Reversing Desertification: EU, FAO and ACP’s 41 million Euro venture

The European Union (EU), along with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as well as the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP) have launched a 4-5 year €41 million campaign to restore the deteriorated environment.
The programme, dubbed Action Against Desertification aims to reinforce sustainable land management, end hunger, boost food security and restore dry lands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region.
“Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” said José Graziano da Silva , FAO’s Director-General about the need for the programme. “But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”

Programme Focus Areas
1. Africa
The programme will carry out efforts to grow the great green wall for the Sahara and Sahel initiative (2007) to combat the effects of climate change and desertification.
AAD will not only support local communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal but will additionally assist in the restoration of dryland forest and rangelands. The programme will additionally support agro forestry, promoting income generation activities and create employment opportunities in rural areas – with more focus on the youth and women. It will also take an educative approach to combating desertification, through farmer field schools and knowledge exchanges focusing on the causes and prevention methods of desertification.
2. Caribbean and Pacific
Due to unsustainable land management practices, soil loss and degraded natural habitats rippled into a loss of biodiversity and reduced natural buffers to droughts and floods. AAD will concentrate on Haiti and Fiji implementing strategies similar to that of Africa while enhancing capacities of governmental or non-governmental organisations to support these efforts in the long run.

Over 70% of inhabitants of drylands and ecosystems the ACP region rely on natural resources to sustain their life. However, population and climate change has exacerbated degradation and desertification on these ecosystems, leaving them prone to die out in the near future. The Action Against Diversification programme , through collaboration of the African Union Commission, the governments of the concerned countries, the ACP Secretariat, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and the Walloon Region of Belgium, and other partners, uphold the responsibility to reverse errs that have hurt the environment.