From July 15th to August 11th, 2013, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) organised a first E-Forum with the objective of strengthening the involvement of the civil society in the implementation of the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI). Over 130 participants took part in this E-Forum. The results of the online consultation were presented in Windhoek, Namibia in September 2013 at a “side-event” during the 11th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). This “side-event” was organised by RESAD and IUCN.
On the basis of this forum, IUCN and UNEP have reflected on greater synergy among actors in the implementation of the GGWSSI. This discussion led to a project concept submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which has been retained. IUCN and UNEP will soon submit the complete document of projects eligible for GEF funding, according to Marcello Rocca, the IUCN communication and knowledge management specialist.
The project is entitled “Closing the gaps in Great Green Wall: Linking sectors and stakeholders for increased synergy and scaling-up.” Its objective is a greater implementation of policies for sustainable land management in the Sahel (GGW countries) through enhanced investment, inter-sectoral coordination, and engagement of marginalised groups.
To enable this project to value the best experiences and to the civil society committed to the GGWSSI to contribute to this document, considering that GGWSSI is already functional with partners involved in its implementation, IUCN is organising a second E-Forum, from Wednesday 7th to Tuesday, 20th of January 2015, that will help to deepen the issues raised by the former.,
The discussions and exchanges will take place over two weeks. The first week will allow participants to identify groups of actors and their needs to take sufficiently into account in GGWSSI. The second week will provide documentation and best practices in connection with the GGWSSI and the needs of identified groups. A final summary will be proposed at the end of the discussion forum. The results of this forum will be presented at a dissemination workshop that will integrate the proposals in the final document of the project.
Rocca adds: “Still in a participatory way, and to strengthen the synergies of actors, this forum is open to civil society organisations and key partners to identify practical actions to strengthen the participation of all stakeholders in GGWSSI and strengthen its implementation.”
The GGWSSI is a planned project to plant a wall of trees across Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara desert as a means to prevent desertification.