supporting the implementation of the Great Green Wall, an African-led movement to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs by 2030. Baobab is the icon of the African landscape, revered as the tree of life that provides essential shelter, produces nutrient-dense fruits and stores water from the rainy season for the dry season. They can live up to 5000, growing to 50 meters in circumference and reach up to 30 meters high. We, at GLOBHE, are proud to be part of this unprecedented initiative with the UNCCD and its partners. By improving the understanding of tree populations, stakeholders will be in a position to accelerate the development of sustainable business models that directly benefit local communities. We love these types of initiatives that put drone technology to good use for both the people and the planet – Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm, Head of Sales & Business Development at GLOBHE image (c) MakeWaves Media
As rich in culture, music and inspired people as the Sahel itself, the UNCCD event at Expo Dubai 2020 “Spotlight on Africa | Spotlighting the Sahel: Climate-Resilient Solutions towards achieving Food Security” marked a big step toward changing the world’s perception of the region. Rather than an area hindered by civil unrest and economic turmoil, the positive narrative of the Sahel’s showcases its potential: the abundance of natural resources, infinite deposits of renewable energy and the youngest population in the world. Along with a strong momentum for positive change, Sahel faces major development challenges, including the pressing need to adapt to changing climate and create opportunities for the new generation. In his opening remarks, the UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw highlighted that the potential of the Sahel to overcome these hurdles lies in the abundant resources including vast landscapes waiting to be restored to productivity. Sahel’s natural endowments offer immense potential for economic diversification, value-chain development and livelihoods. And its population is the youngest in the world – a challenge that can be turned into an opportunity. — UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw The event at Dubai Expo placed youth, women and smallholder farmers, herders and social entrepreneurs at the center of the conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing the Sahel. It featured initiatives that are accelerating socio-economic growth and enabling shared prosperity in the Sahel, such as Great Green Wall, to find solutions to address food security and climate change in the Sahel, including in implementing the Agenda 2030. Reflecting on the progress of the Great Green Wall Initiative, the participants agreed that it has far surpassed its initial vision of planting trees, becoming a platform that translates positive thinking into actions. The restoration of 20 million hectares of land in the Sahel, creation of 350,000 jobs, training of 10 million people on sustainable ways to manage the land and water and subsequent mobilization of nearly 20 billion hectares to move forward has inspired action at the local level. Harnessing indigenous knowledge and creating diversified value chains have been emphasized as essential to supporting the future progress of the initiative. The event showcased successful green entrepreneurs, many of them young women, who are convinced that in the Sahel, all the opportunities the youth needs exist at home. From agroforestry to producing eco-friendly coffee alternatives, the Sahel is awaiting young hands to revive the land, mine its “green gold,” drive climate action and achieve zero hunger. Performances of Sahelian visual and music artists, including the Malian singer and UNCCD Land Ambassador Inna Modja, have also made the event very memorable. Inna shared what motivated her to travel along the Great Green Wall and meet with communities engaged in land restoration: “I am awed by the ambition of the project and what it can achieve. The Great Green Wall is the future. We sow the seeds in this lifetime, so that the future generations can reap the harvest.” The event was co-organized by UNCCD and the African Union in association with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Learn more: Watch the recording Land and the Sustainable Development Goals Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality Great Green Wall Accelerator
Women and climate is the focus of a new charitable non-fungible token (NFT) art drop, launched 21 January on the margins of the World Economic Forum’s digital edition of Davos. It will land on the pioneering marketplace SuperRare, featuring digital artwork inspired by the interlinked challenges of gender equality and climate justice. This carbon-net negative event is a collaboration between the climate tech non-profit Code Green co-founded by UNCCD Land Ambassador Inna Modja and the World of Women NFT collection that unites female artists to celebrate women’s diversity and power. Inna says she was inspired to create this auction by her experience traveling along the Great Green Wall — an African-led initiative growing an 8000-km green corridor across the continent to improve the lives of millions of women on the frontline of climate change. "Being from Mali, I have seen with my own eyes that women and girls disproportionately bear the brunt of the global climate emergency. They are the main stewards of natural resources like land, making up 80 per cent of the agricultural workforce. Through absolutely no fault of their own, climate change is destroying their livelihoods and sparking widespread food insecurity, mass migration and conflict. The Great Green Wall is a powerful solution that can help empower women to take charge of their own destinies." — Inna Modja Inna contributed some of her own artwork to the Women and Climate charitable NFT drop that will channel 70 per cent of all proceeds to women-led land restoration solutions along the Great Green Wall. Image: Twin Mamas by Inna Modja Read more: Great Green Wall initiative Land and gender UNCCD Land Ambassadors NFT community supports climate action, sustainably
As the COP26 closes with a call for more ambitious and measurable climate actions by governments, activists around the world are ramping up their efforts to continue work outside the conference halls. Our Land Ambassador, a Malian-French singer and songwriter Inna Modja, in her recent interview with CNN presented the CodeGreen, a new coalition of artists and coders who want to use non-fungible token (NFT) auctions to raise money for climate projects. Inna, who is a co-founder of CodeGreen, discussed its potential to mobilize funds for projects along the Great Green Wall. In the Sahel, where 80 per cent of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihood, the Great Green Wall goes beyond growing trees to create opportunities for vulnerable populations, especially, for youth and women. The first CodeGreen is planned for the World Economic Forum in Davos. Watch the interview here
Communities all over the world have suffered some of the most brutal effects of drought and flooding this year. Flash floods in western Europe, eastern and central Asia and southern African. And catastrophic drought in Australia, southern Africa, southern Asia, much of Latin America, western North America and Siberia are cases in point. The impacts extend well beyond the individual events. For example, the rise in food insecurity in the southern African region and unprecedented wildfires in North America, Europe and Central Asia. What is going on? This is much more than bad weather in some cases, and is increasingly so. The UNCCD organized an event at COP26, the Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, to focus attention on the land-water-climate nexus. The science and policy responses discussed make it clear that human decisions exacerbated by climate change are significantly – and arguably, catastrophically – amplifying the impact of drought and floods. The discussion encouraged more strategic land use decisions. Decisions that ensure what we do where, and in particular, what we plant where, mitigatesthe impacts of both extremes, be it too much or too little rainfall. It also shed light on how important it is to have healthy soils. Soils that are replete with organic matter will obtain “more crop per drop”, and reduce the risks associated with drought and flooding. Extreme events, including both droughts and floods are on the rise. With more land projected to be get drier and more and more people living in drylandsin the future, the discussions centered on the shift more than 60 countries are making from “reactive” response to droughts and floods to “proactive” planning and risk management designed to build resilience. Participants from Malawi, Pakistan, Honduras, Grenada and Burkina Faso provided concrete examples of policy alignment and cross-sectorial approaches to implementation. Here is a quick overview of the highlights. Read more: Land and drought