AU, FAO sign agreement on combating land degradation, desertification and drought

The African Union (AU) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have signed an agreement to further strengthen their partnership in support of the Great Green Wall initiative, Africa's flagship initiative to combat land degradation, desertification and drought.

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According to the agreement, FAO will support the pan-African bloc through a special hub that will provide assistance in coordination, monitoring and evaluation, capacity development, resource mobilization and knowledge management for the implementation of Action Against Desertification, a new project in support of the Great Green Wall initiative, said an AU statement on Tuesday.

A local resident is seen with his cattle in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya's Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)
A local resident is seen with his cattle in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya’s Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, and Patrick Kormawa, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to AUC, inked the agreement on Friday at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

“Ever since African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative in 2007, FAO has been at the forefront of the fight against desertification,” said the AU commissioner.
The FAO official said, “The African Union’s leadership has enabled this formidable alliance to which we have set out to contribute with an ambitious agenda of large scale restoration and sustainable land management across the Sahel and Sahara.”

Action Against Desertification is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to promote sustainable land management and restore dry lands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, implemented by FAO and partners with funding from the European Union in the framework of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

Plans for large-scale restoration efforts in West Africa are currently being drawn up by restoration experts from several African countries, using plant-base solutions to increase land productivity, food security, support livelihoods and income generation for communities and to help mitigate and adapt to future environmental shocks and climate change.

Central to these plans is the restoration approach, which puts communities at the heart of restoration efforts and starts with consulting the communities in order to identify their needs for useful plant species and preferences for restoration in support of their livelihoods.

Scaling up this approach is core to the Great Green Wall vision of building on best practices, which in the case of restoration has already been rolled-out in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where 120 communities have used over two million seeds and seedlings of fifty native species to restore over 2500 hectares of land benefitting some 50 000 people, mentioned the statement. Enditem

Source:Xinhua

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