Archive for December, 2015

December 11, 2015

Water, Sanitation Groundbreaking Initiatives Win Top UN Climate Change Prize

Fredrick Mugira
Paris. Dec. 11, 2015. At least four out of the 16 innovative initiatives honored as winners of the prestigious United Nations climate change award at this year’s climate talks in Paris focus on water and sanitation.

They are part of the 16 game-changing initiatives from around the world that were honored at a special ceremony in Le Bourget, Paris last evening, where climate change talks have been taking place for the last two weeks.

International Jamaican artist Sean Paul (in the middle) performed during the gala event in La bouget, Paris.

International Jamaican artist Sean Paul (in the middle) performed during the gala event in Le bouget, Paris.

The winning initiative that focus on water and sanitation include the Lifelink Water Solutions which is using ICT tools to provide safe, sustainable and affordable water in Kenya and Uganda; Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heater that is working to reduce carbon emissions while securing access to safe drinking water in Kenya.

Others are the Harvesting Geothermal Energy of El Salvador which is generating income with geothermal waste-heat and E-waste From Toxic to Green based in India which is creating jobs to keep e-waste out of landfills.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the guest of honour at the gala event where the attendees were treated to powerful photos, inspirational videos and a lively musical performance by Sean Paul.

Ban said such initiatives could inspire leaders worldwide to take positive steps to reduce carbon emissions in their countries.

“These ‘Lighthouse Activities’ shine a light on the groundswell of climate action around the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “As the world moves toward a future built on low-emissions sustainable development, these bold ideas can inspire leaders to be more ambitious in their own policies and actions.”

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. This year’s winning activities range from a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first to an initiative that is enabling 40 Latin American cities to take concrete climate action.

“I am honoured to celebrate the leadership shown by the people, organizations , companies and governments recognized as winners of the 2015 Momentum for Change Awards tonight,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said.

“By showcasing these remarkable solutions and the people behind them we can strengthen efforts that must not only start with an agreement here in Paris but must continue to build, as we accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon, highly resilient development path,” she said.

Each of the 16 winning activities touches on one of Momentum for Change’s four focus areas: Urban Poor, Women for Results, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment and ICT Solutions. All 16 were showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France.

The 2015 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

December 11, 2015

AfDB Approves 22 Proposals for Climate Finance

Friday Phiri
Paris. Dec. 11, 2015. The African Development Bank approved 22 proposals under its Africa Climate Change Fund in 2014.

Kurt Lonsway, AfDB Manager for Environment and Climate Change, Kurt Lonsway made the disclosure on the eleventh day of the COP 21 in Paris when he featured on a high level discussion panel dubbed: Advancing Africa’s ‘readiness’ for climate resilient, low carbon development and green economy

Lonsway said the Bank recognizes the importance of helping African countries transition to green economic pathways amidst the negative effects of climate that most countries are grappling with.

“In 2014, with the help of the German government, we established the Climate Development Fund aimed at helping countries with adaptation and facilitating a green growth path,” said Lonsway.

He however pointed out that due to the observed high demand for funds, the bank is looking at expanding the portfolio into a trust to open up investments opportunities from international partners—a feat he said would subject countries to more rigorous processes that require readiness to access.

Despite progress to scale up climate finance globally, the amount of climate finance flowing to the African continent remains way below estimated needs—just about 4% of the total available climate financing portfolios.

James Fahn, Executive Director Earth Journalism Network speaking during a press conference organized by his organization at Paris Climate talks. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

James Fahn, Executive Director Earth Journalism Network speaking during a press conference arranged by his organization at Paris Climate talks. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

The question is therefore how to increase Africa’s access to climate finance by addressing some bottlenecks that exist, to help the continent’s transition toward climate resilient, low carbon development and green growth.

Among a few countries in Africa that recently got accredited to Green Climate Fund (GCF), is Rwanda.

Rose Mukankomeje, Director of the Rwandan Environmental Management Authority said perseverance and negotiation were key elements to the processes required for accreditation.

