The Great Green Wall in the Sahel, the world’s most ambitious human challenge – Inna Modja‘s journey from Senegal to Ethiopia
Great Green Wall, a project to build 8,000 km of trees and plantations in the 11 countries that make up the Sahel – Fight Against Climate Change
Inna Modja‘s journey from Senegal to Ethiopia, tracing the path of the Great Green Wall project, is a powerful and symbolic initiative. The Great Green Wall is a remarkable project aimed at combatting desertification, land degradation, and climate change in the Sahel region by planting a contiguous line of trees and vegetation across multiple countries.
The Sahel region, which spans across West and East Africa, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including droughts and desertification. The Great Green Wall project seeks to restore degraded lands, enhance biodiversity, and provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
Inna Modja‘s journey not only highlights the environmental goals of the project but also emphasizes the cultural and human aspect of the Sahel region. Desert blues, the musical genre that originated from this area, resonates with the challenges faced by the people living there and the need for sustainable solutions.
By bringing attention to the Great Green Wall project through her journey, Inna Modja helps raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and collaboration on a regional scale. Such initiatives not only showcase the impact of climate change but also inspire individuals, communities, and governments to work together to address these challenges and create a more resilient future for the Sahel and beyond.
The Great Green Wall project
The Great Green Wall project is an ambitious initiative to combat desertification, land degradation and the effects of climate change in the Sahel region of Africa. This region stretches across several countries in West and East Africa, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
The Great Green Wall takes its name from the idea of creating a continuous green belt of vegetation, mainly trees and shrubs, across the Sahel region. The aim is to combat desertification, prevent soil erosion, improve soil quality and create a natural shield against the effects of climate change, such as drought and sandstorms.
The main components and objectives of the Great Green Wall include:
Reforestation and land restoration: Planting native trees and appropriate plant species to rehabilitate degraded land and increase vegetation cover. This stabilizes soils, prevents erosion and improves fertility.
Enhanced biodiversity: The creation of this green belt promotes the restoration of natural ecosystems and encourages the return of native flora and fauna.
Strengthening livelihoods: By planting fruit trees, medicinal plants and other useful crops, the project aims to improve the livelihoods of local communities by providing new sources of food and income.
Poverty alleviation: The project aims to improve the living conditions of local populations by creating jobs in planting, land management and conservation activities.
Mitigating the effects of climate change: The vegetation planted as part of this project contributes to the capture of atmospheric carbon, thus helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The Great Green Wall is a multi-dimensional initiative requiring cooperation between the countries of the region, local communities, international organizations and development partners. The project combines the preservation of the environment with the improvement of living conditions for local populations, while offering sustainable benefits for the environment and society.
The most ambitious human challenge
It’s the most ambitious human challenge on the planet: tackling desertification in the Sahel. The Great Green Wall aims to restore the land, create jobs and generate income for the 135 million people in eleven African countries it crosses (see infographic). The initiative, launched by the African Union in 2007, covers a strip 8,000 km long and 15 km wide, from the Atlantic coast of West Africa to the Red Sea in the east. This is the region of the world most affected by land degradation and extreme poverty, linked to severe and recurrent droughts.
The balance sheet is alarming: only 4%
The balance sheet is alarming: only 4% of the land in the area concerned has been restored in twenty years, according to a United Nations report (available in French here), published in September. On the ground, the signs are more encouraging: 20 million hectares replanted and irrigated, more than 350,000 jobs created and around 90 million dollars (74 million euros) generated over the 2007-2018 period. The first green stones of the Great Wall have already helped to reduce rural poverty thanks to sustainable agro-pastoral and forestry products.
Lack of Money
Lack of money, above all. Despite unfailing financial support from Ireland, a country involved from the outset, the various Great Wall projects have received only $870 million in foreign funding over the decade 2000-2020. The eleven African countries declared that they had injected 53 million themselves.
To achieve the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land by 2030, the initiative’s member states need to restore 8.2 million hectares per year. An annual budget of 4.3 billion dollars would be required, according to estimates by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Once completed, the wall will be the largest living structure on the planet: a marvel that will trap a maximum of carbon dioxide: 300 million tonnes by 2030 if the 30% target for restored land is met.
The Green Wall
Produce by Afrique Cinema 2020
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