In times of ever-increasing pressure on the resources land, water, and biodiversity, the restoration of degraded forests and lands is more urgent than ever. Bringing back trees into the land offers multiple benefits for sustainable development, the fight against poverty and hunger, for conserving biodiversity and for adaptation to climate change.
In 2015, AFR100 was founded in Durban by a group of 10 African countries, each committing to restore a certain number of hectares of degraded landscapes within their borders. AFR100 is an Africa-wide initiative fostering a multi-sectorial landscape approach with 28 countries committed to bring more than 100 Million hectares under restoration by 2030.
Restoring landscapes that have been degraded by the effects of climate change and human development through planting trees and encouraging sustainable farming and herding – known as forest landscape restoration (FLR) – must first and foremost provide food, jobs and homes for people, as well as preserve their cultures that are based in the products of their lands.
AFR100 is owned and led by Africa: The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) coordinates restoration activities on the continent and serves as the AFR100 Secretariat. African stakeholders — from community leaders and smallholder farmers, to government representatives at all levels and investors — drive the agenda.
The 2019 program was very informative and people from various parts of the continent were sharing their stories. On Saturday, 26 AUDA-NEPAD organized a field trip to the forest called Achimota Forest Reserve, where attendees were experiencing great work done at site. The Forest Commission Regional Manager for Greater Accra, Edith Ansah explained that the forestry is playing a vital role in supplying people of the west part of Accra with water as it was their primary source of water and the dam falls is under Water Resource Commission. They plant trees near the dam in order to avoid erosion and water pollution.
“Forest landscape restoration is more than just planting trees,” said Mamadou Diakhite, team leader of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) Secretariat at African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in his opening remarks of the Fourth AFR100 Annual Partnership Meeting (AFR100 APM). To underscore this message, he repeated the phrase three times and to the applause of his audience in a packed auditorium at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The Fourth AFR100 APM acknowledged that AFR100 will never reach its goals without putting young Africans and entrepreneurs at the centre of its programs, therefore during this year’s Annual Partnership Meeting, five Youth Ambassadors were brought to injecting fresh energy into the debate. They are Honorine Uwase Hirwa (Rwanda), Mmabatho Motsamai (Botswana), Joseph Tsongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Siyabulela Sokomani (South Africa) and Tabi Joda (Cameroon).
The participants also agreed that the U.N. Decades on Ecosystem Restoration and Family Farming present an excellent opportunity to accelerate effort to restore degraded and deforested landscapes in Africa. After the meeting, AFR100 joined the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Accra to share what they discussed with a broader audience. The GLF is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on sustainable land use, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. South Africa is a member of the AFR100 and has committed 3.6 million hectares with key priority interventions in water retention and landscape stability, soil and donga rehabilitation and restoration and re-vegetation, just to mention but a few.
Report and Photos: Saziso Dlamini and Teko Nhlapo