Quoting her former Minister of Education, Mukankomeje said: “In life, you don’t get what you deserve, but what you negotiate for”.

With this, she encouraged other African countries not to fear the processes as perception maybe different from reality, saying “If Rwanda has been accredited by the GCF; it is possible for other countries to get accredited as well.”

She nevertheless pointed out that Africa has to put in place proper measures to hold its representatives on the GCF board accountable.

And in reacting to this position, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) agrees that there has to be more accountability from those representing developing countries on the GCF board.

“Our advice to GCF board members representing developing countries is that they should put Africa’s interest first. They are there not to represent themselves but the continent’s interests”, Sam Ogallah of PACJA said.

Ogallah also advised African countries to apply for climate readiness funds adding that lack of capacity to access the funds is not entirely the fault of the GCF board.

“Why are countries not applying for the climate readiness funds? This money is there waiting to be utilized for capacity building and it is up to country focal points to wake up and do the right thing”, he added.

December 7, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: ‘Those Who Pollute More Should Do More To Save Our Planet’ – AfDB Chief

Friday Phiri
Paris, Dec. 7, 2015. A famous quote goes: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” This is the message that the African Development Bank (AfDB) is delivering on behalf of Africa at the global conference on climate change, COP21, which opened last week in Paris.

“All fingers are not equal. Those who pollute more should do more to save our planet,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina during a side event organized by multilateral development banks (MDBs) at the ongoing climate change conference.

While major climate financing pronouncements were made during the meeting, the AfDB’s message was clear: A new climate deal that does not work for Africa is no deal at all.

Climate Change activists hold placards during the conference at La Bouget in Paris.

Climate Change activists hold placards during the conference at La Bouget in Paris.

According to Adesina, the major and historic polluters must take a fair share of responsibility not only to cut their emissions, but also to help the suffering adapt to climate impacts.

The AfDB’s stance resonates with the long-standing position of the African Group of Negotiators, which has been pushing for a common but differentiated principle – demanding historic emitters to take responsibility for what they have caused not only by cutting carbon emissions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, but also to provide funding for adaptation in vulnerable countries, most of which are in Africa.

One country currently feeling the heat is Zambia. A month-long drought in the last rainy season has led to reduced water levels at the Kariba Dam located on the Zambezi River, where the Southern African country has its main hydro-power generation plant.

To keep electricity generation sustainable until water levels improve in the next rainy cycle, the power utility has been rationing electricity, affecting mining, the country’s main foreign exchange-earning sector.

This, combined with the fall of copper prices on the international market, has put the country’s currency under serious pressure in recent months.

“Adaptation is a big thing for us in Africa. For us in Zambia, we have been grappling with the effects of a prolonged drought affecting food security of some households and power problems,” said Barnaby Mulenga, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, who is leading the Zambian delegation at COP21.

But such energy challenges could be eased as heads of the world’s largest development banks pledged on Monday, November 30, to work together to substantially increase climate investments and ensure that development programmes going forward consider climate risks and opportunities.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Bank Group (WBG) announced their intention to further mobilize public and private finance to help countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

The development finance institutions promised to consider climate change across their strategies, programmes and operations to deliver more sustainable results, with a particular focus on the poor and most vulnerable.

The development banks highlighted that they had already delivered US $100 billion for climate action in developing and emerging countries in the four years since they started to track climate finance in 2011.

For its part, Africa’s premier development finance institution, the African Development Bank, pledged US $12 billion for Africa’s renewable energy in the next five years, with the Bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina saying, “Africa is tired of being in the dark.

“Africa has already been short-changed by climate change. Now, we must ensure that Africa is not short-changed in terms of climate finance. The African Development Bank stands fully ready to support greater climate financing for Africa,” he said.

