Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Larai Daze

It has been stated that 20 mil­lion of peo­ple liv­ing in the Sa­hel go to sleep hun­gry ev­ery night due to un­ceas­ing men­ace of de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion.

This es­ti­mate was given by the Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of UNCCD, Her Ex­cel­lency, Monique Bar­but who was also the spe­cial guest of hon­our dur­ing the Great Green Wall side event or­gan­ised by the African Union Com­mis­sion (AUC), UNCCD and FAO as part of the re­cently con­cluded ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence of Par­ties to the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion to com­bat De­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion (UNCCD COP12) in Ankara, Turkey.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary who ap­pealed pas­sion­ately to the par­tic­i­pants on the strate­gic im­por­tance of the GGW, also of­fered a per­sonal com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing its suc­cess, say­ing her heart has al­ways been on the ini­tia­tive of the pro­gramme. She de­scribed the Great Green Wall as the mod­ern world’s great­est en­deav­our that sym­bol­izes man and na­ture com­ing to­gether to over­come some of to­day’s most ur­gent chal­lenges; cli­mate change, food se­cu­rity, mi­gra­tion, and of course land restora­tion

She also said GGW is more than sim­ply grow­ing trees, but grow­ing so­lu­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties, re­silience to cli­mate change, green jobs that pro­vide a suit­able in­come for African women and youth food se­cu­rity among oth­ers.

She com­mit­ted the UNCCD to em­bark on scal­ing up the GGW ini­tia­tive through part­ner­ship with the African Union Com­mis­sion (AUC) and other stake­hold­ers in­volved in the cause of curb­ing the men­ace of de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Dr. Elvis Paul, AU GGW Co­or­di­na­tor dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion at the event, pointed out that GGW had be­come a global plat­form for com­bat­ing land degra­da­tion and de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion. He re­it­er­ated the gen­eral call for a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive in other re­gions of Africa and tak­ing best prac­tices to the Caribbean and Pacific re­gions. He said the GGW will also play a cen­tral role in pro­mot­ing Global Land Degra­da­tion Neu­tral­ity (LDN) and Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs).

Dur­ing the panel ques­tions and an­swers in­volv­ing key play­ers of GGW, Goni Ahmed the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Na­tional Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) who led the Nige­rian del­e­ga­tion nar­rated the achieve­ments in Nige­ria since com­mence­ment in 2013, in­clud­ing the estab­lish­ment of the NAGGW as an in­sti­tu­tional frame­work to co­or­di­nate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­gramme.

He com­mended the com­mit­ment and en­thu­si­asm shown by the Fed­eral Govern­ment through a sus­tain­able fi­nan­cial mech­a­nism put in place to en­sure smooth im­ple­men­ta­tion of the GGW ini­tia­tive. He ap­pealed for fi­nan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port from de­vel­op­ment part­ners to en­sure the suc­cess of the pro­gramme.

At the end of the event, there was a clear mes­sage, which is that, the po­ten­tials that ex­ist both at lo­cal, na­tional and re­gional lev­els needs to be topped to de­velop pub­lic and pri­vate part­ner­ships, so that through African’s Great Green Wall, a “World Won­der” can be grown that will serve all hu­man­ity for gen­er­a­tions to come.

DG, NAGGW, Goni Ahmed (in cap) with other par­tic­i­pants at the COP12 in Ankara Turkey

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