Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has committed 10 million U.S. dollars to tackling the triple challenges of desertification, climate change, and biodiversity losses.
The commitment will be part of the country’s allocation from the adaptation fund in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Mohamud said while officially launching the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on Thursday.
“Somalia’s succession to the GGWI is a significant milestone in our country’s commitment to addressing climate change and environmental degradation that has caused so much suffering to our people,” he said, according to a statement released on Friday.
The GGWI, a pan-African flagship program of the African Union established in 2007 to tackle desertification, climate change, and loss of biodiversity through a broad belt of green projects from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, is expected to boost the “‘Re-greening Somalia’ Initiative,” which was launched in October 2022 to plant 10 million trees in the country.
Hillary Sao Kanu, police commissioner of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) who represented Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the special representative of the chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, said the AU mission will continue to support the government in its efforts to re-green the country.
He said ATMIS has resolved to integrate environmental issues in all its operations in line with the commitment made by ATMIS and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) early this year.
“ATMIS with the support of UNSOS has already pledged to plant 30,000 trees around some 58 Forward Operating Bases before our final exit next year,” Kanu said.
Somalia now becomes the latest member state of the African Union to join the GGWI, which already has 36 countries from the Sahara, Sahel, Horn of Africa, and southern African drylands.
Somalia’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change Khadija Al-Makhzoumi said the initiative would go a long way to solving climate-related challenges facing Somalia, including deforestation and the climate crisis.
Elvis Tangem, coordinator of the GGWI at the AU Commission, described the launch as historic, noting that Somalia was joining its neighbors, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Eritrea – founding members of the initiative – to combat the effects of climate change.
Through the GGWI, the African Union hopes to restore a total of 910 million hectares of degraded land by 2063, with a midterm vision of restoring 100 million hectares, sequestering 250 million tons of carbon, and creating 10 million green jobs by 2030 across the Sahel region and drylands of the continent.