How can drylands restoration help improve the lives of millions across Africa?

25 May 2021


Find out at GLF Africa, 2–3 June 2021

Bonn, Germany (25 May 2021) – Almost half of Africa’s landscape is made up of drylands, which are areas that suffer from high water scarcity and are especially vulnerable to land degradation. Africa’s drylands are home to over 500 million people, who depend primarily on rain-fed agriculture and livestock husbandry for their livelihoods.

Yet these livelihoods now face three interconnected threats: climate change, armed conflict, and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 1.3 million people face starvation in Madagascar, while 29 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Sahel – and this may be just the tip of the iceberg. Africa is likely to face growing environmental challenges in the coming decades, with land degradation set to displace up to 135 million people globally by 2045.

WHAT: The Global Landscapes Forum is organizing the first-ever conference focusing entirely on African drylands. GLF Africa: Restoring Africa’s Drylands will address the urgent need to rapidly increase and improve efforts to restore the world’s drylands, almost half of which are located in Africa.

From crop diversity to financing, from policy commitments to the role of women and youth, sessions will cover African dryland restoration from all angles while lending a platform to a diverse range of voices from across the continent.

The fully-online conference will also showcase a variety of digital innovations, including a virtual tour of East Africa’s savannas and a film festival exploring how pastoral communities across Africa gain their livelihoods from livestock production.

WHEN2–3 June 2021, starting at 8:30 AM EAT (UTC+3). The full program is available here.

WHERE: The event will take place on a digital conference platform, with selected content broadcasted live via the GLF’s social media platforms, including YouTube and Instagram.

WHO: Hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum, the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, the conference will bring together over 5,000 participants from across Africa. Youth will play a leading role in shaping the event and the continent alike: 70 percent of currently registered participants are between the ages of 18 and 35. Young people not only make up Africa’s largest demographic but also offer unparalleled enthusiasm, creativity and innovation.

GLF Africa 2021 occurs within the framework of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, an initiative of the UN Environment Programme and FAO, and with support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Participating journalists can expect to witness a mix of high-profile speakers, policymakers and scientists from Africa and around the world, as well as on-the-ground practitioners working to restore Africa’s drylands.

  • Rain-fed landscapes are also essential to smallholders nurturing crops and grazing livestock. Yet these landscapes are rapidly degrading, partly because of climate change.
  • In a worst-case scenario, warming of 4°C by the end of the century would cut Africa’s crop yields by between 8% and 13%.
  • Furthermore, temperatures in the Sahel are climbing 50% faster than the global average, worsening water scarcity, reducing crop yields and livestock productivity, and affecting food security and prices.
  • As food systems falter, farmers and farming communities are struggling with reduced opportunities, and many are forced to seek new lives elsewhere.
  • Additional waves of COVID-19 will intensify these disastrous outcomes. Urgent action is needed before it is too late.

Speakers across the two-day digital event will include:

Sessions will cover:

Global launches include:

  • The GEF-7 Dryland Sustainable Landscapes Impact Program: This program will catalyze the transformation of drylands management across 11 countries across East, West and Southern Africa as well as Central Asia.
  • Rangelands Atlas: This soon to be launched global atlas includes a series of 16 maps to show biodiversity-rich and protected areas, threatened species and climate change impacts in rangelands.

Our partners include:

Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR–ICRAF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Bank Group, WWF, Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany and many more.

***To request interviews with GLF speakers, researchers whose work will be discussed in the launches and youth leaders, please message Melissa Angel,***

INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING: register as press here.

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