“5 million hectares in the Niger desert has been transformed into a lush landscape, where trees flourish, crops prosper and livestock thrives!” dr.Abasse Tougiane exclaims enthusiastically. “This is an area larger than the Netherlands!” We are present at the lecture about the successful initiative to regreen Niger, given by Abasse and his colleague Toudou Adam at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The room is almost completely full; obviously not only officials of Foreign Affairs, but also scientists, delegates from NGO’s and representatives from the private sector are interested in the subject. The question on everyone’s mind is: ‘how can this be so successful where an initiative such as the Great Green Wall so sadly failed?
In Niger, farmers have turned no less than 5 million ha. of the Southern Sahelian provinces Maradi and Zinder green. They protected and assisted spontaneous regeneration of trees in and around their agricultural fields. Between January 12th and 20th, Both ENDS colleague Marie José van der Werff ten Bosch accompanied Chris Reij (CIS, VU University Amsterdam) to the south of Niger, to find out how farmers were able to regreen at such a large scale, and how their experiences can benefit other villages in the Sahel. Both ENDS, VU-CIS and the Centre Régional d'Enseignement Spécialisé en Agriculture (CRESA) have a joint project to spread the approach to the region of Dogondoutchi.
From 6-16 september, the 13th Conference of Parties' of the UNCCD (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) took place, this time in Ordos, China. The UNCCD is the global convention of the United Nations on combating desertification and drought. Every country in the world has signed this convention. Canada withdrew in 2012, but in 2016 - under the Trudeau administration - started a process to re-enter the convention. Both ENDS is a member of Drynet, a network of local organisations and communities in dry regions searching for ways to use land in a sustainable manner.
Both ENDS is co-hosting two sessions on the conference of the EFC (European Foundation Centre). This year, the conference is held from Thursday the 26th until Saturday the 28th of May in the town of Cascais, Portugal.
October 10th the fifth board meeting of the Green Climate Fund took place, this time in Paris. The Green Climate Fund is an international fund set up and commissioned by the United Nations in order to help developing countries combatting the negative effects of climate change. Possibly, developing countries are granted with an amount of $100 billion a year! Although the financial support is very promising, opinions differ widely on how that money should be spent. Therefore Anouk Franck and Annelieke Duma of Both ENDS attended, along with Titi Soentoro of the Indonesian organization Aksi! and Jorge Daneri of M'Bigua from Argentina, to make sure that the money gets where it is most needed.