March 1, 2018 | Events

Accra, Ghana hosted this year’s  Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) conference. Over the last couple of decades, the Sahel region has been plagued with desertification. This has resulted in the degradation of natural landscapes in the region. This has been as a result of rampant deforestation perpetuating desertification and land degradation in the region. Populations in the region depend on rain-fed agriculture. The Sahel has however become prone to vulnerabilities such as food insecurity and water scarcity. Through a partnership approach, member countries of the SAWAP collectively envision a table and sustainable Sahel region. In lieu of the above, the program advances the agenda of the great green wall, an initiative of reclaiming the Sahel’s degraded lands and to attain sustainability by planting trees. The 4th SAWAP conference was thus another forum to discuss on matters pertaining to sustainable land and water management practices.

Sahel-TerrAfrica partnership

At the 4th SAWAP conference held in Ghana, Professor Frimpong Boateng, the country’s finance minister expounded on the role of the SAWAP in advancing the great green wall’s initiative. In his keynote speech he said that Ghana had collaborated with TerrAfrica to implement sustainable land and water management practices in the country. The Sahel project is aimed at reducing land degradation in Ghana. It would also aim at augmenting biodiversity particularly in a couple of Ghanaian watersheds.

During the 4th SAWAP conference, it was established that sustainable land and water management practices were integral to attaining the twin benefits of food security and water reliability. Notably, the SAWAP conference aims at mitigating the effects of desertification and land degradation. Sustainable land and water management practices in Ghana were thus an important conference agenda. This is because Ghana and the Sahel are in the predicament they are because of man-made practices such as logging. This has impacted the ability of current generations to cater for needs such as food security. Such man-made practices will however also impact the ability of future generations in meeting their needs as impacts of climatic change are far-reaching.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) thus assert an approach that not only allows current generations to meet their goals but also doesn’t impede the ability of future generations to meet theirs. At the 4th SAWAP conference sustainable water management practices were one of the focal areas. Practices such as reforestation in Ghana through the green belt initiative are instrumental to the attainment of SDGs especially SDG 6 which calls for universal access to water. Through the partnership with TerrAfrica, the country can attain this goal both for current and future generations. The 4th SAWAP conference was thus an important platform that facilitates the attainment of environmental sustainability goals in the Sahel region.

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