In February 2011, an international summit in Bonn, Germany officially approved the building of a pan-African Great Green Wall (GGW) in support of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The GGW initiative plans to strategically plant swaths of trees roughly nine miles wide and over four thousand miles long. The central idea is for this belt of forest to serve as a barrier against desert winds and thus revitalize soil to protect against land degradation. It will stretch across Africa, passing through eleven countries—namely, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan. They have all enacted, or plan to enact, the first stages of the program.
The GGW initiative, originally envisioned by African leaders in the 1980s and 1990s, is a global response to the encroachment of the Sahara desert into the savannas and farmlands of sub-Saharan Africa. Desertification, which now affects 40 percent of Africa, has been further exacerbated by climate change in recent decades. Many of the continent’s most vulnerable communities living in threatened areas rely on healthy ecosystems to support livelihoods dependent on agriculture, livestock, and fisheries. They now find their livelihoods endangered. The World Food Program has warned that some ten million people risk starvation due to desertification in West Africa’s Sahel alone. Such problems are further compounded by poorly managed land and water resources.
For the complete article, please see Council on Foreign Relations.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are currently engaged in vital talks over the dispute relating to the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. While non-African actors are increasingly present in the negotiations, the African Union (AU) is playing a marginal role.
Climate change was more central than ever at this year’s Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. The release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” (WCSR 2020) by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) should help policymakers take effective action.
The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.