UNDP and the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall Team Up to Green the Sahel for Sustainable Livelihoods

March 1, 2022

Nouakchott, 1 March 2022 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) have signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to reinforce and operationalise collaboration towards the common goal of contributing to the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) in the Sahel region.

The signing ceremony took place in Nouakchott, Mauritania, with the Executive Secretary representing the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall and Luc Gnonlonfoun, Deputy Resident Representative (Operations) representing the UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa.

The Sahel region is blessed with abundant human, cultural and natural resources, offering tremendous potential for rapid growth. With a population of over 300 million and a rising urbanisation trend, the region offers immense opportunities for the global market, including economic diversification, value-chain development, and livelihoods improvement. Despite this, the Sahel, like most of the world, finds itself amidst a climate emergency, faced with severe land degradation, drought, and desertification that have collectively contributed to the scarcity of arable land for agriculture, pastures, and water for animal husbandry.

This agreement signals a firm commitment from UNDP and the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall to put the region on track. The MoU builds on the high ambitions and expectations of both organisations to advance the GGW Initiative in the Sahel, strengthen the institutional capacity of the Pan African Agency, and contribute towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

"We welcome this partnership with UNDP, which will support our efforts to concretise actions for the implementation of the GGW Initiative through the formulation of the Multi-State programme in the eleven countries, which brings together all the regional projects of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall and those of the States," said Ibrahim Said, Executive Secretary of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall. "We hope this partnership would become a model for other projects in the various fields of actions related to the GGW Initiative", he added.

Through this agreement, UNDP not only recognises the necessity to restore lands and preserve biodiversity to face climate change but to contribute to the sustainable development and stability of the region by increasing the climate resilience of its populations, enhancing social cohesion, and creating income generation and economic opportunities, especially for women and youth, at the local, national, and regional levels.

"The Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall is a key actor not only in the framework of the Great Green Wall Initiative but more globally for the stability and sustainable development of the whole region; with substantial contributions on the peace and security nexus and the reinforcement of social cohesion," stated Luc Gnonlonfoun, Deputy Resident Representative (Operations), UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa. "It should be emphasised that with the signing of this MOU, UNDP has high hopes for collaboration between our two institutions to strengthen the effectiveness of our actions in the countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW). This operational and strategic support will enable us to further engage with the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall in the implementation of the GGW," he added.

The partnership will run for the next five years and will focus on formulating and implementing a Multi-States programme led by the Pan African Agency. It will also focus on the co-development of a UNDP-PAGGW project aligned with the five priority areas of the Pan African Agency Priority Investment Plan for 2021-2030, namely:

  • Sustainable Land Management and Planning, Water Resources and Biodiversity
  • Climate Action and Green Economy
  • Resilient Economic Development and Security
  • Scientific and Technical Capacity Building
  • Information, Communication, Marketing and Advocacy

The partnership will enhance the leadership and institutional capacities of the Pan African Agency to best coordinate and implement actions that advance the initiative in the eleven countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.


For more information, contact:

Thomas Pitaud, Programme Specialist, UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa


Ugochukwu Kingsley Ahuchaogu, Communications Specialist, UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa


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About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet. The UNDP Sub-Regional Hub for West and Central Africa (UNDP WACA) covers 24 countries, ranging from high and middle-income economies to least developed countries and countries in crisis and post-crisis situations. UNDP works with its national counterparts in the sub-region to support the implementation of national development priorities and achieve the sustainable development goals.

Learn more at www.africa.undp.org

About the Great Green Wall Initiative

The Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) responds to the climate and environmental challenges faced by the Sahel region. It is among the major regional initiatives opening opportunities to the region's untapped potential to transform its future and become a major player in the global economy. It has evolved from its initial focus on tree planting towards a comprehensive rural development initiative aiming to transform the lives of Sahelian populations by creating a mosaic of green and productive landscapes across the continent. In recent years, this vision has evolved into an integrated ecosystem management approach, striving for a mosaic of different land use and production systems, including sustainable dryland management and restoration, the regeneration of natural vegetation, and water retention and conservation measures.

Learn more at www.greatgreenwall.org