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Launch of the 4th SAWAP Conference: which perspectives for the future?

A regional project to build resilience through innovation, communication and knowledge services – BRICKS; Implemented by three regional centers of excellence: CILSS, OSS, IUCN; Offering knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation services and geospatial services, communication and networking to a portfolio of 12 investment projects of the Sahel and West Africa Program in support of the initiative of the Great Green Wall : The scene is set for the fourth conference of the Sahel and West Africa program, to be held from 8 to 10 May 2017 in Accra-Ghana.

DSC_0220-300x200Around 100 participants from the 12 SAWAP projects (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Togo), from the 3 implementing institutions (CILSS, OSS and IUCN), from partner institutions (African Union, Pan African Great Green Wall Agency, FAO, PIF, SOS Sahel, ISRA, EO4SD initiative / ELEAF), from technical and financial partners (World Bank, The GEF) are attending this conference in order to ensure the coherent implementation of project activities and to share and value the results achieved in the implementation of the SAWAP program.The opening ceremony on Monday 8 May 2017 was chaired by the Minister of the Environment of Ghana, Prof. Frimpong Boateng, with Dr Djimé Adoum, Executive Secretary of the CILSS representing the 3 implementing institutions, Mr. Henry Kerali, Country Director of the World Bank in Ghana, Mr. Elvis Tangem representing the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean-Marc Sinnassamy representing the Global Environment Facility (GEF). These personalities have in turn reaffirmed their support for the SAWAP and recalled its importance for the region.

DSC_0110-300x200Mr. Henry Kerali of the World Bank recalled that the economies and existences of African dryland populations, especially in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, depend on land, water, nature and Of the other natural resources present. Unfortunately, these resources are degraded by unsustainable management, for example in a country such as Ghana, where 50% of the vegetation cover has been degraded during the last 50 years. The challenge of restoration requires a vision and synergistic actions between institutions. He therefore welcomed programs such as the African Union’s Great Green Wall initiative and the World Bank / GEF: SAWAP program, which managed to bring all these countries together to meet the challenge of land degradation .

DSC_0123-300x200Elvis Paul Tangem, coordinator of the Great Green Wall Initiative at the African Union Commission that he represented at this conference, also supported Mr. Kerali’s need for synergy by recalling that he Was one of the recommendations of the third SAWAP conference held in Dakar in May 2016. He also stressed the many benefits of the Great Green Wall Initiative for the region with thousands of hectares of restored degraded land , Millions of trees planted, improved livelihoods and millions of jobs created in beneficiary communities. This initiative has therefore become a political platform, a technique for exchanging and networking the capacities of countries, organizations, initiatives and expertise for our African continent. It is therefore time to highlight the achievements of SAWAP and the Great Green Wall for future funding and collaboration opportunities, including the involvement of the private sector, patronage and more concrete action by governments.

DSC_0121-300x200Mr. Jean-Marc Sinnassamy representing the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a donor of SAWAP, has made it a point of honor to say that SAWAP is the response of the World Bank and the GEF as needed From 12 countries in terms of practical solutions on the ground for scaled up results that would impact more than one million hectares managed on a sustainable basis and would benefit more than 7.4 million people. For example, SAWAP has focused on land, soil, water, nature and ecosystem services to provide protection and restoration of this nature for positive economic and social consequences. “This conference is the place to discuss and show the results of the SAWAP, not only to the countries involved, but also to the whole continent, all donors and all our partners.”

DSC_0116-300x200These results were also presented by Dr Djimé Adoum, Executive Secretary of CILSS, representing the three BRICKS implementing institutions, namely, the establishment of a regional portal for knowledge sharing, identification of 350 good practices in the SAWAP space, of which about twenty major interests will be published, the development and implementation of a communication strategy, capacity building of experts in communication and knowledge management, A guide on monitoring and evaluation, development of a geo-portal, preparation of the state of the SAWAP report, support to SAWAP countries, etc. These relevant results were made possible by the perfect collaboration between the project coordination and implementation structures. It is now time to draw up a picture of global prospects for the future of SAWAP in our environment.

DSC_0133-300x200Professor Frimpong Boateng in his opening address at the Fourth Conference, SAWAP congratulated the BRICKS platform of scientists and policy-makers for discussing the challenges of Sustainable Land and Water Management. These challenges are, in his view, important for the protection of the environment and the facilitation of the socio-ecological development of Africa. He also expressed the thanks of the Government of Ghana to the World Bank, the CILSS OSS and IUCN institutions, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for their significant contribution and support to countries. Ghana is involved in the process of Sustainable Management of Land and Water through various projects that have covered 5500 ha in 118 communities, involving 14,000 land users in sustainable land management practices. Socio-economic aspects of good land management is undoubtedly the contribution to economic growth, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, food security and the empowerment of women.

These 3 days of exchange, sharing and reflection on the prospects of this flagship program will therefore have to meet the ambitious challenges posed by the various participants and stakeholders present.