Climate Change
Land & Food
Global Issues
Middle East & North Africa
Kyle Benjamin Schneps

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.

Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Noah Gordon, adelphi

The best resource for all of our 21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy content is the official website, hosted by the Wilson Center and adelphi. But the ECC editors are also collecting the topics here for eager readers.

Land & Food
Security
Global Issues
Compiled by Raquel Munayer and Stella Schaller, adelphi

What exactly triggers food riots? At which point does climate change come in? And what can we learn from analyzing the lack and impotence of government action in conflict areas? In our Editor’s Pick, we share 10 case studies from the interactive ECC Factbook that address the connections between food, the environment and conflict. They show how agriculture and rural livelihoods can affect stability in a country, which parties are involved in food conflicts and what possible solutions are on the table.

Ryan McNamara, New Security Beat

Tensions in the South China Sea increased last April when a Chinese coast guard ship sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands—a fiercely disputed territory in the South China Sea. Disputes over island territories in the region have endured for decades, with China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei all making overlapping territorial claims. The region is rich in natural resources and biodiversity, holding vast fish stocks and an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 cubic feet of natural gas.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Asia
Dhanasree Jayaram, MAHE

Without a coordinated strategy to tackle flooding disasters beyond the traditional infrastructural measures and river water sharing agreements, South Asia’s woes will continue in the future.