• Day 2: Thursday, 30 August 2018
  • 11:00-12:30

3 parallel Discussion Forums

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI), or simply Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) is today recognized internationally as a huge African initiative, mobilizing more than 20 countries from the Sahelo-Saharan region, supported by international institutions, civil society and grassroots organizations to build a mosaic of sustainable land management and restoration interventions.

The Great Green Wall was established and endorsed by the African Union in 2007 and it represents “Africa’s flagship initiative” to overcome some of this century’s greatest challenges, e.g. climate change, land degradation, food insecurity, forced migration and conflict.

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel is playing a decisive role in the future of the African continent, as it has been restoring degraded landscapes, improving food security, creating economic opportunities and jobs, especially for rural people, and building resilience in communities.


Join us to learn more about the achievements and future plans of Africa’s Great Green Wall!


Nora Berrahmouni, Senior Forestry Officer in FAO

Jane Nimpamya, GEF Programme Officer in UN Environment

Paul Elvis Tangem, Coordinator of the GGWSSI in the African Union

Ulrich Apel, Senior Environmental Specialist in GEF Secretariat

Moderator: Siham Drissi, Programme Management Officer, Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit, UN Environment

The production and selling of agricultural commodities such as coffee, cocoa, palm oil, soybean growing in and around forest areas and forest products such as construction wood, charcoal, non-timber forest products (NTFP) contribute to income and employment in rural areas. This is especially the case in Africa. Unsustainable sourcing practices for agricultural value chains, increased need for land and wood endanger not only forests but also the income of local communities. In the long run, unsustainable sourcing practices will lead to a collapse of the agricultural production system due to environmental degradation and climate change.

Therefore, it is essential to include the private sector for setting up deforestation-free supply chains and to establish sustainable landscape management. The jurisdictional approach offers a solution for sustainable production and income for rural communities as well as for private sector companies. The approach defines the landscape within policy-relevant boundaries and the underlying strategy is designed to govern landscapes by a multi-stakeholder approach. It is estimated that global forest landscape restoration targets, also promoted by the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), will need investments of $50 billion per year. Financial resources from the public sector will not be sufficient so that one central role of the public sector will be to mobilize private sector investment. Governments need to create the framework conditions for private sector actors to invest in forests and forest landscape restoration. By investing in sustainable productive landscapes, private companies are creating jobs for rural communities and enabling smallholders’ access to new markets. Furthermore, forests and biodiversity are conserved and private companies secure their long-term supply. Sustainable landscapes will only succeed if they are developed together with stakeholders living in and benefiting from the landscape, i.e. if an integrated land use planning is applied and if access to finance is provided for these smallholders (inclusive finance).

The Discussion Forum seeks to bring together local stakeholders and policy makers with experts from the private and finance sector and development organizations to discuss and learn about various approaches for sustainable sourcing for agricultural and forestry products. Experts and examples include cocoa (Cote d’Ivoire) and wild coffee (Ethiopia) value chains. The example from Madagascar will look at framework conditions for private sector investment in FLR. The financial sector is represented through FONERWA – Rwanda’s Environment and Climate Change Fund that supports inclusive finance.

Despite some promising initiatives to apply the landscape approach to a diversity of ecosystem types and an agenda that is gradually becoming more inclusive, so far the sustainable landscapes movement has focused primarily on forest ecosystems and landscapes where crop agriculture is prominent.

Rangeland landscapes, on the other hand, have their own distinctive social and biophysical characteristics.  The mobility of livestock keepers with their herds, for example, is both a way human communities adapt to their environment and a fundamental aspect of ecosystem dynamics. In dry rangeland settings, landscape approaches—even the very concept of what constitutes a landscape—must be re-imagined.

This forum will explore what the landscape approach can look like in rangelands, and how it can effectively contribute to the pursuit of global mechanisms and initiatives for sustainable landscapes.