The support plan for the Sahel is a regional approach to collectively address the root causes of disruptions such as poverty, migration and youth unemployment, climate change, insecurity, governance and institutional issues in the region. In this report an overview of the current situation for each of the priority areas of the UN Support Plan is presented to demonstrate that the full implementation of the plan could utilize an existing momentum of development not seen in decades in the Sahel.
The Sahel is the youngest region in the world with close to 65% of the population below the age of 25. It further faces simultaneous challenges of extreme poverty, the dire effects of climate change, frequent food crises, rapid population growth, fragile governance, and terrorist- linked security threats. The world-famous trade and migration routes across the Sahel and the Sahara are being taken over by trans-national organized criminal groups and large-scale traffickers. A small proportion of the criminal or illegal proceeds is instead used to feed extremism and exacerbate instability. Conflict over access to land, water and other resources are significant.
Despite these challenges, the Sahel holds multiple opportunities. Initiatives from their own governments and people, supported by development agencies and foreign investments are also at last making a difference that we have not seen in almost 70 years. This report shows advances and real progress in several key areas.
Desertification is being reversed with over 32 million ha of land reclaimed in dry countries of West and Eastern Africa. This is bringing in jobs, cash incomes, improving food security and empowering women. It helps bring in stronger community engagement and reduce conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.
The Sahel Alliance committed in 2018 to implement over 500 projects worth over EUR 6 billion in the G5 countries between 2018 and 2022, especially in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Below are some of the the priority objectives of the UN Support Plan among which:
UN Support Plan Priority Four: Building resilience to climate change, decrease natural resource scarcity, malnutrition and food insecurity.
1. Facilitate at least 20 million farmers’ access to affordable drought-resistant seeds, fertilizers (organic/inorganic) and or irrigation facilities (including solar-powered facilities) by 2022 in the region (SDG targets 2.4).
2. Combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and support national and regional institutions to reclaim at least 10 percent of degraded land in 500 communities by 2022 (SDG targets 15.3).
3. Increase transhumance or cattle tracks by at least 30,000 to support pastoralism and reduce pastoralists-farmers kilometers by 2022 (SDGs targets 2.3; 16.1).
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The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.