On Wednesday 22 May 2019, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei will host the event “Africa’s Great Green Wall: A transformative tree planting for sustainable rural development”, a lecture by Moctar Sacande, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

For too long, the Great Green Wall has been a dream. More than a decade after its launch, the epic ambition to convert Africa’s drylands into green and productive landscapes, where rural communities could thrive, remains elusive. However, FAO’s Action Against Desertification could be a game-changer. Its large-scale restoration of thousands of hectares of degraded lands is bringing real changes in the lives of rural communities in the Sahel. Scaling up this successful tree planting model offers a real transformative opportunity.

FAO’s land restoration approach has been successfully put in practice in transboundary interventions in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 120 villages and 50.000 farmers has been involved. Half of the farmers were women. 55 woody and herbaceous species has been planted, using over 1 million seeds and seedlings. 2.235 hectares of degraded land has been restored.

Moctar Sacande is International Project Coordinator, Forestry Policy and Resources Division, FAO.