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The Sahel is as much a land of opportunities as it is of challenges. Home to over 135 million people, the region has abundant human, cultural and natural resources, offering tremendous potential for rapid growth. Yet deep-rooted environmental and socio-economic challenges—from stability and food security, to desertification and climate change—affect the prosperity and peace of the Sahel.

Established in 2007, the Green Great Wall (GGW) is one of the earliest international land restoration initiatives, bringing together African countries and international partners, under the leadership of the African Union. Its vision has evolved into an integrated ecosystem management approach with a mosaic of different land use and production systems. By 2030, it aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs.

Faced with coordination challenges and technical barriers, a GGW Accelerator was established in 2021 to ensure more coordinated support to GGW Member States and institutions, while supporting the implementation of the GGW. Through its programme of loans and grants, IFAD coordinates its actions with the Accelerator and other partners to scale-up the GGW, taking part in several task forces to better coordinate, develop and measure the impact of GGW programmes.

IFAD plays a leading role in developing regional support programmes, funded by the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility. Through collaboration, IFAD ensures that knowledge is shared among GGW stakeholders, including the private sector and farmers’ organizations. We map innovation and digital transformation technologies and are building a digital and innovation platform to share this knowledge.

IFAD supports more than 30 projects in the Sahel and has launched several multi-country projects with partners, including IGREENFIN, which supports access to credit for green agricultural investments, and the Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme, which restores degraded land and provides agricultural insurance in six GGW countries.

Working with FAO and WFP, the Regional Joint Programme Sahel for emergency and rural development in the Sahel (SD3C programme) aims to revitalize economic activities and food systems in the Sahel.


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Janie Rioux

Senior Climate Finance Specialist, GEF coordinator

Maxime Thibon

Senior Technical Specialist, Climate Change

Pierre Yves Guedez

Senior Technical Specialist, GCF focal point

Related projects

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Sustainable Natural Resources and Livelihoods Programme


Strengthening Productivity and Resilience of Agropastoral Family Farms Project (RePER)


Agriculture and Livestock Competitiveness Programme for Results - PCAE-PforR

Related events

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IFAD at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15

December 2022 - EVENT
The governing body of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will have its 15th meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP15) to approve the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.


November 2022 - EVENT
The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) will focus on adaptation and agriculture, calling for scaled up financing for poor and vulnerable communities so they can cope with the increasing impacts of climate change.


May 2022 - EVENT
This year’s COP15 theme, ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', is a call to action to ensure land, the lifeline on this planet, continues to benefit present and future generations.

Related news

Related news

COP26: New US$143 million investment to restore Great Green Wall ecosystems and increase climate resilience in the Sahel, announce IFAD and GCF

November 2021 - NEWS
A new US$143 million investment programme will ensure millions of the most at-risk rural people living in the Sahel region of West Africa can adapt to climate change, with a wide-reaching plan to restore degraded land and provide climate information systems and agricultural insurance. The announcement was made today at the UN climate change conference (COP26) during a signing ceremony of the grant agreement between IFAD and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

IFAD and GCF scale-up action to improve life for millions of people and restore ecosystems in Africa’s Great Green Wall

January 2021 - NEWS
A new investment programme is planned to support Sahelian governments through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and IFAD in order to boost climate finance for these rural populations.

Related stories

Related stories

The thin green line that’s holding back the Sahara desert

May 2022 - STORY
The Great Green Wall was envisioned as a line of trees stretching across Africa to protect against desertification. Today, it is a mosaic of farms, forests, and wilderness, where sustainable agriculture is the norm and rural-dwellers thrive.

These numbers show that restoring drylands and preventing desertification is good for the planet – and good for us

May 2022 - STORY
From California to the Sahel, from the steppes of Central Asia to the Andes, drylands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. But they’re also some of the most fragile.

To “green” the Sahel, we need big plans and small actions

January 2021 - STORY
The best way to make the desert bloom is to dig a hole. Not a well, but a shallow pit in the sandy soil about as wide as the length of your forearm. Then add some dung, plant your seeds, and wait for the rains.

Related publications

Related publications

IFAD Strategy and Knowledge Department Learning Note #1

August 2022
The Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) Learning Note #1 captures lessons about the design and supervision of Green Climate Fund (GCF) projects and lays out some possible recommendations, in order to build IFAD’s capacity and continue strengthening the partnership with GCF.