December 7, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: Meeting of Ministers Calls for Effective Climate Change Agreement

Fredrick Mugira
Paris, Dec. 7, 2015. The High-Level, ministerial segment of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris kicked off today with calls to action to conclude an effective climate change agreement at the end of the week and a sense of confidence that this can be done.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded Ministers of the direction that more than 150 world leaders had provided on the first day of the meeting, and that they had pledged their full support for a robust agreement. “Never before have so many Heads of State and Government gathered in one place at one time with one common purpose. Leaders have assured me they will work to remove any roadblocks,” he said.

One of the placards at the conference creating awareness about the need for everybody to get ton board and fight climate change

One of the placards at the conference creating awareness about the need for everybody to get ton board and fight climate change

Ban Ki-moon said that hundreds of mayors from around the world had also come to Paris to lend their support and make their city climate action announcements, along with hundreds of business leaders and investors representing trillions of dollars in assets.

In her address, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke of the unprecedented number of over 180 national climate action plans submitted ahead of the Paris meeting and which constitute a clear signal to the world. She said: “The challenge we face now is to crystalize that call into a cohesive legal framework that brings the world together in action and implementation.”
Figueres also spoke of the groundswell of climate action being highlighted in a plethora of activities during the first week of the COP under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda.

“Commitments have given way to real action on the part of investors, corporations, provincial and city governments, and from civil society as a whole,” she said

Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly, said that whilst the year 2015 was all about reaching agreements, the year 2016 would be about their swift implementation. He said he would be organizing an event in New York in April to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals agreed this year. The meeting, including government and civil society, would spark many new initiatives.

This follows last week’s announcement by the UN Secretary General of an event in Washington, in May, to accelerate cooperative climate initiatives.

Lykketoft, however, cautioned that a robust universal climate agreement in Paris was an essential foundation for the world to avoid crossing the threshold of a maximum two degrees Celsius global average temperature rise, agreed by governments to be the defense line against unmanageable climate change. “Without your leadership, no amount of collaborative initiatives will suffice,” he said.

December 4, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: World Bank Announces a Multi-Million Dollar Funding Boost for Water Programs In Africa And India

Diana Omondi Makimario

PARIS, Dec.  4, 2015 – The World Bank Group has announced a significant boost in funding for water programs Kenya, the Niger River Basin, Morocco and India to help tackle water challenges.

The move came as World Bank Group Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck, warned that in just 35 years, 40 percent of the global population will be living in water scarce countries. That’s compared to 28 percent today.

Women Fetch Water from the Kamurio Village Water Kiosk in Kenya

Women Fetch Water from the Kamurio Village Water Kiosk in Kenya

Speaking at the climate talks, COP21, in Paris, Tuck said overall water stress was increasing, because of climate change combined with population growth.

“ Water scarcity and variability pose significant risks to all economic activities, including food and energy production, manufacturing and infrastructure development, “ Tuck said. “Poor water management can exacerbate the effects of climate change on economic growth, but if water is managed well it can go a long way to neutralizing the negative impacts.”

A key initiative announced by the Bank Group today was a US$500 million investment to support India’s US$1 billion program to improve management of its groundwater. India is the world’s largest consumer of groundwater. The funding, subject to approval from the Bank’s board of Executive Directors, would help with institutional reforms, build up capacity and develop infrastructure.

“Water is so fundamental to life and to economic development, and it’s vital we tackle these issues particularly in the developing world, where water stress is already exacting a price on people and economies,” said Junaid Ahmad, Senior Director for Water, World Bank Group.

In Mombasa, the coastal region of Kenya, water demands largely exceed supply, with climate variability, droughts and floods taking its toll on poor people. The Bank Group is funding a significant portion of the cost of a US$500 million government program to boost water security and build climate resilience.

In the Niger Basin, nine countries have committed to a US$3.1 billion climate resilience investment plan over 10 years to build resilience. The first phase will cost US$610 million and will include financing from the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, IDA, the International Development Association.

In Morocco, which is susceptible to drought, the Bank Group is supporting the government’s National Irrigation Saving Program, with a new US$150 million commitment, which builds on US$500 of prior commitments. It will help poor and vulnerable farmers with more efficient irrigation technologies so they can cope with increasingly less available water and greater variability in water supplies.

