The Great Green Wall snakes the Sahel region from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East. Several milestones have been reached across the continent, with some countries being more successful than others.
While some countries started the implementation of the Great Green Wall activities as early as 2008, others joined as late as 2014, when the declaration was ratified. The 11 countries selected as intervention zones for the Great Green Wall are Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.
The total area of the Great Green Wall initiative extends to 156 million hectares, with the largest areas located in Niger, Mali, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Since its launch in 2007, a lot of progress has been made in restoring the fertility of Sahelian lands. These include:
Burkina Faso aims to increase its resilience to climate change and enhance land restoration. Activities undertaken here will minimize erosion and maintain soil fertility while increasing the sustainable use of non-timber products, as well as promote revenue-generating activities for women to ensure food security for households. Key results in Burkina Faso include:
- 16.6 million plants and seedlings produced
- 20,383 hectares of reforested lands
- 29,602 hectares of land restored
- 12,500 hectares Assisted Natural Regeneration of forests
- approximately 2,800 km of windbreaks
- 26,869 people trained on food and energy security as well as maintenance of biodiversity
- 45,383 jobs created
- 19,913kg of seeds produced (30 woody and 13 herbaceous species)
The Ethiopian GGW activity area extends from Sudan in the northwest to Djibouti crossing the lowlands of the northeast of the country and covers 58 woredas (equivalent administrative units of districts) in three national regional states. The GGW activities were implemented in 58 woredas as part of the government's regular natural resource management program. Results in Ethiopia include:
- More than 5 billion plants and seeds produced
- 151,448 hectares of reforested lands restored
- 792,711 hectares of terraces restored
- 240 hectares of multi-purpose gardens restored
- 91 km of windbreaks
- 236,551 hectares of Assisted Natural Regeneration of forests
- 893,706 hectares watershed management and forest
- 62,759 people trained in food and energy security as well as biodiversity maintenance
- 218,405 jobs created
- 1 million hectares of land restored in total
In Nigeria, the Great Green Wall Initiative is working to prevent or reverse the degradation of ecosystems while improving the living conditions of communities by enhancing the provision of ecosystem services. One of the key components of Nigeria’s Great Green Wall program is the establishment of a 1,359 km contiguous shelterbelt from Kebbi State in the northwest to Borno State in the northeast, which serves as a windbreak. Key results in Nigeria include:
- 7.6 million plants and seedlings produced
- 2,801 hectares of reforested lands created
- 373 hectares of multipurpose gardens created
- 709km of windbreaks
- 1,205 people trained in food and energy security as well as in biodiversity maintenance
- 1,396 jobs created
The route of the Great Green Wall in Senegal spans 545km, covering 817,500 hectares.
This area is dominated by pastoral activity with extensive breeding and agricultural activity. The overall area covers three administrative regions (Tambacounda, Matam, and Louga), five departments, and 16 municipalities. Great Green Wall activities have been carried out since 2008 and are mainly focused on the restoration and development of agroforestry initiatives.
In Senegal, the aim is to restore the foundations of food and energy security and maintain biodiversity while creating green jobs. Results in Senegal Include:
- 72,452 hectares reforested
- 13,2050km of windbreaks created
- 33,500 hectares of Assisted Natural Regeneration of forests
- 119,202 hectares restored area
- 2,120 people trained in food and energy security as well as in biodiversity maintenance
- 322,221 residents affected by these activities
- 850,000 hectares of land restored in total
The Great Green Wall Initiative in Sudan covers an area of 22,800 km2, stretching 1,520km in length (and 15km wide) from the west to the east of the country. Sudan faces multiple environmental and political challenges, including desertification and land degradation, water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss, as well as governance and security issues. Key results so far in Sudan include:
- 1.9 million plants and seedlings produced
- 85,000 hectares of land restored
- 2,500 hectares of Assisted Natural Regeneration of forests
- 1,716 residents trained in food and energy security as well as in biodiversity maintenance
In 2014, with the financing of the European Commission, UNCCD’s Global Mechanism (GM) set up a flagship initiative under the Great Green Wall called The Local Environmental Coalition for a Green Union (FLEUVE), which was completed in 2019.
Activities under the FLEUVE umbrella strengthened the capacities of local communities to help boost investment in land restoration and ultimately create green jobs. The project was driven by local people to strengthen community resilience to land degradation, drought, and climate variability.
Micro-investment projects were also implemented 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.
Working with the private sector, the GM supported the development of sustainable value chains to purchase dryland products in the Sahel. This led to the creation of land-based jobs for thousands of rural women in the Sahel.
The Global Mechanism is also implementing a EUR 1.2 million grant from the Irish Government in support of the Great Green Wall. This work is based on two areas:
- The creation of a State of the Great Green Wall Landmark Report, which will provide a big picture overview to assess the state of the Great Green Wall, a decade after it was launched
- The development of a portfolio of transformative projects along the Great Green Wall for future donor funding