Countries in Eastern Africa have committed to restore over 3 000 hectares of degraded land this year. The pledge was made in Khartoum where experts and partners of countries supporting Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative discussed ways to boost land restoration in 2019.
The experts convened at a meeting from 3-7 March 2019, organised by FAO’s twin land restoration projects – the successful Action Against Desertification (AAD) programme and BRIDGES, recently launched under FAO’s partnership with Turkey to support Eritrea, Mauritania and Sudan in restoring a total of 5 000 hectares of degraded land in the next three years.
“BRIDGES will help us to improve livelihoods, food security and mitigate youth migration through large scale restoration of degraded lands,” said Aboud Gabir, Sudan’s State Minister and Secretary of the National Council for the Environment, adding that environmental challenges, aggravated by climate change, are hindering Sudan to become a food secure nation.
FAO’s Representative in Sudan, Babagana Ahmadu, said that land restoration is key to meet sustainable development goals and to secure food, water and energy resources in Eastern Africa. “FAO, through AAD and BRIDGES, will continue to fight against drought, food insecurity and famine through sustainable land management and restoration activities,” he asserted.
“Thousands of hectares of productive lands are lost every year due to desertification,“ said Moctar Sacande, International Project Coordinator of AAD and BRIDGES. “AAD’s successful restoration method can help to rehabilitate the land of some of the world’s poorest people, including Eastern Africa’s pastoral communities and to improve livelihoods by developing wood and non-timber forest products.”
During the meeting, over fifty experts analysed detailed and critical evaluations of restoration activities, as well as proposals for future improvement and further expansion of the Great Green Wall. At the same time, they debated restoration plans for 2019.
Djibouti said it plans to restore 100 hectares of degraded land this year, while Sudan announced its plans to restore over 4 000 hectares, of which 750 hectares will be planted to initiate restoration in Wad-Elhalaw locality of South Kordofan, home to over 125 000 people.
Eritrea said it sets out to restore over 1000 hectares of degraded land, of which 300 hectares in the localities of Maimene, Hagaz and Laelay Gash, benefiting some 530 households.
Ethiopia committed to restore 1 500 hectares of degraded land in addition to its on-going restoration work on 500 hectares in the Amhara and Tigray regions.
Moreover, the Kenyan Genetic Resources Research Institute, an AAD partner operating under the National Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, will provide critical support to countries by supplying quality seeds of well-adapted species suitable to the drylands of Eastern Africa.
About AAD and BRIDGES
Action Against Desertification (AAD) is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) in support of the Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative and UNCCD national action programmes. It promotes sustainable land management and restoration of degraded land in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. AAD is implemented by FAO and partners with funding from the European Union.
BRIDGES – short for Boosting Restoration, Income, Development, Generating Ecosystem Services –is a three-year partnership project between Turkey and FAO, supporting land restoration in arid and semi-arid areas of Eritrea, Mauritania and the Sudan. BRIDGES is co-funded by the Action Against Desertification programme.