December 4, 2015

African Countries Urged to Reduce Dependency on External Funding for Health

George Mhango

Addis Ababa. Dec. 04, 2015.  A three-day 4th African Medicines Regulators Conference organised by Nepad, African Union and World Health Organisation has today cone to an end in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The meeting sought to discuss ways of ensuring that there is support for countries to accelerate the pace of establishing functional medicines regulatory agencies at national, regional and continental levels and strengthening the capacities of existing in the region.

Throughout the three days, it was evident that the workshop created a platform to review progress made in the implementation of the five-year action plan (2014-2018).

NEPAD logo

NEPAD logo

The review process was meant to strengthen the capacity for regulation of medical products in the Region and propose solutions for tackling challenges faced by countries.

In his opening address professor Aggrey Ambali, head and advisor of Nepad Science, Technology and Innovation Hub stressed the need for Africa to reduce dependency on external funding for health considering that the continent bears 25% of the global burden of disease.

He, however, said while less than two percept of the world’s medicines are produced in the continent, importing the medicines and commodities that people desperately need is unsustainable.

“Africa must invest in itself and the health of its people. It is the right thing to do, and it will deliver real economic and social returns.

“It would be also important to fast-Track reforms in regulation of medical products and technologies in the continent by scaling AMRH across the continent through regional economic communities and regional organizations,” said professor Ambali.

He further said there is need also to expand the scope of African Medicines Regulatory and Harmonization (AMRH) to cover other regulatory functions and products.

“NMRAs involvement in the elaboration of regional and continental medicines agencies – the African Medicine Agency. NMRAs utilization of regional centers of regulatory excellence. Advocacy for domestication of the AU Model Law on Medical products Regulation which will assist in strengthening NMRA governance in Africa, ensure effective regulation of medical products and technologies,” he said.

While discussions are focused on regulation and establishing regulatory bodies, the issue of advocacy for sustainable NMRA financing models and how NMRAs fund their participation to African Medicines Regulators Conferences remained a critical issue.

Other topical matters that will arise during the meeting include how to establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to monitor progress and assess impact of medicines regulation in promoting and protecting public health and its contribution to economic growth.

“We need strong NMRAs in Africa that can attain the status of Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRA) that we currently see in Europe and US,” said professor Ambali.

But Dr Jane Byaruhanga from the African Union alluded to the fact that Africa’s leadership remains concerned about a continued disproportionate disease burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and its negative impact on the continent.

She noted sub optimal investments in the health care delivery system continues to hamper Africa’s progress not only in ripping the economic potential of  a healthy human capital but also affected other sectors of the already fragile economies of various countries.

“The proliferation of sub-standard, spurious, falsely labelled, falsified, counterfeit medical products in our market further constitutes a public health emergency that has also severely impacted on the competitiveness of the local pharmaceutical industry,” she said.

Byaruhanga, therefore, said the forum will go a long way in facilitating and ensuring that continental frameworks and institutions established and endorsed by the African Union leadership are implemented at national, regional and continental l levels.

“These frameworks include the pharmaceutical manufacturing plan within which  the African Medicines Regulatory Hamornisation Program was established and the African Medicines Agency, the Africa Centre for Disease Control  and Prevention, the African Union Model Law on Medical Product Regulation which was recently endorsed by the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Legal and Justice Affairs,” she said

Initially, the framework and institutions are intended to create the enabling legal and regulatory environment for the pharmaceutical sector development, and improve access to quality essential medicines promote and protect public health of our citizens.

Meanwhile, the AU and Nepad have teamed up on how best to harness the global momentum that has been created towards addressing the issue of counterfeit medicines and willingness to support related programme in Africa while acknowledging the effort of regional economic communities.

