Nigeria and five other African countries are to benefit from the collaboration between the African Union Commission and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation aimed at combating land degradation, desertification and drought.
In an agreement on the implementation of Action Against Desertification, signed on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the AU commission and FAO strengthened their partnership in support of the Great Green Wall initiative, Africa’s flagship initiative against land degradation, desertification and drought.
Aside from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Niger and Senegal are the other African countries to benefit from a budget of about € 41m set aside to improve the state and health of production landscapes affected by desertification and land degradation.
According to the agreement, the FAO will support the AU commission through a special hub that will provide assistance in coordination, monitoring and evaluation, capacity development, resource mobilisation and knowledge management for the implementation of the AAD.
The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Tumusiime, said ever since African heads of state and government endorsed the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative in 2007, the FAO had been at the forefront of the fight against desertification.
On his part, the FAO’s representative at the AU, Patrick Kormawa, said the African Union’s leadership enabled the alliance, which was set to engender large scale restoration and sustainable land management across the Sahel and Sahara.
The AAD is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to promote sustainable land management and restore dry lands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, implemented by the FAO and partners with funding from the European Union in the framework of the 10th European Development Fund.
With a total budget of € 41m, ACP, the EU, FAO and partners such as the AU commission, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Walloon region are said to be supporting six African countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal – as well as Fiji and Haiti in improving the state and health of production landscapes affected by desertification and land degradation.