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Two Things Are Stalling An Ambitious Land Restoration Project across Africa

Escalating conflict and climate change threaten the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative. Promoters of the Great Green Wall have called for strong political will in engendering peace and increasing investment in environmental preservation, which the project launched 16 years ago seeks to enhance. Competition over natural resources that are affected by climate change is fueling interstate conflicts, especially in West Africa, a region in the path of the Great Green Wall. The Wall is an Africa-led project to stop the march of desertification across Africa through the restoration of more than 100 million hectares of degraded land. To date, the project has covered more than 4 percent of the target 100 million hectares, but it is making good progress to make the deadline, says Paul Elvis Tangem, coordinator for the Great Green Wall Initiative at the African Union Commission. According to a United Nations status report, the Great Green Wall needs to cover 8 million hectares of land a year at a cost of up to $4.3 billion if it is to meet the implementation deadline. Tangem says the project, which has received multiple funding from governments, donors, and multilateral development banks, would need more than 50 billion US Dollars to be realized by 2030.