The world’s most ambitious reforestation project has covered only 4% of its target area but is more than halfway towards its 2030 completion date, according to a status report. More funds, greater technical support and tighter oversight will be needed if the plan to plant 100m hectares of trees and other vegetation is to be realised, say the authors of the study, which was unveiled on Monday at a meeting of regional ministers. The Great Green Wall was conceived in 2007 by the African Union as a 7,000km cross-continental barrier stretching from Senegal to Djibouti that would hold back the deserts of the Sahara and Sahel. Its supporters said it would improve livelihoods in one of the world’s poorest regions, capture carbon dioxide and reduce conflict, terrorism and migration. At the launch of the report, ministers and United Nations officials highlighted the achievements so far: more than 350,000 new jobs, $90m in revenues and 18m hectares of land restoration in participating countries. The results varied enormously from country to country. Ethiopia, which started reforesting earlier than other nations in the region, is a frontrunner, having reportedly planted 5.5bn seedlings on 151,000 hectares of new forest and 792,000 of new terraces. Other countries have lagged due to different geographies, levels of governance and economic development. Burkina Faso planted 16.6m plants and seedlings and Chad 1.1m, though both nations received more financial support for the project. A major problem is monitoring. Individual nations provide their own estimates, but there are doubts as to how many of the 12m trees planted in Senegal, for example, have survived.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN