The Great Green Wall for the Sahel and the Sahara Initiative (GGWSSI) represents a great opportunity to increase resources for sustainable land management (SLM) in the region.
For this reason, the meeting to technically validate the Regional Harmonized Strategy of the GGWSSI, held from 19 to 21 April 2012 in Banjul, The Gambia, was an important step in the on-going efforts to transform the GGWSSI vision into a tangible implementation process.
Organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the meeting brought together GGWSSI focal points, institutions in charge of coordinating the GGWSSI implementation at the regional and sub-regional levels, technical and scientific institutions supporting countries to develop their GGWSSI action plans, organizations in charge of implementation of the initiative at local level through different projects, programmes and resource persons.
In virtue of the close alignment of the Regional Harmonized Strategy with the Strategic Objectives of the UNCCD 10-Year Strategy, the Global Mechanism (GM), in partnership with the AUC and FAO and with European Union support, is spearheading the development of a resource mobilization platform to mainstream the GGW into national development frameworks, and the elaboration of a resource mobilization approach for the GGW harmonized regional strategy.
As much resource mobilization takes place at the national level, the harmonized regional strategy will centre on the innovative finance that can be mobilized to complement national resources. Such innovative sources will be channelled, in particular, to trans-boundary projects and to support South-to-South cooperation activities, at the local level. For instance, the GM is already working with CILSS to support local authorities in responding to the call for proposals through capacity building.
The main objectives of the meeting as a whole, were to review and technically validate the regional harmonized strategy draft document developed by FAO and the GM. Following the opening ceremony and the introduction to the workshop, FAO and the GM presented the draft Regional Harmonized Strategy, highlighting the geographic coverage, the vision, the global, strategic and operational objectives, the expected results, the implementation framework and the resource mobilization strategy.
Of the various issues raised in the ensuing debate, the need to reflect in the vision the fact that the GGWSSI is not only about reforestation, but is a planning process for rural development and poverty reduction, was highlighted.
The need to give priority to resource mobilization at national level for the GGWSSI activities and to diversifying sources of finance, along the lines of the Integrated Financing Strategy approach developed by the GM, was underscored by many participants. Consequently, capacity building for resource mobilization will figure much more prominently in the final draft.
In terms of the way ahead, the Strategy will now be finalized on the basis of the discussions and outcomes of the workshop, for adoption at the African Union Commission level, in July 2012.
For its part, the GM will, inter alia, finalize the development of the African GGWSSI Regional SLM-Finance Platform; and organize a capacity building workshop in resource mobilization for GGWSSI Anglophone countries, to be held in Gambia in mid-July 2012.
Over and above the work being done by the GM, it is clear that the GGWSSI needs to be integrated into other major programmes and financing mechanisms to guarantee its successful implementation and that its vision must more clearly reflect the synergies that exist with the other Rio Conventions.
For more information:
Ms Inès Chaâlala, Liaison Officer on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative
Tel. +39 06 5459 2647
i.chaalala (at) global-mechanism.org