A new African initiative to combat desertification and strengthen resilience to climate change


Photo credit: GEF

CEO Naoko Ishii expressed GEF support for the initiative as a founding member

African drylands initiative launched at TICAD summit

A new African initiative to combat desertification and strengthen resilience to climate change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa was launched at TICAD VI in Nairobi last month. On the margins of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), the GEF joined the  the governments of Kenya and Senegal, together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to announce a new effort to confront the challenges of Africa’s drylands.

Speaking at the launch, GEF CEO Naoko Ishii said, “There are already a wide range of opportunities, frameworks, and ideas proposed for addressing resilience in the drylands, but translating these into tangible actions will not happen without a coordinated approach by all stakeholders, and alignment of resources and financing opportunities.” The new African initiative aims to promote measures for combating desertification by the countries in the region and supports efforts of development partners through knowledge-sharing and improving access to finance. The initiative will also seek to harmonize ongoing efforts by partner countries and organizations for effectively addressing the regions desertification challenges.

In the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, much of the land, consisting of desert and drylands, is estimated to be degraded. However, drylands are home to millions of people whose livelihoods are intertwined with the natural environment. In many countries, they are considered “bread baskets” because of their importance for production of major staple foods. But droughts have affected people’s livelihoods in the region in recent years, with the added impact of climate change making droughts more frequent and their effects more profound and severe.

Read the full article: GEF

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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