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The European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have launched the ‘Action Against Desertification' programme in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

The €41 million programme aims to enhance sustainable land management (SLM) and restore degraded lands and drylands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

FAO EU22 October 2014: The European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have launched the ‘Action Against Desertification’ programme in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The €41 million programme aims to enhance sustainable land management (SLM) and restore degraded lands and drylands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The programme will build on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative, which has supported sustainable management and restoration of dryland forests and rangelands in Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. The programme will focus on Haiti in the Caribbean and Fiji in the Pacific. ACP States face similar challenges related to degraded natural habitats, soil loss, biodiversity loss and reduced natural buffers to droughts and floods, according to the FAO.

“Sustainable land management is crucial to tackling the triple challenges we face from climate change, loss of biodiversity and food insecurity,” the EU’s Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said. He explained the programme will help communities “to better manage their resources, use them to create jobs and generate income and invest in them for future generations.”

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva underscored the role of tackling desertification and land degradation in fighting hunger and poverty. He said “recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”

The programme will promote agro-forestry and income-generation activities, particularly in rural areas and for women and youth, and support the sustainable production, processing and marketing of agricultural products and forest goods and services. The programme will also increase South-South cooperation by building on lessons learned from Africa’s Great Green Wall Initiative to help local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest-management practices. It will facilitate knowledge exchanges to allow farmers to learn about the causes of desertification and ways to prevent and combat it.

FAO will implement the project in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), the ACP Secretariat, the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), governments and other partners. The EU has provided €20 million from the European Development Fund for the project. [FAO Press Release] [Great Green Wall Initiative]

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