GGW a commitment to creating a sustainable future: President
Kudzanai Sharara in Dubai, UAE
The SADC Great Green Wall project is a testament to the power of human ingenuity, community engagement and the commitment to creating a sustainable future, President Mnangagwa has said.
He, however, said the success of the Great Green Wall vision will be measured “by the lives and livelihoods transformed as well as ecosystems preserved and a collective impact that echoes across continents.”
The Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative aims to create productive landscapes in the Southern Africa region that contribute to regional socially inclusive economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.
Covering a total land area of 10 million km2, Southern Africa faces immediate effects of desertification, land degradation and drought, as well as challenges driven by climate change.
In that regard, the 16 countries, together with key partners, have a goal to initiate multisectoral partnerships and to acquire pledges of an indicative US$27 billion by 2025.
On Saturday the SADC region held a High-Level event themed: “SADC Great Wall, Scaling Up an African Ambition to Solve the World’s Pressing Issues”.
And making remarks at the event organised by His Excellency, President Hage Geingob and Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD on the sidelines of COP28 underway here, President Mnangagwa said the Great Green Wall revolution is further “going beyond the planting of trees and nurturing livelihoods”.
“This revolution is further going beyond the planting of trees and nurturing livelihoods fostering resilience and a source of transformation to lift our people out of poverty.
“Through the Great Green Wall Initiative, we are assuring deeper regional integration as articulated by the SADC Treaty,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe pledges to harness the potential within its diverse landscapes, tapping into the wealth of its heritage and knowledge ingrained in its people.
The need for sustained support of the international community as well as international financial institutions, including multilateral development banks and the private sector for long-term success, cannot be over-emphasised, he said.
“This Great Green Wall Initiative should be a beacon of international collaboration, uniting countries, and bringing Member States, the private sector, civil society, and individuals in a shared vision to combat climate change.”
About one-third of the SADC population lives in dry-prone areas where the frequency and intensity of drought and dry spells have dramatically increased over the years.
According to SADC executive secretary Elias Mpedi Magosi, speaking at the same event, more than 50 percent of households in the region rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking leading to deforestation.
“The deforestation rate in SADC countries is high reaching up to -2.4 percent per year,” Mr Magosi said.
The region has however made progress in some areas including the development of National Action Plans in all 16 States.
Mr Magosi said the region’s future depends fully on the way it manages its natural resources and “deliberately address climate change”.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco said GGW has “great potential to unite the (SADC) grouping”.
He however said there is a need to mobilise resources as the targeted US$27 billion is not enough.
“We need initial financing to trigger concrete measures,” in order to move from “ambition to actions.”