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African Leaders Tackle Desertification to Counter Poverty, Insecurity
The African Union is holding the first ever international conference on the Great Green Wall in Dakar this week. The goal is to map out a strategy to stop desertification in the Sahel-Sahara region, which experts say is driving poverty and insecurity.
At the climate change summit in Paris in December, world leaders pledged $4 billion over the next five years for the restoration of Africa’s landscapes. That included support for the so-called Great Green Wall initiative. Now, delegates from 20 countries north and south of the Sahara are meeting with experts and grassroots organizations in Dakar to discuss the way forward.
Speaking Tuesday at the opening of the conference, Senegal Minister of Environment Abdoulaye Bibi Balde explained the idea behind the Great Green Wall strategy.
He said the Great Green Wall is about much more than simply building a band of greenery. He said it is a strategy to increase the value of the Sahara-Sahel zone through better land use.
The Great Green Wall concept was first proposed in 2005. It was then championed by former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade.