Workshop on the fight against land degradation and the restoration of ecosystems organized in Abidjan

West African representatives from ministries of planning and finance, environment and other stakeholders gathered in Abidjan on 5-6 May 2022 for a capacity building workshop on combating land degradation and ecosystem restoration.

The workshop was a precursor to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification conference, which will be held in Abidjan from May 9-20. The two-day sessions focused on funding opportunities that have the potential to deliver transformative projects and programs to boost the Great Green Wall initiative in West Africa.

The African Development Bank’s Africa Climate Change Fund contributed to the workshop, developed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, in collaboration with several technical and financial partners.

Halting and reversing land degradation can transform land from a source of greenhouse gas emissions into a sink by increasing carbon stocks in soils and vegetation. Land degradation neutrality seeks to balance anticipated losses of terrestrial natural capital and associated ecosystem functions and services with measures that avoid and reduce land degradation and produce alternative gains through land restoration and sustainable land management approaches.

In his opening remarks, Laouali Garba, Head of Agricultural Research, Production and Sustainability at the African Development Bank said: “The Bank supports African countries in the search for solutions for the sustainable management of natural resources to build people’s resilience to adverse effects. climate change and variability.

Since the launch of the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy in 2015, more than 74 million people have benefited from access to improved agricultural technologies and sustainable land management. The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program has provided 11 million farmers in 29 African countries with proven agricultural technologies, Garba said.

“As a champion in mobilizing resources to accelerate the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative Priority Investment Plan (2021-2030), the African Development Bank welcomes this partnership with the Global Mechanism. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification,” he said.

Cathrine Mutambirwa, Land Degradation Neutrality and Land Restoration Program Coordinator at the Global Mechanism, said, “We are working with partners to improve capacity to design transformative land interventions to build resilience and improve livelihoods in Africa. rural environment. With the African Development Bank and other partners, we complement each other well to move projects forward quickly.”

Transformative land-based projects and programs can target a wide range of funding sources, combining public, private and blended financial resources, including the Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, adaptation and other multilateral and bilateral funding mechanisms. banks, such as the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.

Rita Effah, Senior Climate Finance Officer and Coordinator of the African Climate Change Fund, explained how to access funding from the African Development Bank: “The African Climate Change Fund helps regional member countries to directly access climate finance by preparing bankable projects to access climate funds and also by supporting the implementation of small-scale adaptation projects, including land restoration, to build community resilience. »

The African Development Bank, as an executing agency and accredited entity to the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Fund, co-finances projects that contribute to combating degradation land in Africa.

Moussa Nakoulima, Head of Investments, Global Partners, at the European Investment Bank, mentioned that the European Investment Bank had invested more than €10 billion in Africa in 2021.

World Bank Environment Specialist Yasmina Oodally explained how the World Bank is supporting the Great Green Wall, with future land restoration projects targeting policy and institutional reforms designed to empower local communities, especially women. . The World Bank has committed $5.6 billion to ongoing and new projects in Great Green Wall countries.

Sarah Toumi, Program Management Manager of the Great Green Wall Initiative, said, “The Pan-African Great Green Wall Initiative is a nature-based solution to the complex challenges facing humanity and a compelling symbol of what is possible if we work together. to protect and restore our planet. It is one piece of the puzzle in providing real alternatives for people to increasingly work together to stop the drivers of land degradation and increase the rehabilitation of degraded land.

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