The Great Green Wall that crosses the Sahel Region is, unlike today’s border walls, a wall that unites. And it could be the solution to the security and humanitarian crises in Central Sahel to be addressed at a conference on 20 October in Copenhagen.
The Government of Denmark, in partnership with the Government of Germany, the European Union and the United Nations is hosting a High-Level Humanitarian Event on Central Sahel. The event concludes on 20 October with a Ministerial Roundtable aimed at addressing the security and humanitarian situation.
In Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, several complex and fast-growing crises are developing with unprecedented levels of armed violence, hunger, poverty and violations of women’s reproductive rights. Climate change exacerbates these already severe vulnerabilities. The region is warming at a rate one and a half times faster than the global average with unpredictable rain patterns and frequent floods challenging farmers and herders.
While a report, issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs calls for lasting solutions to the humanitarian crises in the countries, the seeds for a sustainable response have already been planted.
The Great Green Wall (GGW) is an African-led project that aims to grow trees and increase fertile land across the Sahel Region, including Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The Wall is a compelling solution to urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration. Unlike today’s border walls, the GGW is a wall that unites.
More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences.
A decade in and roughly 15% underway, GGW is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path. And once complete, the GGW will be the largest living structure on the planet, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, about 120 communities are involved, and a green belt has been created over more than 2,500 hectares of degraded areas and drylands with more than two million seeds and seedlings planted from fifty native species of trees. The GGW, however, remains challenged by insufficient, unpredictable and insecure funding.
The GGW has gained increasing attention as a flagship programme to combat land degradation, desertification, drought, climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, conflict and food insecurity, helping to achieve 15 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Wall has the potential to serve as nexus for an integrated approach to the humanitarian, economic, ecological and security crises unfolding in the region, and the High-Level Ministerial Roundtable on 20 October is an opportunity to push for this agenda.