Stakeholders Move To Integrate Biodiversity Into Great Green Wall Project

By Innocent Onoh

Plans are underway towards integrating biodiversity conservation and protection into the activities of the Great Green Wall, GGW, project.

This was made known at a news conference , heralding the
workshop to discuss modalities for achieving the proposed plan.

According to a release by the Head of Communications, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, Mr. Oladapo Soneye , the process of integrating biodiversity in the actions of the GGW is being spearheaded by  the national agencies and civil society organizations partners of BirdLife  International, under the aegis of the Pan-African Agency of the GGW.

The workshop with the theme: “ Make the Sahel Greater and Greener for Nature & People” was held Monday, 13th June 2022 in Abuja.

Participants included Mr. Jean-Baptiste Deffontaines, Head of WA Subregion office, BirdLife; Mr. Gora Diop,DG of NAGGW, Senegal; Mr. Ahamat Wahamat Haggar, DG of NAGGW, Chad; Dr. Sawsan Mustafa,DG of NAGGW, Sudan; Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, DG of NCF and
Dr. Yusuf Maina-Bukur, DG of NAGGW, Nigeria.

As the name implies, the GGW project involves creating a wall of trees along desert frontline areas within the Sahara and Sahel regions. It passes through ten desert prone states in northern Nigeria.

“The Great Green Wall Initiative for the Sahara and Sahel programme was initiated and adopted by the Head of Governments and States of the African Union in 2005 to address the issues of desertification, land degradation, bio-diversity loss, promote climate change resilience by ecosystems and communities, and improve food security in the about twenty-one countries of the Sahel region in Africa” says a document by the Global Legislators Organisation

It explains that “the initiative does not literally mean to “build a green wall” but is really about “Sustainable Land Management and restoration program adapted to the development priorities of the countries involved.

“As part of its commitment to contribute to the African Union’s Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel Region Initiative, Nigeria in 2015, through an Act of Parliament, set up the National Agency for the Great Green Wall, NAGGW.

This agency typifies Nigeria’s coordinated effort to address issues of land degradation, desertification, ensure ecosystem management and restoration, protect the country’s natural capital, provide sustainable development of land resources, and ultimately ensure that the country’s ecosystem is prepared to withstand the travails of climate change.

“The mission of the NAGGW is to halt and reverse land degradation, prevent depletion of biological diversity, ensure that by 2025, ecosystems are resilient to climate change and continue to provide essential services that would contribute to human welfare and poverty eradication.

The GGW initiative focuses on the areas around the Sahel and Sahara, Nigeria’s focus is primarily on the following states which are affected by desertification and by implication affecting the livelihood of over 50million people.

“Areas like Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Yobe constitute about 35% of Nigeria’s total land area.

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