By Kofi Adu Domfeh
A national stakeholder consultation has taken off for Ghana to join the Great Green Wall Initiative, a project with the goal of halting land degradation and desertification in Africa.
Experts from the African Union Commission will engage interest groups in Ghana, including the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on modalities for the country to get on board.
Since 2007, twelve African countries have been involved in the implementation of the project to green the continent. These countries embark on projects to plant millions of trees in addition to implementing other related projects to avert desertification and land degradation.
The initiative has adopted the rural development approach where community members are sensitized to plant trees, manage them and practice agriculture on rehabilitated lands to secure their livelihoods.
“This programme came to build the resilience of the communities in the drylands of Africa to climate change and the impacts of climate change,” said Dr. Elvis Paul Tangem, Coordinator of the Great Green Wall Initiative at the African Union Commission.
According to him, climate change adaptation and mitigation have been at the heart of the implementation of Great Green Wall initiative.
More than 50 million hectares of land will be restored in ten years of implementation, which will help sequester an estimated 250 million tons of carbon.
In Ghana, the three regions of the north will benefit from the project which will impact on policy at the national level, Dr. Tangem told news men on the sidelines of the 15th TerrAfrica Executive Committee (TAEC) Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
The World Bank has already bumped close to $4.5billion into the project, which serves as an international platform for implementation of Sustainable Water and Land Management (SWLM) activities, with focus on the drylands of Africa.
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.
Ghana has already been benefiting from the World Bank’s $1.1billion Sahel and West Africa Program in support of the Great Green Wall.
Meanwhile, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are expected to replace Nigeria and Togo on the TerrAfrica Executive Committee.
The TerrAfrica programme currently gives support to 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in policy and investments needed to address land degradation and desertification.
In Ghana, the programme has provided the opportunity to implement SLWM projects in local communities.