The African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Permanent Inter-State Committee for the Control of Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), the SOS Sahel, the Pan African Agency for the Great Green Wall and the Government of Chad, organized the Second Africa Drylands Week during 25 – 29 August, 2014 in N’Djamena, Republic of Chad. The first Africa Drylands Week was held in June 2011 in Dakar Senegal.
The African Drylands Week is a regional forum that brings together experts, representatives of local populations, and policy makers from international, regional and local organizations to deliberate on Africa’s drylands development, focusing on successes and challenges they face, including sustainable land management.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Chad, H. E. Mr Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet opened the meeting through a statement delivered by H. E Mr Adoum Younousmi, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. Two hundred participants attended this event. Also present were the Chad Republic Parliament Speaker, H. E Mr Pierre Buyoya, High Representative of the African Union in Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) and several Ministers and Parliamentarians from AU Member States.
Millions of farm families in the Sahel, and Eastern and Southern Africa, have made advances in land regeneration by applying the principles of farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) of trees on their croplands. Communities in regenerating their forests and grazing lands through Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) have also registered successes. The meeting noted that their actions have resulted in multiple benefits in food security, resilience and adaptation to climate change, and the restoration of land and soils.
The meeting further noted that EverGreen Agriculture practices were widely recognized as ‘Foundational Practices’ to be applied universally in drylands because they do not involve cash investment, and complement all other improved agriculture and natural resource management practices. Also noted was the commitment made by African Heads of State, through the Malabo Declaration (June 2014), that 30% of all farmers shall be practicing climate smart agriculture by 2025; launch the African Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Alliance; the new vision of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP); and African Climate Change Program of 25 million farmers practicing CSA during the next ten years. Through their recommendations, participants proposed that all drylands development communities, through the African Union, the Great Green Wall Agency, all the drylands countries, and collaborating and supporting organizations, commit vigorously to achieving the goal of enabling every farm family and village across the drylands of Africa to be practicing FMNR and ANR by the year 2025. Coordination among actors and between interventions, as well as financing were identified as the most serious challenges in this endeavour.
Side event
The African Forest Forum, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, organized a side event titled “Management practices to mitigate land degradation and desertification in light of climate change in Africa: What avenues for scaling up?” on 27 August 2014. The aim of this event was to share information, experiences and other knowledge products from work undertaken by AFF and its partners on land restoration in different regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. AFF received feedback on, and identified the way forward with, the management practices that have potential for mitigating land degradation and desertification in the context of climate change in Africa. Prof Mahamane Larwanou (AFF) and Prof Paxie Chirwa (University of Pretoria) represented AFF at these events.