UNCCD and GEF Host Consultations on Great Green Wall

20 February 2011: The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have co-hosted consultations among government representatives, bilateral and multilateral donors, international financial institutions and other organizations on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

The consultations took place in the form of an experts meeting on 18 February, and ministerial consultations on 19 February, both in Bonn, Germany. Environment ministers and other stakeholders from Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan participated, and considered how to prioritize financing for the initiative, which is still currently in a design stage. The preservation of Lake Chad was emphasized for support under the GEF's international waters investment portfolio.

A press release on the event indicates that the GEF "expressed interest in supporting the proposed investment possibilities of what could be up to US$115 million through its various financing windows – including the Least Developed Countries Fund, and other resources within the GEF that encourage sustainable development focal areas on biological diversity, sustainable land management and climate change." Other development partners also made pledges in support of the proposed investments, which could ultimately reach US$3 billion for sustainable development in these countries. The consultations took place on the side of the ninth meeting of the UNCCD's Committee on the Reivew of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 9). [UNCCD CRIC 9 Webpage] [GEF Press Release]