26 May 2011: The 40th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, together with the tenth meeting of the Council of the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), has approved an integrated land-use programme to fund investments to address priorities set by 12 African countries in West Africa and the Sahel.

The new programmatic approach will address desertification and food security in Africa, including through a US$108 million project administered by the World Bank. Further commitments expected by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and other international donors for related programming are expected to draw close to US$3 billion.

The programme includes the Great Green Wall Initiative, which will create a biological corridor along Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. It also includes Benin, Togo and Ghana, which also have important savannah and forest systems linked to the Sahel/Sahara region.

The goals of the programme are to: expand investment in sustainable land and water management technologies in order to help communities adapt production systems to climate variability and change; improve land use planning; and improve climate and water monitoring network improvements, institutional cooperation within and across countries, and evidence-based policy development. [GEF Press Release] [IISD RS coverage of the 40th meeting of the GEF Council]