How Ethiopia’s green legacy initiative fits in Africa’s Great Green wall

Ethiopia’s Green Legacy campaign which aims to plant about 20 billion seedlings in five years will change not only the forest coverage of Ethiopia, but also contributes to the success of Africa’s battle against desertification, according to officials of the government as well as relevant international institutions.

In a bid to battle desertification, the pan-African proposal of the Great Green Wall initiative was launched by African Union to plant a wall of trees which is 15 kilometer wide and 7,100 kilometers long at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert striped from Dakar to Djibouti.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commissioner Professor Fekadu Beyene announced recently that Ethiopia is working to develop its forest coverage to 30 per cent in 10 years where the current Ethiopia’s forest coverage is limited to 15 per cent including two meter bushes.

According to Professor Fekadu Ethiopia’s green legacy initiative is an initiative of tackling desertification, climate change and global warming which is a critical threat of the world at this time.

Citing assessments by FAO and UNEP Down to Earth website noted that 319 million hectares of land in Africa is vulnerable to desertification due to sand movement. Desertification is moving at an annual rate of five km in the semi-arid areas of West Africa. It added that millions of people could move from the desertified areas of sub-Saharan Africa to North African and Europe.

According to the article published in this website in 2016 with a topic “desertification in Africa: 10 things you must know”, every year, Africa loses about 280 million tons of cereal crops from about 105 million hectares of croplands which can be prevented if soil erosion is curbed.

In Africa, dry land covers 65 per cent of the continent where one-third of this area is hyper-arid desert and completely uninhabited, except in oases. While the remaining two-third of the dry lands, which comprises arid and semi-arid lands, are home to about 400 million Africans. Gradual desertification in Africa is having a far-reaching impact on human health, food security and economic activity of the continent, it noted.

The African initiative of Great Green Wall aims, by 2030, to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million jobs in rural areas, according to the Great Green Wall Website. The goal of the initiative is working together to build a better future for everyone.

On the side of Ethiopia, the article stated that at least 70 per cent of Ethiopia is prone to desertification while Kenya, around 80 per cent of the land is threatened by desertification.

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also noted that an estimated 92,000 hectares of forests and woodlands, as well as two billion metric tons of fertile soil are lost every year in Ethiopia due to improper land use, poor land management practices, population pressure, overgrazing, deforestation, climate change and lack of renewable energy.

Both FAO and the Great Green Wall strongly argued that reforestation is the only mechanism restoration and to tackle desertification of the continent which have a direct impact on the continent’s overall development.

In fighting climate change and deforestation, Ethiopia is launching last year an ambitious target of greening Ethiopia as part of its development endeavor. In 2019 rainy season Ethiopia has planted over four billion trees where 84 per cent of the panted seedlings were survived.

During the 2020s World Environment Day, Ethiopia also launched its 2020 green legacy initiative to plant five billion trees in this rainy season. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed during the World Environment Day said that our natural environment is an important determinant of human health and a healthy ecosystem which supports biodiversity.

Like other parts of the world, Ethiopia has confronted with climate change and environmental degradation which contributed to flooding, soil erosion, deforestation and biodiversity lose, therefore countering climate change is a timely hot issue to this generation, Premier Abiy noted on his video statement.

On 2020s World Environment Day, “in Ethiopia we officially launch the 2020 green legacy program which set an ambitious target to plant five billion seedlings in one season which is part of the target goal of planting 20 billion trees during a four year period, Premier Abiy said.

According to Dr. Abiy the green legacy initiative launched last year resulted in the planting of over four billion seedlings nationally by mobilizing over 20 million people. “From the last years planted seedlings, 84 per cent have survived” adding that “our green legacy initiative is critical to us in to build a green and climate resilient economy”.

The Ethiopian Herald Jun 20,2020


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