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Fact of the Month - Word of the Week



LAND is our wealth and our future. A better future is possible if we care, protect, recover, restore and invest in LAND.The ground beneath our feet is more precious than we know. 

📚 Fact of the Month September -The Great Green Wall is more than just an environmental project  

The Great Green Wall is more than just an environmental project that is intended to restore 100 million hectares of fertile lands in the Sahel, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs.

"It's not just about planting trees in the Sahel region, but also about tackling issues such as climate change, drought, famine, conflict, migration and land degradation.

Africa's "great green wall" of vegetation should run 7,700 kilometers (4831 miles) across the Sahara and Sahel from Senegal to Djibouti. This vast stretch of trees is meant to reverse land degradation and combat poverty by creating jobs and boosting food security.

The Great Green Wall is a pan-African initiative to restore and sustainably manage land in the Sahel- Saharan region in order to address both land degradation and poverty. It was first envisioned in 2005 The African Union (AU) launched the initiative in 2007 under the name the Great Green Wall.

On 17 June 2010 the 11 Sahel states south of the Sahara created the Pan-African Agency of the GGW to coordinate its implementation and support resources mobilization

The Great Green Wall initiative promises to boost food security and resilience to climate change, create thousands of jobs for the communities along the path, especially women and young people, and address urgent threats to the people of this region such as drought, famine, conflict and migration.

Major progress has already been made in restoring the fertility of Sahelian lands, according to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), one of the key partners in the initiative. Examples include:

  • Ethiopia: 15 million hectares of degraded land restored. Land tenure security improved.
  • Senegal: 11.4 million trees planted. 25,000 hectares of degraded land restored.
  • Nigeria: 5 million hectares of degraded land restored. 20,000 jobs created.
  • Sudan: 2,000 hectares of land restored.
  • Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger: about 120 communities involved; a green belt created over more than 2,500 hectares of degraded and drylands; more than 2 million seeds and seedlings planted from fifty native species of trees.

The initiators emphasize that the Great Green Wall makes a vital contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that it is a global symbol for humanity overcoming its biggest threat: the rapidly degrading environment.

On its website, the initiative states: “It shows that if we can work with nature, even in challenging places like the Sahel, we can overcome adversity, and build a better world for generations to come.“

Further reading: compilation prepared by UNCCD Library 

📚 Word of the Week- Land restoration

Land restoration is the process of regaining ecological functionality of degraded land, thus reinstalling ecosystem goods and services. To be effective and sustainable, land restoration should be approached at the landscape scale, which is referred to as landscape restoration.

Despite increasing rates of land degradation, it is possible to reduce and even reverse these processes through restoration and improved land management to strengthen communities’ resilience to climate change, reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and ensure food security for generations to come (FAO 2019; IPCC 2019). Reducing and reversing land degradation can be achieved through a number of initiatives, including the achievement of UN SDGs, the Rio Conventions and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021 -2030).

One of the key objectives of the UNCCD is to reach Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030, a target also included in the SDG 15. LDN aims to balance land degradation with land restoration, to eventually maintain or even increase ecosystem functions and services as well as food security from land resources.

Progress towards the target of restoring 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems by 2020 is limited. Nevertheless, ambitious restoration programmes are under way or proposed in many regions, with the potential to deliver significant gains in ecosystem resilience and preservation of carbon stocks. The target has not been achieved (medium confidence). (Source GBO5)

Restoring 160 million hectares of degraded agricultural land could boost smallholder farmers’ incomes in developing countries by $35-40 billion per year while providing additional food for nearly 200 million people. Forest restoration can also help reduce carbon emissions while boosting rural livelihoods and jobs, including in high-income countries.(Source)

Publications, articles and more about land restoration, GGW  from UNCCD Library

📚 Word of the Week- Land Degradation Neutrality( LDN)

A state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems (decision 3/COP.12, UNCCD, 2015a). Decision 3/COP. 12 Integration of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets into the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Intergovernmental Working Group report on land degradation neutrality.

The LDN concept has been developed to encourage implementation of an optimal mix of measures designed to avoid, reduce and/or reverse land degradation in order to achieve a state of no net loss of healthy and productive land. LDN aims to balance anticipated losses in land-based natural capital and associated ecosystem functions and services with measures that produce alternative gains through approaches such as land restoration and sustainable land management.

LDN is a simple idea and a powerful tool. It means securing enough healthy and productive natural resources by avoiding degradation whenever possible and restoring land that has already been degraded. At its core are better land management practices and better land use planning that will improve economic, social and ecological sustainability for present and future generations.

Numerous direct links exist between LDN and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as eradicating poverty, ensuring food security, protecting the environment and using natural resources sustainably. LDN serves as a catalyst in achieving these goals.

Publications, articles and more about Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) from UNCCD Library

📚 Word of the Week- Food security

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. (World Food Summit, 1996)

“We believe in a world where healthy, sustainable and inclusive food systems, allow people and planet to thrive. It is a world without poverty or hunger, a world of inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, and social justice. It is a resilient world where no one is left behind.” Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit

Despite its multifaceted nature, the debate surrounding food security over the last few decades has largely focused on production and on the challenges facing the agricultural system. Food security has also been directly associated with hunger, poverty and humanitarian aspects. Although agriculture and fisheries are fundamental and essential components of the food system, it is misguided to address the future of food security without looking at the system’s many other determinants. The time has come to overcome this conventional approach and to look systemically at food security and its complex nature (Source)

There is more than enough food in the world to feed the world’s population of 7.8 billion people. But, today, almost 690 million people are hungry, the food systems are failing, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse. It is increasingly clear that we must act now to address the impending global food emergency and avoid the worst impacts of the pandemic, the Secretary-General stresses in his latest Policy Brief on Food Security. Access it here


The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all.Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics.  These are developed starting from scientific and evidence-based reports produced by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) and/or through work supported technically by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP) and representatives of the CFS Advisory Group. CFS holds an annual Plenary session every October in FAO, Rome.

Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is essential for enhancing food security and nutrition and supporting the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. (Source)

In 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit to raise global awareness and land global commitments and actions that transform food systems to resolve not only hunger, but to reduce diet-related disease and heal the planet. The Secretary General is calling for collective action of all citizens to radically change the way we produce, process, and consume food.

Food is a life force for our families, cultures, and our communities. But profound changes in the way food is grown, processed, distributed, consumed, and wasted over the last several decades has led to increasing threats to a future of food that is sustainable, equitable, and secure. Food interconnects with all aspects of our lives: Water • Land • Energy • Culture • Jobs • Technology • Economies • Policies • Families.

Publications, articles and more about food security from UNCCD Library