Climate – Green wall construction in Africa is progressing slowly – Wikipedia

Cape Town / Abidjan (dpa) – It is an ambitious agricultural project in the fight against the spread of deserts and soil degradation: the so-called Green Wall stretches over 8000 km from Senegal in the west through the entire Sahel region to Djibouti in the east of the continent.

About 100 million hectares of degraded land – nearly three times the size of Germany – will be fertile and cultivated again by 2030. This will benefit more than 230 million people in the area. The green wall was also a major topic at the World Soil Congress in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), which ran until Friday.

The green wall is supposed to solve many problems

The project is about much more than just planting trees. The Green Wall aims to help combat climate change, drought, famine, conflict, migration and land degradation. The African Union, which launched the ambitious project in 2007, reported that the new plants could capture 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs. Safe income is one of the most important measures to combat the causes of flight in the region.

The last interim report published two years ago on behalf of the United Nations made it clear that there is still much to be done by 2030: Depending on the department, the project has only achieved 4 to 20 percent of its goals since it was official. Launched. In 15 years, only 15 million hectares have been greened.

there is no money

In addition, there are funding gaps, according to an article in Nature in early May. While the target of African governments and international donors is $30 billion (€28.5 billion), only $19 billion has been achieved so far. Also, conflicts in the region, such as in Mali and Burkina Faso, make the project more difficult to implement.

Critics also complain that in order for the green wall to succeed as quickly as possible, fast-growing trees and other plants are often used. But as an ecosystem, it won’t have nearly the same benefits as natural forests.

Fighting the desert for the question of existence

According to the “SOS Sahel” organization, about 90 percent of the population of the region earn their livelihood from agriculture. It is estimated that the population will increase to about 500 million people by 2050. For them, fighting the desert is a matter of existence. At the discussion on Wednesday in Abidjan, the importance of working with affected people was repeatedly emphasized.

Desertification is increasing in the Sahel, which borders the Sahara to the north, due to deforestation, erosion, salinization and depletion of water resources. According to the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the desert has grown by ten percent over the past 100 years. According to the United Nations Drought Report presented last week, Africa accounted for nearly 45 percent of all droughts worldwide over the past 100 years.

“Mass planting of trees is somewhat short-sighted”

Reforestation in the Sahel is a “huge challenge,” says Lindsey Cope, a spokeswoman for the US organization Trees for the Future, which is working with the African Union to lead green wall projects in Senegal, Chad, Mali and Gambia. It’s not just about planting trees en masse, it’s also about making sure the trees survive. This requires public commitment. “Mass planting of trees is a bit short-sighted. You need people to take care of these trees, making sure they are watered, and not a herd of animals coming to destroy the young trees.”

One should not imagine the green wall as an actual fortress of plants – even if it was originally intended as such. Instead, the project is a comprehensive rural development initiative that seeks to create a patchwork of productive landscapes. However, countries like Senegal or Ethiopia, where the government organizes an annual planting campaign of millions of trees, have made good progress.

Farmers are trained

Trees for the Future has been training local farmers to grow “forest gardens” for nearly ten years. A variety of drought-tolerant crops are grown in the fields, surrounded by a “living fence” of shrubs and trees that protect against soil erosion and livestock grazing. Moving away from monoculture towards a self-sustaining ecosystem. According to Cobb, farmers also receive training in water management, compost use, and natural pest control.

In ten years, Trees for the Future has helped nearly 50,000 farmers in the four countries plant nearly 34 million trees – all of which contribute to the Green Wall. “We’re seeing a 400 percent improvement in their income and a 700 percent improvement in their diet,” Cobb says.

One such farmer is the Senegalese Saliou Seck. “Before, I only knew how to grow millet and peanuts,” he says. But then Seck learned how to create a forest garden. Since he expanded his cultivation to include sugar cane, papaya, mango, tomato, okra, chili, eggplant, moringa, cassava, and banana, he has been earning a steady income.

Support from Germany

There is also support from Germany in the fight against the spread of the desert: The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is involved in several projects on behalf of the federal government working on reforestation and desertification – including in Ethiopia, Senegal, Niger and in Ghana, says a spokeswoman. In Ethiopia, for example, tree nurseries are set up alongside village communities and local drought-tolerant tree species are planted.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220519-99-347613 / 3

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