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Africa resolutions after the Cop 21 Paris summit

By on December 7, 2015

Ten African countries have committed to restore 31 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, under a new push to make 100 million hectares productive again by 2030.

The AFR100 scheme, launched on Sunday in Paris, will be backed by $1 billion from the World Bank and additional funds from Germany, as well as $545 million in private-sector investment.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta.

“If the Congo Basin is not well managed, the land will become degraded and turn into grassland, and then the desert will take over the whole of Africa,” Henry Djombo, Republic of Congo’s forest economy minister, told the launch of the initiative in Paris.

The new land restoration programme builds on national commitments made by African countries for a U.N. deal to tackle climate change, due to be agreed in the French capital next week.

“These countries are well on their way to meeting the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land, which will help sequester carbon and bring economic benefits to low-income, rural communities,” said WRI president Andrew Steer.

As well as storing carbon, forests and trees can improve soil fertility and food security, increase water supplies, reduce desertification, boost biodiversity and help create green jobs, according to a statement on the AFR100.

Restoration is already happening. For example, in Niger, farmers have increased the number of trees across 5 million hectares of agricultural land, improving food security for 2.5 million people, the AFR100 noted.

The countries taking part so far are Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda.

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