WASHINGTON, October 25, 2013 -- The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) is an African initiative to transform the Sahel into a stable, sustainable, resilient region through improved management of natural resources, land, water, and climate risks. Led by the African Union, Heads of State of more than 20 countries in the region endorsed the development of the initiative, recognizing that natural resources, climate change, water, agriculture, jobs and security are interconnected challenges that impact poverty.
The GGWSSI promotes greater investment in various sustainable land-use practices that can strengthen local resilience to land degradation and climate change in participating Sahelian and Saharan countries, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Bold action and investments in sustainable land and water management (SLWM) are crucial to secure multi-functional landscapes that deliver multiple benefits. Economically valuable SLWM practices, such as farmer-managed natural regeneration in pockets of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, are currently being implemented. These practices are protecting valuable soil to boost food production, increasing water availability and quality, reducing climate and disaster risks, storing carbon, bringing land back into production, and enabling job-creating natural-resource based enterprises and livelihoods. However, with less than 3% of total Sub-Saharan cropland currently benefiting from sustainable land and water management practices, there is much progress to be made.
The Great Green Wall is transformative by promoting:
- an integrated landscape approach, because one sector cannot do it alone
- a partnership approach, because one institution cannot do it alone
- a regional approach, because one country cannot do it alone
- an emphasis on African ownership
- a deeper recognition of the poverty-environment-climate nexus, and
- stronger networks for sharing experience, and inspiring change
World Bank Group Support through the Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP)
The Bank is deepening its support to Africa’s drylands to help countries find effective solutions to improving resilience, reducing poverty, achieving security, and ensuring environmental security and sustainability. The Bank partnered with 12 countries and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to develop the $1.1 billion Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in support of the GGWSSI. These countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Togo.
Six of 12 investment operations have already been approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors, and five of these projects are effective. These actions are also part of the broader Bank-UN coordinated engagement in the Sahel.
The Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) supports the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative. It is a $1.1 billion flexible investment umbrella with 12, country-led investment operations financed by the International Development Association (IDA), GEF and trust funds. SAWAP was approved by the GEF Council in 2011 and prepared under the TerrAfrica program. As of October 21, 2013, projects in six countries have been approved by the Bank Board, and six additional projects are in advanced stages of preparation.
SAWAP is reinforced by a regional hub project to facilitate south-south cooperation on knowledge and operational services among the country projects and the broader Great Green Wall partnership. This project, Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Services (BRICKS) is implemented by three regional organizations recognized as centers of excellence: the Interstate Committee to Combat Drought in the Sahel (CLISS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the West and Central Africa Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Each organization delivers specialty services to the SAWAP portfolio to enhance quality and promote regional integration.
- African ownership and leadership: SAWAP is the latest investment program to be developed under the TerrAfrica program on sustainable landscapes founded by NEPAD.
- Alignment with regional priorities: SAWAP is a first step toward implementing the Bank’s Sahel Plan for stability and development.
- Strong poverty reduction focus: Sustainable natural resource management and enhanced resilience are the cornerstones for poverty reduction in most of Africa’s drylands, including the Sahel.
- Promotion of climate resilience: SAWAP supports deeper engagement on climate change as increasingly requested by clients.
- Focus on knowledge networks: SAWAP enhances south-south knowledge sharing for development solutions.
Status of Projects in the SAWAP Portfolio
- Benin Forests and Adjacent Lands Management Project - Approved by World Bank Board on March 2013 to assist Benin’s effort to lay the foundation for a collective integrated ecosystem management system for its forests and adjacent lands
- Burkina Faso Third Community-Based Rural Development Project - Under implementation since June 2013 to enhance the capacity of rural communities and decentralized institutions for the implementation of local development plans that promote sustainable land and natural resources management and productive investments at commune level
- Chad Emergency Agriculture Production Support Project - Under implementation since January 2013 to
support rural communities and producer organizations in increasing the production of selected crops and livestock species in selected areas of Chad’s territory, and the use of sustainable land and water management practices in climate vulnerable ecosystems
- Ethiopia Sustainable Land Management Project II - Negotiated September 2013 to reduce land degradation and improve land productivity in selected watersheds in targeted regions in Ethiopia
- Ghana Sustainable Land and Water Management Project – Under preparation to demonstrate improved sustainable land and water management practices aimed at reducing land degradation and enhancing maintenance of biodiversity in selected micro-watersheds, and strengthen spatial planning for identification of linked watershed investments in the Northern Savannah region of Ghana
- Mali Natural Resources Management in a Changing Climate Project - Negotiated October 2013, to expand the adoption of sustainable land and water management practices in targeted communes in Mali
- Mauritania Agriculture Sector Support Project – Under preparation, this project is aligned with Mauritania’s Rural Sector Development and Inclusive Green Growth Strategies and partially blended with the new Mauritania Irrigation Project, and builds on lessons from the Community-Based Watershed Management Project
- Niger Third Community Action Program Support Project - Under implementation since September 2013 to strengthen Niger’s local development planning and implementation capacities, including the capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency, and to improve the access of the targeted population to social and economic services
- Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) - Under implementation since September 2013 to reduce vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted sub-watersheds
- Senegal Sustainable and Inclusive Agribusiness Project – Under implementation since September 2013 to develop inclusive commercial agriculture and sustainable land management in project areas
- Sudan Sustainable Land and Water Management Project - Under preparation to increase adoption of sustainable land and water management (SLWM) practices in targeted landscapes of selected States of Sudan
- Togo Integrated Disaster and Land Management Project - Under implementation since Sept 2012 to strengthen institutional capacity of targeted institutions to manage the risk of flooding and land degradation in targeted rural and urban areas
- Regional BRICKS (Building Resilience for Innovation, Communication, and Knowledge Services) - Approved by World Bank Board September 2013 to improve accessibility of best practices and monitoring information within the Sahel and West Africa Program portfolio on integrated management of land and land use change