Bank Group Participates in Discussions on Greenbelt
The Bank Group participated in a two-day meeting of experts and the ministerial conference on the great greenbelt and the inland basin project, which took place from February 12-13, 2008, in Saly Portudal, Senegal. The great greenbelt is an initiative of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) that has been endorsed by the African Union and it is part of NEPAD’s environment action plan. The initiative is a 15 Km wide greenbelt stretching from Dakar to Djibouti and it contains wildlife that has been chosen for its ability to adapt to draught and can serve the region’s economic interest. Besides its wildlife units that are capable of developing production systems, the initiative also includes a network of inland basins and other basic social infrastructure.
The meeting aimed at identifying the greenbelt path and defining its structure and components, especially the fauna and flora. It also examined the role of the inland basins in the implementation of the Great Greenbelt, examined the terms of reference for the design of the greenbelt project document, and estimated the project cost and financing modalities.
Speaking during the event, Bank Group Resident Representative in Senegal, Mohamed H’Midouche, said that it was time "to consider poverty and desert encroachment as a single scourge." He added that "it was not enough to think of resolving the issue of the region’s vulnerability by attacking the symptoms which include famine, low household income and rural exodus, but rather striking at the roots of the problem, which is a lack of adequate management of water resources."
The two day deliberations ended with the adoption of a report and a resolution by experts. Wednesday’s ministerial meeting was chaired by Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, who is also the coordinator of the NEPAD environment component. The countries involved with the greenbelt project include Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The event brought together representatives of African and European countries, as well as experts of international organizations such as the African Union, FAO, the Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS), the EU, Sahara and Sahel Observatory (SSO), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), UNDP, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).