December 3, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: A Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change Launched

WaterSan Perspective Reporter

PARIS, Dec. 03, 2015 – 18 countries (Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America), and over 60 organizations today  launched an unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to speed up and scale up the sector’s huge potential to reduce its emissions and literally build greater climate resilience into future cities and infrastructure.

The Alliance, which gathers organizations from countries to cities, NGOs, public and private organizations, networks of professionals, of cities, of companies as well as financing institutions, announced the initiative at the Lima to Paris Action Agenda Focus on Buildings, in Paris.

Participants at COP 21 / CMP 11

Participants at COP 21 / CMP 11

Among other members, the International Union of Architects (UIA) now represents, through national architecture organizations, close to 1,3 million architects worldwide; the World Green Building Council (WGBC) represents 27000 companies involved in green buildings business worldwide; the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) represents 180000 building surveyors globally; the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) represents the construction sector employers through 33 national federations in 29 countries.

The buildings and construction sector is responsible for 30 per cent of global CO2 emissions but it also has the potential to avoid about 3.2GtCO2 by 2050 through mainstreaming today’s available state-of-the-art policies and technologies. Reducing energy demand in the building sector is one of the most cost-effective strategies for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

Real estate represents about 50% of global wealth. Creating this transformation requires investing around an additional US$220 billion by 2020 – an almost 50% increase on 2014 investment in energy efficient buildings – but less than 4% of the current total global annual investment in construction activity ($8.5 trillion/yr). Returns on this investment could be as high as 124% if investments in ambitious policy and technology actions are being made now.

As of today, 91 countries have included elements of commitments, national programs, or projects and plans relating to buildings in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the declarations by countries of what they are prepared to commit to.

With support and greater awareness, many more may realize the potential for the building sector to contribute to realizing national targets.  Yet, the building sector is very local and needs to align many different actors, which is a primary objective of the new alliance.

As cities keep on growing until more than 70% of the global population will call urban areas home, it becomes crucial for the sector to reduce its emissions and literally build in greater resilience against climate change.

 

December 3, 2015

Nepad, AU and WHO Want Stiff Regulation of Medicines

George Mhango

Addis Ababa, Dec. 03, 2015. The 2nd Biennial Scientific Conference on Medicines Regulation in Africa, which ended on Tuesday this week saw various delegates asking African governments to ensure that they regulate production of medicines and its policies to improve health service delivery, which is so crucial in treating dozens of WASH related diseases.

Nepad, African Union Commission and World Health Organisation organised the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

AU Logo

AU Logo

The most critical issue delegates wanted agreed upon was the timely availability of high quality drugs from the manufacturer to the public who are said to be under great sufferage in terms of accessing medicines in many African countries.

The other issue was a resolution that in as far as regulation and harmonisation of operations of local pharmaceuticals is concerned there is need to guard against the proliferation of substandard products on the African markets.

Dr Aggrey Ambali who is head and advisor of Nepad Science, technology and innovation hub hinted that African governments need to come up with stiff regulation so that traditional healers too are held accountable for their claims.

“Regulatory bodies in each others in close collaboration with Nepad and World Health Organisation should lead in examining policies if any that govern activities of traditional healers, who claim to have found treatment for some diseases,” he said.

Following the proliferation of medicines on the market made by traditional healers, the World Health Organisation-WHO calls for timely identification so that well trained and passionate traditional healers are allowed to practice the business.

Ossy Casilo coordinator of medicines and the role of traditional healers at the World Health Organisation said there is need for joint efforts between governments Nepad, WHO and AU.

She said joint efforts would help develop national traditional medicines policies which are expected to give direction on how such doctors are to provide effective medicines to the public.

“Each country needs to identify qualified traditional healers who can practice medicine and ensure that they are evaluated for research activities by working with Aids-related institutions, researchers and intellectuals,” she said.

Present during the conference were officials from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They too were upbeat that while there have been different providers of medicines; the issue of high quality needs to be re-emphasised and remain a must.

The organisation expressed willingness to continue funding initiatives in the local pharmaceutical industry in a bid to ensure that medicines are found in each and every location.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation insists that it will promote the pharmaceuticals industry, which at the moment is one of the most regulated in the world after the aircraft industry.

