Major Principles for a Harmonised Strategy in the Context of the GGWSSI Implementation

Edit 14 September 2012

The Regional harmonised Strategy for the implementation of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) has received a technical validation during the Expert Meeting held in Banjul (The Gambia) from 19 to 20 April 2012. The Strategy was politically adopted in September 2012 by the last African Union Summit, based on a recommendation from the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN)14th session (Decision 14/7).

Technically and politically approved, the Strategy aims to define a common framework for all GGWSSI stakeholders. This will facilitate the implementation of integrated programmes and projects.

The Strategy is divided in seven sections:

  • Concept;
  • Strategic approach;
  • Framework and implementation;
  • Resource mobilization;
  • Capacity building;
  • Communication and Visibility Initiative;
  • Monitoring and evaluation activities.

The Concept of The Great Green Wall

The GGW concept has been defined in the continuity of discussions by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the CEN-SAD Secretariat. The Initiative is considered as a set of integrated actions related to issues “affecting people livelihoods in Sahel and Sahara”. The GGW Initiative is not only a reforestation initiative, it is a programming tool for rural development. The actions related to the GGW can address sustainable natural resources management, development of rural farming systems for rural products’ production, process and market, diversification of economic activities and social inclusion of most fragile population categories.

GGW Strategic Approach

Geographical scope: The Great Green Wall defines the Saharan strip, North and South borders, as its geographical priority, including enclaves, such as Cap Verde. Priority is given to the most vulnerable regions as defined by the African Union Commission and the CEN-SAD Secretariat.

An Ambitious Vision

The GGW strengthens existing mechanism (i.e. Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, Environmental Programme of NEPAD, regional, sub-regional, and national action programmes to combat desertification) to improve their efficiency in the Sahel-Saharan regions. The Initiative facilitates the optimal use of allocated resources through synergy and coordination activities.

Overall Goal

The overall goal of the Initiative is «to improve the resilience of human and natural system in the Sahel Saharan zone against climate changes, through a sound ecosystems management, and the sustainable development of land resources, the protection of material and immaterial rural heritage and the improvement of the living conditions and livelihoods of population».

In order to achieve this goal, three strategic objectives have been defined:

  • Improving the living conditions of population;
  • Improving the state and health of ecosystems;
  • Mobilising resources (financially, technically and technologically) for the Initiative through partnerships between national and international stakeholders.

Four operational objectives will guide the formulation of national plans:

  • Influence relevant mechanism and stakeholders, in order to tackle the issue of land degradation in the Sahelo-Saharan region;
  • Create an enabling environment for seeking solutions in order to ensure access to land resources to local populations;
  • Improve the knowledge on social, economic, biophysical and cultural dynamics of arid zones;
  • mobilise and coordinate resources to increase their efficiency and impact.

Implementation Framework for the GGWSSI

In order to ensure the success of this Initiative, the Strategy points out the importance of partnership between stakeholders (at national, sub-regional and regional scales), integration of the Initiative in existing national regional and local programmes, sharing and capitalisation of lessons learnt (especially through South-to-South cooperation and Technology transfer), local participation and ownership of actions, developing a more integrated and global planning.

The Strategy defines the role and responsibilities for all stakeholders, from national scale (state, local authorities, grassroots communities) to continental and regional scales (African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Pan African Great Green Wall Agency, and technical and financial partners).

Resources Mobilisation for GGWSSI

In order to rely on national and local resources, GGWSSI related actions should be integrated in national development and natural resources management policies. That is the reason why the GGWSSI has to identify existing frameworks for resources mobilisation such as CAADP, TerrAfrica or Global Mechanism IFS.

Communication and Visibility of the Initiative

The Strategy defines communication as a key instrument to support GGWSSI implementation. It should engage and inform stakeholders in order to acquire continued political support for the Initiative. The messages should focus on land degradation as a social economic and environmental issue in Sahelo-Saharan regions and the way the Initiative addresses these issues and contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation while improving food security in the region.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Strategy includes a system of M&E with a common criteria for each GGWSSI project and programme. As a consequence, the progress made and the sharing of lessons learnt among stakeholders will be facilitated.

For more information

Read the Harmonised regional strategy for implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative of the Sahara and the Sahel (PDF, 1.11 MB).

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