AFRICA: GEF releases $18 million for sustainable agriculture in four countries

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AFRICA : GEF releases $18M for sustainable agriculture in four countries © GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

The Governing Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved $18 million in funding for five countries in Africa and Latin America. The funding supports sustainable agriculture projects implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Good news for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Its sustainable agriculture projects in five countries have received a positive endorsement from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Board of Directors of this financial institution based in Washington, D.C., approved $18 million in funding that should benefit African and Latin American countries.

In Nigeria, GEF funding will support a project aimed at the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of a lowland forest landscape to protect biodiversity and strengthen the “sustainable” livelihoods of local communities. According to the FAO, the project will restore one million hectares of land including 12 forest reserves and the Okomu National Park in Edo State in southern Nigeria.

Sustainable water management in East Africa

The other FAO project covers Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda. In these East African countries, the UN agency will focus on the sustainable management of groundwater for water supply, agriculture and ecosystems often degraded by drought.

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According to FAO, these projects, including the one in Venezuela, will improve the conservation management and sustainable use of more than 8.3 million hectares of protected areas, improve the management of 10 000 hectares of land and restore an additional 24 000 hectares of natural forests and grasslands. They will also mitigate 4.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and directly support nearly 92,000 people, including indigenous peoples and local communities.

“Resilient and productive land and water ecosystems are the foundation for the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems,” says Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director-General. Overall, over the past four years, GEF support to FAO is expected to result in the management of 150 million hectares of land and seascape, the restoration of nearly 4 million hectares of land and the return of more than 2 million tonnes of overexploited fish to sustainable levels. According to the Rome, Italy-based organisation, these investments, totalling $600 million, will also reduce GHG emissions by over 570 million tonnes. At the same time, more than 13 million women, men and children are expected to benefit directly from these investments.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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