photo by Francesco Ungaro from

The African Great Green Wall

A 2021 update

As the world continues to suffer from numerous environmental problems, an initiative took it up itself to provide a solution. Deforestation and forest degradation are some of the most drastic green problems we are facing today. They are also some of the leading causes of the dreaded global warming. Thus, almost a decade and half a half ago, the world chose the great green wall to offer it a sustainable and achievable solution that ought to fix more than some of its urgent problems. However, as the years pass, finishing the green wall is proving to be more and more vital.

Growing the great green wall

The green wall is an African-led initiative that aims to plant 8,000km long and 15km wide greenery across the width of Africa. In doing so, the wall will aid in the fight against many threats, including climate change, drought, famine, conflict, and migration. It will not only restore Africa’s degraded landscapes but will also transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions. Moreover, upon completion, the wall will be the largest living structure on the planet.

“The Great Green Wall is part of Africa’s environmental defense system — a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation,” said Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank chairman. “The future of the Sahel region depends on the Great Green Wall. Without the Great Green Wall, the Sahel region as we know it may disappear.”


The initiative’s main aim is to succeed in growing a green wall made of a mosaic of trees, grasslands, vegetation, and different plants, by 2030. Thus, the wall will restore 100 million ha of degraded land while sequestering almost 250 million tons of carbon and creating millions of green jobs for natives living there.

These goals will, in turn, help in growing fertile land, combating poverty, creating food security, improving water security, using more sustainable energy, improving economies, and combating climate change. Furthermore, they will aid in creating harmony all across Africa, breaking the cycle of migration, and sustaining strategic partnerships that accelerate rural development in Africa. It will also play a role in fighting biodiversity loss, desertification, land degradation, and desertification.

The great green wall in 2021

“The year 2021 marks the beginning of the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration – and the Great Green Wall is an inspiring example of ecosystem restoration in action. This initiative alone won’t transform the Sahel’s fortunes overnight, but it is rapidly becoming a green growth corridor that is bringing investment, boosting food security, creating jobs, and sowing the seeds of peace,” said Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.

According to the latest UN report, The Green Wall initiative had only succeeded in covering 4 percent of its target area. Moreover, it has received only about 40 percent of the estimated $33bn required to achieve the full goal. Thus, though promising, the project might not finish in 2030 as hoped. On the other hand, the project did start to achieve some of its objectives. Despite the slow progress, the great green wall created more than 335,000 jobs all across the Sahel region. Thus, the wall is currently extended to 156 Mha, and the largest intervention zones are in Niger, Mali, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

Furthermore, during the latest One Planet Summit for Biodiversity, the Great Green Wall received $14 billion in additional funding pledges for the next decade. The funds will help is speeding up the progress all across the 11 concerned countries.

“Pandemic recovery is our chance to change course. With smart policies and the right investments, we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies, and builds resilience. Innovations in energy and transport can steer a sustainable recovery and an economic and social transformation. Nature-based solutions – such as Africa’s Great Green Wall – are especially promising,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

A Global representation

Though located in the Sahel region, the Great Green wall represents the efforts of people from all over the world, not just Africa. It is a global symbol for humanity uniting against a common enemy and saving our wounded environment. Moreover, it proves that even in the most challenging places, positive change can take place. Therefore, it means that hope isn’t lost for future generations.


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