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Statement by President von der Leyen on the Great Green Wall at COP26

Statement given yesterday by President von der Leyen on the Great Green Wall at COP26.

Dear President Macron (Emmanuel), 

dear President El Ghazouani, 

Your Royal Highness, 

The fight for the climate goes hand in hand with the fight for nature.

The Great Green Wall is a beautiful example for that

and it is a beautiful example

of sustainable development at continental scale. 

It can and will deliver significant 

economic, social and environmental benefits. 

I was struck to read that the Wall will sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon. 

That is as much carbon as all forests and land

in the EU have removed in 2018. 

At the same time, 

it is expected to create 10 million jobs in rural areas by 2030. 

As you know, 

the EU has been committed to the development of the Great Green Wall since its start. 

I am pleased that a number of countries have taken ownership of the Great Green Wall initiative. 

And we witness an increasing participation of local communities.

The EU currently provides over 700 million euro per year in funding. 

We will mobilise even more than that

and work together with our African partners to make this initiative a reality. 

Green growth, 

including sustainable land management, 

will be a key priority for the EU-African Union Summit in February 2022. 

We are launching a number of initiatives 

that form a mosaic of actions in support of the Great Green Wall. 

For instance, in September, we launched our new NaturAfrica initiative. 

NaturAfrica landscapes will constitute building blocks of the Great Green Wall. 

It is about sustainable agriculture, forestry, land restoration and green value chains. 

In our new international development programme,

the Great Green Wall priorities 

feature prominently in most Sahel countries that are part of it. 

We will contribute to different pillars of the Great Green Wall.

and thus supporting local communities, 

while restoring the environment and reversing biodiversity loss.

Sustainable land management is key

to meet the development needs of growing populations in Africa.

Around 45% of Africa's land is impacted by desertification.

Fighting land degradation is thus key to ensure food security. 

It is about protecting the livelihoods of millions of people.

The Great Green Wall shows how climate action combines local action and global ambition.

It is an initiative that should encourage us all to make a success of this COP.

Click here for the full press release


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