BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: June 2, 2021
The USD$ 914.5 million multifocal and integrated programme will support eleven counties in Africa and Asia in restoration and achieve land degradation neutrality, Mariahelena Semedo, an official from the Food and Agriculture Organisation said.
Two East African countries- Kenya and Tanzania- are set to benefit from the grant facility along side Burkina Faso in West Africa and Angola, Botswana, Malawi Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, and Kazakhstan and Mongolia in central Asia.
However, Semedo disclosed that about USD$32m of the dryland sustainable landscape impact project (DSLIP) funds would be spend on incentives for collaboration within the regions beyond the 11 participating countries.
These include activities such as regional market initiatives, innovations and transfer of knowledge.
The launch was a key highlight of day one of the Bonn Global Landscape Forum for Africa hosted in Germany on Wednesday.
Over 5000 participants from Africa and around the world have taken part in the virtual conference, organisers say.
FAO will lead the implementation of the DSLIP with partners such as the Washington based Global Environment Facility (GEF) that is contributing USD$104.5 million to the grant.
The programmatic approach, said GEF senior environment scientist Urich Apol, will facilitate working across borders, have greater impact and achieve high level of effectiveness.
“The objective is to reduce vulnerability of communities, generate global environmental benefits and provide access to finance for small holder farmers in poverty stricken areas such as drylands,” he reiterated.
He said this objective fits seamlessly into the UN decade on ecosystem restoration that is set to be launched later this week.
Cumulatively, the DSLIP project is expected to benefit one million people, result into protection of 1.6 million hectares of dryland, 0.9 million hectares of dryland restored, 12million hectares of degraded landscape placed under improved management and 34.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases mitigated by 2030.
Another conference milestone was the unveiling of a global dryland Atlas by the World Wide Fund for nature that for the first-time focuses specific attention on these neglected areas through geo-refrencing.
While over 2 billion people globally are estimated to live in drylands, Africa is thought to account for at least 525 million of these dryland residents.
However extreme weather vagaries arising from climate change has seen a lot of similar dryland conditions spreading to areas that were previously hydrated.
“Unless we act now, the level of devastation will be more enormous than anything the world has seen before,” warned Anderson Inger, Under-Secretary General for the United Nations Environment Programme.