President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has officially launched the Great Green Wall Initiative (GWWI) in Somalia, to help combat the climate change and desertification issues plaguing the country.
President Mohamud announced this during the GWWI launch on Thursday, 13 July, 2023. In his address he mentioned the financial preparations Somalia had made to address the environmental and agricultural issues the country was facing.
“Today we officially launch the Great Green Wall Initiative in Somalia and announce our financial commitment of 10 million dollars which will be part of our country’s allocation from the adaption fund in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development.”
Somalia’s Future with the GGWI
The GGWI is a Pan-African environmental protection project launched in 2007. The initiative aims to undertake green projects from the Sahel regions to the Horn of Africa. The launch saw key attendees from Somalia’s Federal Government, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the UN, and other international partners.
The president considered Somalia’s inclusion in the Great Green Wall Initiative to be “a significant milestone in our country’s commitment to addressing climate change and environmental degradation that has caused so much suffering to our people.”
Somalia’s decision to join the GGWI has increased the number of African countries it’s aligned with to 37. These countries are situated in the Sahara, Horn of Africa and Southern Africa Dryland regions, all of which are impacted by climate change.
President Mohamud has already displayed his interest in battling climate by launching the ‘Regreening Somalia Initiative’ in October 2022. The initiative, which will now be assisted by the GGWI, currently aims at planting 10 million trees to help resist climate change and
The Coordinator of GGWI, Elvis Tangem, has proclaimed Somalia’s decision to join the founding fathers of GGWI, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Eritrea in the fight against climate change, as historic.
“It is now time for action, we want to see all other restoration initiatives done by private individuals, NGOs, and government, all implemented as one – GGWI Somalia,” Dr Tangem noted.
Somalia’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Khadija Al-Makhzoumi, has expressed hope that the initiative would play a major role in solving Somalia’s climate-related challenges.
“We hope this project will go a long way towards assisting Somalia in solving its challenges, which include deforestation and the climate crisis,” she stated.\
Climate Change Effect on Africa and Plans to Fight Back
Africa is increasingly exposed to climate shocks, though at four percent global greenhouse emissions, the continent is among the lowest global warming contributors. Countries like Somalia and Malawi in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa have been struck by severe droughts and cyclones due to climate change.
The African Union, through GGWI, plans to restore a total of 910 million hectares of degraded land by 2063. The AU also plans to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs by 2030 across the Sahel region and dry lands of the continent.