The focal point of the TerrAfrica programme at the NEPAD Agency, Mr. Ousmane Djibo, said yesterday in Rio that about 2 billion US dollars had been set aside to support the Great Green Wall project in the Sahel and West Africa, according to the Information and Communication Service (ICS) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
In a presentation at the high profile roundtable discussion on NEPAD and sustainable development at the margins of the ongoing Rio+20, Mr. Djibo said the development objective of the project is to expand sustainable land water management in targeted landscapes and climate-vulnerable areas in the Sahel and West Africa.
About 108 million US dollars of the total project sum was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in May 2011, said Mr. Djibo, adding that the twelve countries are involved are already developing their investment operations which are country-targeted, unique and multisectoral.
The investments are in the areas of natural regeneration of tree cover, integrated soil fertility, water harvesting, agroforestry, soil conservation, alternative livelihoods, watershed management and conservation corridors.
The project would also focus on knowledge generation and sharing, especially in economic analysis, natural resource monitoring, land suitability mapping, hydromet, and land degradation assessment
It will involve building institutional capacities in land use planning, resource tenure, decentralization, network farmer innovation, regulatory enforcement and environmental impact assessment.
Land degradation affects almost 500 million people and two-thirds of productive land. Africa has 17% the world's forests but half its deforestation, driven by agricultural expansion.
In response to a question by the representative of Angola, Mr Djibo said that countries interested in partnering with NEPAD Agency on TerrAfrica and any of its other priority areas should simply indicate their desire in writing to the NEPAD Agency which would immediately dispatch a technical mission to the requesting country for necessary gap analysis and needs assessment.
ECA is a strategic partner of the NEPAD Agency and assists in the implementation of NEPAD programme through direct technical support, analytical work, advisory services and knowledge management.