On 12 September 2020, the 17th United Nations International Day for South-South Cooperation, Dr. ZHANG Linxiu, the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme- International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), gave an exclusive interview from UNEP to introduce works completed by China and UNEP under the framework of South-South cooperation about Africa`s Great green Wall Initiative in the Sahel region.
UNEP-IEMP is a global center jointly initiated by the United Nations Environment Program and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is the first global center of the United Nations Environment Program established in the global South and for the global South. The center focuses on the UN Environment Program`s “Climate, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods” flagship program, which aims to assist developing countries to improve their livelihoods by restoring and conserving key ecosystems in the context of climate change, and provides services on monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, and technology demonstration and science for policy.
As the largest ecological restoration project in the world, the Great Green Wall of Africa plans to plant green belts across the African continent along the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sub-Sahara Desert to tackle land degradation, climate change, poverty, employment, migration and other socio-economic and environmental issues. This initiative is an African Union-led movement of epic proportions initiated in 2007 to green the entire width of Africa, a very dry region extending from Senegal to Djibouti.
Under the Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods programme there are four major UNEP-IEMP projects currently being implemented in the Sahel region and part-funded by the Chinese Government. These are: a UNEP-Global Environment Facility (GEF) project titled Enhancing Capacity, Knowledge and Technology Support to Build Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Developing Countries (2013-2020); the UNEP-Ministry of Science and Technology project titled Joint Research on Practical Technology to Combat Desertification for African Priority Countries of the Great Green Wall (2019-2022); the UNEP-National Natural Science Foundation of China(NSFC) project titled Formation Mechanism and Control Regimes of Desertification in Mauritania (2019-2023); and the UNEP-NSFC project Driving Mechanisms of Land Use and Land Cover Change in the Sahel: Impacts and Responses (2017-2021).
Director ZHANG introduced the center’s work on ground demonstrations, capacity building, and partnership building based on the above projects and partners in the Sahel region of Africa. She stated the future plan and vision of South-South cooperation between China and UNEP. UNEP-IEMP will continue to play the role as an international platform and to boost science support for policy. "We also aim to promote South-South cooperation in experience sharing and scientific decision-making, and to contribute to achieving a land degradation-neutral world by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals," she added.
To read the original UNEP interview, please click here.