This year’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) partnership platform featured a tree planting ceremony. This event was organized by the Green-Aid sustainability forum to launch an initiative of recovering Africa’s forest cover by planting 100 million trees in the next three years. The root driver of this initiative stems from a need to restore the continent’s degraded lands and to remedy rampant deforestation. Undoubtedly, this initiative is informed by the CAADP’s agenda of agricultural transformation, However, since its inception, CAADP’s specific agenda changes as a reflection of changing continental needs. The 13th CAADP’s partnership’s focus on tree planting is thus a depiction of an urgent growing need.
Since time immemorial, forest cover has played a critical role in the preservation of Africa’s biodiversity. Trees have also been instrumental in the advancement of African goals supported by the CAADP such as food security and mitigation of negative effects of climate change. Another benefit is the provision of basic needs such as access to safe and clean water. Despite their vivid importance, deforestation has become the norm in many African countries and thus has ranked high as a concern for the CAADP partnership platform.
The effects of deforestation are primarily the degradation of African landscapes. Some compelling examples are the Sahel region and Sierra Leone. The latter is naturally covered with trees but deforestation has degraded the land. As a result, the region has become more prone to natural disasters such as landslides. Deforestation has also acted as a catalyst to other problems such as water scarcity, food insecurity, and acceleration of negative climatic changes. The CAADP partnership platform focuses on agricultural transformation so as to attain goals such as food security and access to water. Rampant deforestation and the resulting degradation of Africa’s landscapes thus naturally informed the 13th CAADP initiative of planting 100 million trees by 2020.
The tree planting initiative and the Malabo Declaration
It is of importance to note that one of the Malabo provisions from the previous partnership platform was the enhancement of Africa’s capacity in knowledge management. To build on this, the 13th CAADP meeting had a goal of creating a common comprehension of regional needs. This would be combined with an exploration of the role of National Investment Plans (NAIP) in the attainment of Africa’s goals. Unveiling a continental tree planting campaign at a CAADP partnership platform was thus an appropriate step. This is because the CAADP platform comprised of members from different nations who were united by an understanding of the continent’s needs. The 13th CAADP platform also featured key influencers of policy hence increasing the probability of attaining the goal of 100 million trees in Africa by 2020.