Africa draws inspiration from China to curtail desertification

ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — China’s experience in reforestation and fighting desertification has injected lots of inspiration into Africa, which needs to curb the alarming expansion of the Sahara desert, Ethiopian experts have said.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently estimated that by 2030, Africa will lose two thirds of its arable land if the march of desertification is not stopped in time.

The Great Green Wall Initiative, which was launched by the African Union in 2007, with an overarching aim of planting a wall of trees across Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara desert, is one African-led initiative that aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes.

“African countries have to do strategic interventions and approach to combat desertification, because desertification has become overwhelming, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” Adefris Worku, an Ethiopian forestry expert, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China’s remarkable achievements in successfully restoring its lost lands as part of its massive reforestation endeavors can help African countries realize afforestation ambitions, he said.

Africa's Ambitious Great Green Wall to Become the World's Largest Living Structure
Image – Face2face Africa

According to the expert, Africa can learn from China ranging from the promotion of clean energy, climate financing, sharing of technologies, and knowledge and practices on landscape restoration.

“One of the things that we consider as an opportunity is that China has considered the issue of climate change as a very major agenda, that is really a very good and appreciated development,” Worku said, who works as forestry expert at the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission of Ethiopia.

He said that desertification in Africa is mainly caused by fuelwood collection due to lack of access to energy sources, and China can help African countries to develop clean energy mechanisms.

“Unless and otherwise Ethiopia and the rest of Africa promote the use of clean energy technologies, there is no way that we could stop forest degradation and deforestation,” he said.

Across Africa, China’s support is already propelling ongoing efforts to promote forestry and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.

In Ethiopia, China-backed satellites are helping realize the country’s aspiration of building an environmentally friendly and climate-resilient economy.

“We expect that the utilization of satellite imageries will impact the agricultural sector, including monitoring and taking the necessary measures in relation to climate change,” Abdissa Yilma, director general of the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, told Xinhua recently.

In December 2019, Ethiopia launched its first ever satellite abbreviated as ETRSS-1 with support from the Chinese government. A year later, Ethiopia launched the second Chinese-backed satellite, abbreviated as ET-Smart-RSS from China’s Wenchang spacecraft launch site.

Despite the daunting challenges, African countries have been introducing a number of ambitious initiatives to contain the rapid expansion of desertification.

Worku said that Ethiopia, as one of the signatory countries of the initiative, considered the ambitious project as “a very important and relevant strategy to combat desertification and to ensure sustainable development in the country.”

“We need China’s technologies and resources to develop the degraded landscape,” Worku said

Source: Xinhua, 06 Oct 2021

See also: CGTN , 7 Sept 2020–TAxWyJDFcs/index.html


The Great Green Wall

The Great Green Wall is one of the most inspirational and urgent movements of our times. This African-led initiative aims to grow an 8000km new world wonder across the entire width of the Continent to transform the lives of millions living on the frontline of climate change.

 The UN Convention to Combat Desertification is a key partner in the initiative.  Welcome to our ‘Growing a World Wonder’ campaign website, in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall.

A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path. 

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative supports local communities in the sustainable management of drylands. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano
The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative supports local communities in the sustainable management of drylands. Image: FAO

The Great Green Wall is the first initiative to be targeted for completion during the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which launches in June and will run through 2030 with a mission to restore degraded landscapes. “The objective is to provide a package of interventions so that the whole area can flourish, boosting food security and reducing poverty in an ecologically sustainable manner,” says Maria Sarraf,  practice manager for the environment, natural resources and the blue economy in West Africa.

The Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration. 

Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Initiative started with pilot activities spanning 15 km in the intervention area of each of the member states, with the scaling of activities to be included in the fringe between the isohyet 100 and 400 mm of average rainfall in the Sahel in eleven founding countries. Beyond its initial goals, the initiative has evolved into a comprehensive integrated ecosystem management approach that aims to restore 100 Mha of currently degraded
land, sequester 250 MtC and create 10 million green jobs (UNCCD), contributing towards the implementation the Rio Conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Today, the GGW Initiative is in its second decade and receiving increasing spotlight in the context of renewed international commitments to land restoration.


Great Green Wall

UN Convention to Combat Desertification,

See also : The Great Green Wall: Implementation Status and Way Ahead to 2030 , 7 September 2020

China to help build Africa's 'Great Green Wall'