Africa’s Great Green Wall

The Great Green Wall is one of the largest regenerative movements of our time. The African-led initiative aims to grow an 8000km corridor of trees across the width of the continent: from Senegal to Djibouti.

It all started back in the seventies, when the region of Sahel started to suffer the consequences of climate change. Severe and consistent droughts led the once tremendously fertile land, to rapid deforestation and loss of flora and fauna. All of this, added to rapid population growth and unsustainable land management practices, could only lead to a foretold catastrophe. To restore the degraded landscapes of Sahel, 11 African leaders signed up to the Great Green Wall initiative in 2007, with the objective of growing an 8000km new world wonder across Africa to transform the lives of millions living on the frontline of climate change.

Sahel is one of the most affected regions by climate change. The consistent droughts lead to lack of food, conflicts over the scarce natural resources and mass migration to Europe. Beyond the obvious environmental impact, the initial motivation behind the great green wall was to bring a solution for many urgent threats that were starting to face the African community. The movement is improving food and water security, it is estimated to create 10 million new job positions in rural areas that aim to empower women with new opportunities and stop migration from the region. This green wall is providing the region with a much needed resilience to drought and other natural disasters. All of this makes the movement a global symbol for humanity overcoming the threat of rapidly degrading environments. It is a message of hope and an example of how it is not too late to amend our path towards a better world, even for severe examples such as Sahel.

The Great Green Wall initiative contributes directly to fifteen out of the seventeen 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, as it strikes right in the heart of key global issues such as ending poverty, hunger, fighting climate change and achieving gender equality. In 2022, 21 African countries have joined the movement and just over 15% of the wall has been completed, which translates into more than 12 million trees planted in Senegal and 15 million hectares of restored land in Ethiopia. Since the beginning of the project, life has started to return to the land, food security has improved and stability in people’s life is finally being restored. The goal for 2030 is to recover a total of 100 million hectares, which will sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon. Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on Earth, tripling the size of the Great Barrier Reef!

A documentary has been made to highlight the adversities faced by Sahelians and to illustrate the Great Green Wall vision. You’ll find the trailer for the film here.

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Sustainable construction and biohabitability enthusiast

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Anna Delgove

Anna Delgove

Sustainable construction and biohabitability enthusiast

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