17 November 2016 – At the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 22) under way in Marrakech, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participated in the launch of a ground breaking map of restoration opportunities to combat climate change in Africa, an area being called the ‘Great Green Wall.’
The map is based on a collection and analysis of land-use information in Africa’s drylands in order to improve resilience to climate change.
“The Great Green Wall initiative is Africa’s flagship programme to combat the effects of climate change and desertification,” said Eduardo Mansur, Director of the FAO’s Land and Water Division, as he presented the map yesterday during a high-level event at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
During the event, held at the African Union Pavilion on the theme ‘Resilient Landscapes in Africa’s Drylands: Seizing Opportunities and Deepening Commitments,’ Mr. Mansur explained that so far, the Great Green Wall initiative has shown that degraded lands can be restored, but “these achievements pale in comparison with what is needed.”
According to Mr. Mansur, the tools used to create the map are vital in providing critical information to understand the true nature of restoration needs throughout drylands in North Africa, the Sahel region, and the Horn of Africa.
Through the Global Drylands Assessment, a study conducted by FAO and its partners from 2015-2016, an estimated 166 million hectares of the Great Green Wall area offer opportunities for restoration projects.