The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Qu Dongyu, has appealed for an urgent scale-up of Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative to restore degraded land, create jobs and address climate change.
Dongyu spoke in a virtual address to the Great Green Wall investment forum held at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity 2021 hosted by French President, Emmanuel Macron, according to a statement.
He emphasised FAO’s commitment to the Great Green Wall Initiative, stating that the UN had worked with local communities in the Sahel region on a comprehensive approach towards land restoration by providing plant science and mechanisation of traditional agricultural methods to transform agri-food systems and landscapes.
“Over the last five years, we applied this approach in over 400 communities, thereby helping to restore over 50,000 hectares of degraded lands to the benefit of close to one million people,” he said.
Endorsed by the African Union in 2007, the Great Green Wall is Africa’s flagship initiative to combat climate change and desertification and address food insecurity and poverty with the goal of restoring 100 million hectares by 2030.
FAO said it had played a leading role implementing projects linked to the initiative.
According to the DG, FAO currently has a project portfolio of $238m directly supporting the five Pillars of the Great Green Wall Accelerator and a total project portfolio of over $1.15bn supporting 11 Great Green Wall countries.
He stressed the need for greater collaboration between international organisations, national authorities, the private sector and local communities to promote innovation in policy, technology and business models that would support projects on the ground.