The Global Land Outlook: West Africa Thematic Report: Land Degradation Neutrality: Benefits for Human Security

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UNCCD Publications

Located in the arid and semi-arid areas of West Africa, the Sahel has undergone profound changes over the past 50 years. Known for the prevalence of land degradation processes, the Sahel is suffering from the combined negative effects of population growth, human activities and climate variability, resulting in recurrent droughts and the continued decline of natural resources and land productivity. While agriculture, livestock and forestry provide income and employment for more than 80% of the population, overexploitation of natural resources and unsustainable water and agro- and silvo-pastoral land management practices threaten rural livelihoods and economic development. This has direct and persistent impacts on food, water and energy security as well as amplifying social inequalities, conflicts over access to land and resources, and forced migration. While the situation in the region seems critical, solutions exist to reverse these trends.

This GLO regional thematic report analyses the challenges, constraints and assets of 7 countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Nigeria), highlighting past achievements and future opportunities to promote sustainable and inclusive development throughout the entire region. In response to land degradation trends, good practices for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) have been developed. Often implemented at the instigation of local communities, they have reduced soil erosion, restored vegetation cover, retained water for irrigation, improved agro- and silvo-pastoral production and increased the resilience of ecosystems and populations in the face of climate change.