Promoting drylands restoration in Africa by changing the narratives


The Global Landscapes Forum hosted GLF Africa, a fully-online event on 2–3 June 2021 that was entirely dedicated to Africa’s drylands. The event brought together thousands of participants from 186 countries, including pastoralists, scientists, youth activists, restoration practitioners and the highest levels of government, and reached over 22 million people through social media.

Featuring 47 sessions, the release of 12 white papers, and launches of several major initiatives, the conference provided critical insights on dryland restoration for policymakers ahead of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which launched on World Environment Day, 5 June 2021. The UN Decade will accelerate action to protect, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, including grasslands and savannas, peatlands, forests, farmlands, mountains, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and urban areas. 

Many great speakers joined the conference, with over 200 speakers and over 15 based in Burkina-Faso, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.

Changing the narratives around Africa’s drylands:

While GLF gave center stage to Africa’s drylands and highlighted its value for communities across the continent, the media has a key role to play in providing a consistent source of information on these important landscapes particularly when it comes to increasing solutions-focused narratives. 

Download unedited plenaries (more videos will be added to the GLF website in the coming weeks)

Day 1

  1. Framing the UN Decade: An African perspective on ecosystem restoration
  2. Voices From the Field: The s/heroes of landscape restoration (starting at 1:20:20)
  3. Translating global processes into action: Leveraging UN Food Systems Summit solutions in the restoration decade
  4. Partnering with dryland communities to overcome protracted crises: Challenges and opportunities (starting at 0:57:27)


Day 2

  1. Whose land is it anyways? An intergenerational dialogue exploring solutions to land tenure challenges
  2. The Roots of Restoration: Sustainability through community-based forest landscape restoration (starting at 0:52:47)
  3. Scaling Finance: Restoring Africa’s drylands through private investment and local projects
  4. Shaping the UN Decade: Creating synergies between sectors and scales (starting at 0:56:48)

Interview experts like:

Agronomist and social forester, gender specialist and women’s rights in policies (could speak to a key recommendation from experts: women need to be supported in leading intergenerational dialogues in their families and clans. Land tenure policies and social norms must ensure equitable access to land regardless of gender and age.)

Calls herself an “eco-feminist”, is passionate about climate education; and the importance of women’s rights which she links with environmental rights. ILead is a movement for peace, security and equality in Africa, particularly in the Lake Chad region

Has made significant contributions to Africa, and the developing world, in the fields of climate change, renewable energy and sustainable development. In the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Action. Appointed by CEO Patrick Van Verkoijen as the Senior Adviser for Africa of the Global Center on Adaptation, which manages the Global Commission on Adaptation chaired by Ban Ki-moon and co-led by Kristalina Georgieva and Bill Gates. 

(Can talk about Africa’s drylands in context of climate change, COP26)

Indigenous agroforester. He works principally on local communities’ forest restoration, ecosystem resilience and value-chain development. (Could speak to key recommendation on local communities needing funding, leading the process)

If you want to learn about restoration practices, old and new – what is working, what isn’t working. (Can make connection to COP 26)

Can talk about Forest Atlases and soil degradation in drylands and land restoration using remote sensing technologies. 

He is widely recognized for his influential contribution to heightened international awareness on the impact and efficacy, and uptake of simple, low cost, scalable methods of reforestation known as Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).

More speakers below:

Adjany Costa

Advisor for Environmental Affairs, Angola

John Akugre

Community leader, Tilli in the Upper East Region of Ghana

Mamou Dembele

Vice President, Cooperative “Saving for Change called Gnabene”

Youth voices:

Desmond Alugnoa

Co-founder, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO)

Fatou Jeng

Founder, Clean Earth Gambia

Diana Kyalo

Founder and writer, Landpages

Helina Teklu

Co-founder, Climate Change Africa and Seed Bomb Ethiopia

What stories are already being told?