Global Heads of State and Government Summit on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGSSI) and Lake Chad Basin

“Africa and the Africa Union, have not been sitting idle waiting for calamities such as these to happen”, Dlamini Zuma

The Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, calls world leaders to support the efforts of Africa and the African Union Commission in curbing land degradation and desertification in the Sahara and Sahel regions; and the resuscitation of Lake Chad Basin. This was during a World Leaders event organised within the margins of the twenty first Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) on 1 December 2015.

The high level meeting brought together  the International Community,  Heads of State and Government, Heads of  major International Institutions, Financial and Development Institutions including, the President of the Republic of France, H.E Mr. Francois Hollande, 12 African Heads of State and governments including the Presidents of Chad; Djibouti; Egypt; Mauritania; Niger; and Nigeria amongst others; the UN Secretary General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki Moon; the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission; the President of the African Development Bank  and Representatives of US Government, and a multitude of partners Civil Society Organisations and others.

The event organised by the French Government, in collaboration with the Africa Union Commission, the Pan African Agency and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat, was aimed at finding solution to the challenges of Land Degradation, Desertification through the implementation of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative, and the plight of the shrinking Lake Chad Basin.

The Summit highlighted the efforts made by the continent to mitigate the impacts of the challenges and called for support for the Great Green Wall Initiative and the Lake Chad Basin. The event was also a platform that the organizers shared with the international community the results achieved so far on the implementation of the Great Green Wall.

In his opening remarks, the French President, the Host of COP 21 and the Summit, President, Mr. Francois Hollande, appreciated all for their presence and called for concrete actions not words, he insisted that ‘time for words, debates, and studies have passed’, now is the time for Action. He acknowledged that Africans know their challenges and are providing the solutions, through Initiatives like the Great Green Wall, he said what Africa needs now is money, funds to push these initiatives and upscale them. “France would gradually triple its bilateral commitments in Africa, to reach Euro1 billion a year by 2020 to fight against desertification, and adaptation to climate change” he promised.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, commended the African Governments and people for their leadership and endeavors to solve global challenges and called on all to support these initiative while highlighting on the challenges faced by the inhabitants of the Dry lands of Africa such as droughts, floods, leading to poverty, migration and terrorism, accentuated by the impact of Climate change.

[Description: DSC07706] In her statement, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said ‘there is no greater evidence of the impact of environmental degradation and climate change than the advancement of the Sahara desert and the shrinking of the once mighty Lake Chad and River Niger, with dire effect on the ecosystems with  the resolute creep of the Sahara dessert. It’s worth repeating that Lake Chad has shrunk from 25,000 sq km, to only 2.500 sq. impacting on food security, migration, livelihood, and, of course, land restoration’.

“Africa and the Africa Union, have not been sitting idle waiting for calamities such as these to happen, the AUC Chairperson stressed and cited the Great Green Wall Initiative, desilting of the Lake Chad Basin and the River Niger are some of efforts of the African people.

“African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to triple its financing to climate change investments to USD $5 billion per year by 2020 – which will account for approximately 40% of our total portfolio” says Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the Bank. In addition the Bank spend USD 12 billion between 2016 and 2020 on energy programs in Africa. Majority of this will go to renewable energy and is expected to leverage an additional USD 40 billion, he added.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC)

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