According to Dan Dartman director of integrated development global health programme the public deserves high quality medicines as opposed to fake ones, which bring calamities.

Nepad, AUC and World Health Organisation—who organised the conference—have since indicated that the meeting has helped to attain outcomes meant to increase stakeholders’ awareness on the progress made in medical products regulatory systems.

During the conference, which was held under the theme “Regulatory systems strengthening for advancing Research, innovation and Local Pharmaceutical Production in Africa”, speakers were upbeat about making medicines produced in Africa or imported from other continents are available to the public.

December 3, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: World Leaders Pledge Up To USD 4 Billion for Restoration of Degraded Lands across Sahel Region

Aaron Yancho Kaah
PARIS, Dec. 03, 2015 –World leaders and heads of major international agencies have pledged USD 4 billion over the next 5 years to step up implementation of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

The Great Green Wall is African-led project with an epic ambition: to restore the productivity of degraded lands across the Sahel region and transform millions of lives. Its goal is to provide food, jobs and a future for the millions of people who live in a region on the frontline of climate change.

Over the next 10 years, more than 50 million hectares of land will be restored, which will help sequester an estimated 250 million tons of carbon. The metaphoric Great Green Wall will provide sustainable alternatives for millions of young people considering migrating from poverty-stricken areas in Africa’s Sahel region.

Some African leaders attending the Cop 21

Some world leaders attending Cop21/CMP11

Leaders expressed hope that the renewed commitment to the GGWSSI – Africa’s largest rural development project – will create new opportunities for communities right across the Sahel, whilst establishing greater resilience against climate change long into the future.

The Great Green Wall – originally launched in 2007 – is taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, one of the world’s most vulnerable areas to climatic variability.

Macky Sall, President of Senegal, says his country has already “planted 12 million trees and restored 25,000 ha of degraded land. This has helped boost long-term food, energy, water and economic security.”

President Sall was speaking, at the Global Summit of the Heads of State and Government that are GGWSSI member states. The Summit was hosted by France’s President François Holland in parallel to the Climate Change Conference taking place in Paris, France.

The Ministerial meeting held Wednesday morning with Heads of development partners was the follow-up to the Summit, with the renewed commitments coming from the Government of France, African Development Bank, Global Environment Facility, World Bank, and European Union, as well as the African leaders.

The changes to Lake Chad, which borders five countries in West Africa and serves a large population in the region, including 2 million people who benefit directly, signals the depth of the crises.

In just 30 years it has shrunk by nearly ten times its original size from 25,000km2 to 2,500 km2. During this period, demand for water and arable land soared as the population around the lake rose from 22 million in 1991 to 38 million in 2012. The population is expected to reach 50 million by 2020.

The disappearance of Lake Chad is a security crisis that is fuelling terrorist groups like Boko Haram said, President Idriss Déby of Chad. He called for effective commitment on the ground to counter these threats.

Persistent drought and land degradation in the Sahel are robbing land-dependent families of their livelihoods. Poverty, conflict over depleting natural resources, and increasingly, mass migration to Europe are rife. More than 20 million people in the Sahel are currently food insecure, according to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs.

The metaphoric Wall is a practical response taken by countries located along the southern margins of the Sahara Desert.

“Ensuring vulnerable communities are resilient to climate change is our first line of defence against the growing challenges of forced migration, food insecurity, civil conflict and extremism. The constraints countries face demand that we take early and effective action in Africa and other regions of the world where people rely heavily on the land for survival,” commented Ms Monique Barbut, the UN’s top advisor on controlling the loss of productive land.

“I commend the renewed commitment by the partners to the Great Green Wall, but hasten to add that it is in the interest of all countries to invest in land restoration. We can reduce the impact of future climate-induced disasters and quickly cut back the excess carbon dioxide emissions in the race to stay below a 2 degree Celsius target,” Ms Barbut added.

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