Koussanar, in eastern Senegal, is a small town that is expanding rapidly, surrounded by villages still rooted in rural and nomadic life. The region is hot and dry, which is exacerbated by climate change. The soil in the region is also dry and often exhausted due to a combination of factors such as unsustainable agricultural practices, (peanut) monoculture, intensive agriculture, forest fires and overgrazing. Today, however, the region's farmers and nomadic pastoralists take a different approach. They are working towards a better future by committing to the restoration of degraded land using Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
A week ago, the twelfth ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP12) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) took off in Ankara, Turkey. This convention originated from the Rio Conventions of 1992 and specifically focuses on desertification and land degradation. Karin van Boxtel of Both ENDS was there, and today, together with several other organizations that also attended the conference, she launches a document with recommendations for policymakers about the financing of the so-called ‘Land Degradation Neutrality’-concept, one of the many topics that fueled the discussions during the convention. So what is it, and why is it so important?
Various donors and funds promised to make donations to support the pan-African Great Green African Wall (GGW) against the desert. This became clear during a meeting of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in the last week of February. In sum, these donations could mount up to around 3 billion US dollars. The envisaged 15 kilometers wide and up to 8000 kilometers long wall consisting of plants and trees will cross 11 countries south of the Sahara. The difference between failure and success will depend on the way the project is executed.
Today, the Right Livelihood Awards 2018 will be presented in Stockholm. One of the four people who will receive the prize this year is Yacouba Sawadogo, 'the man who stopped the desert'. Yacouba, a farmer from Yatenga, Burkina Faso, is one of the founders of so-called 'Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration' with which degenerated and dry areas are becoming green and fertile again. According to Both ENDS, Yacouba's award is very well-deserved!
Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.