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Speeches & Transcripts November 1, 2021

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at COP26 on the Great Green Wall (GGW) Initiative

President Macron, President Buhari, Your Royal Highness Prince Charles, President Ould Ghazouani, Excellencies.

I am pleased to join you all today to discuss the challenges facing the countries and people of the Sahel, and the importance of the Great Green Wall to the climate agenda and fragility.

It’s a critical time for Great Green Wall countries, as economies and livelihoods are impacted by COVID-19 and simultaneously by nature loss and climate change.

If no action is taken, climate change could force up to 86 million Africans to migrate within their own countries by 2050. Niger alone could have over 19 million internal climate migrants. Currently, 264 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are food insecure.

Climate induced migration will make an already dire situation worse.

At the same time, countries are dealing with an unprecedented rate of nature loss and land degradation.  These hurt the poorest countries and communities the most.

To reverse nature loss and restore degraded lands and ecosystems, it will be critical to incorporate nature-based solutions into climate action.

Recent World Bank research estimates that even a partial collapse of ecosystems would cost Sub-Saharan Africa nearly 10% of their GDP by 2030.

The One Planet Summit, convened earlier this year, reemphasized the importance of the “Great Green Wall initiative.”

The World Bank committed $5.6 billion through ongoing and new projects in the 11 countries of the Great Green Wall. This includes over 60 projects to be implemented between 2020 and 2025 in Great Green Wall areas.

We’re already implementing projects totaling over $4 billion.

We’re collaborating with partners and countries to crowdsource knowledge and strengthen dialogue, and to leverage innovative financing.

The World Bank’s Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP), which began in 2012, has helped countries to restore 1.6 million hectares threatened by aridity and desertification. 19 million people have benefited from the program.

In Nigeria, a project that strengthened the country’s preparedness helped 2.6 million people fight erosion and respond to natural hazards, climate risks and natural disasters. The project pioneered the issuance of Africa’s First Sovereign Green Bonds, which created 20,000 direct and 32,000 indirect jobs.    

One of our new projects in Burkina Faso will bring 150,000 hectares of land under sustainable landscape management practices, increase monetary benefits from forest products for about 1.5 million people, and generate about 10 million certified carbon credits.

The Sahel remains a priority for the World Bank. As part of our Climate Change Action Plan, we have launched a series of analytical work in the Sahel G5 countries that will integrate climate and development.

The World Bank’s investment in the Great Green Wall will contribute to the resilience of this important region and help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

We’re committed to partnering with all of you here today to continue to work for a green, resilient, and inclusive future for countries of the Sahel.

Thank you.