African leaders set 2030 to restore lands, create green jobs

African leaders have committed to restoring 100 million hectares of land while creating over 10 million green jobs across the Sahel, by 2030.

According to them, large-scale landscape restoration will create 10 million green jobs through sustainable value chains.

This emerged at a high-level ‘Breakfast Meeting’ held in New Delhi, India, on the margins of the 14th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The meeting was facilitated by the UNCCD Secretariat, in collaboration with the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) supported by the AU and the international community.

The partners of the African-led Great Green Wall Initiative agreed to develop a visionary roadmap, a decade after its launch, with bold targets to restore 100 million hectares of land and create 10 million green jobs by 2030 across the Sahel.

The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Her Excellency Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who is the Co-chair and His Excellency Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture led the discussions.

The partners raised concerns that 65% of land on the African continent is still degraded and challenged themselves of swift upscaling and acceleration to advance social cohesion, climate action and economic development via a transformative ecological corridor that supports millions of lives.

“We will create 10 million green jobs through sustainable value chains by connecting local producers to lucrative global markets” they added.

The leaders affirmed to support the Great Green Wall Initiative and funding the implementation of the roadmap, adding more innovative approach and robust coordination mechanism will be used for real transformation and resource mobilization.

“We will leverage on the assets of the region and the opportunities offered by the youth and women as the main drivers of change,” they said.

They revealed that a joint commitment was made to mobilize technical and financial resources, from the public and private sectors through win-win partnerships, recognising that private sector investment is vital in creating green jobs and wealth along the Wall and ultimately achieving the 2030 vision.

They used the meeting to exchanged views on a myriad of opportunities the region offers, with an emphasis on sustainable value chains, renewable energy, and rural entrepreneurship.

“Land rehabilitation is one of the single most impactful ways to tackle the climate emergency; we need to capitalise on the growing political momentum behind initiatives such as the Great Green Wall,” they said.

The Conference President and Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India Prakash Javadekar, said human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation, and biodiversity loss.

“It is the strong intent, technology, and intellect that will make the difference,” he remarked.

Prakash Javadekar explains that it is human efforts that will undo the damage and improve the habitats. “Our meeting here now is to ensure that this happens” he emphasised.

Also present at the High-Level Breakfast meeting held in New Delhi, India, included the African Union Commission, Government Ministers including those from countries participating in the Pan African Agency for the Great Green Wall Initiative; The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Heads of COP Delegation from UNCCD parties, the UN system, IGOs, regional actors; private sector stakeholders; civil society organisations, Great Green Wall Champions – Baaba Maal, Ricky Kej, and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim.

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