‘Over the past three decades hundreds of thousands of farmers in Burkina Faso and Niger, on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, have transformed large swathes of the region’s arid landscape into productive agricultural land, improving food security for about three million people. Once-denuded landscapes are now home to abundant trees, crops, and livestock.'
The West African Sahel is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, due to land degradation, dependence on rainfed farming, political instability, poor governance, food insecurity, terrorism, poor infrastructure, and limited technical capacity. This has particular impacts on the agricultural sector (Sissoko et al. 2011; Zougmoré et al. 2016).
Unless countries can manage to mobilize millions of land users to invest their scarce resources in protecting regenerating trees, the battle against land degradation cannot be won. These experiences from Niger show that hundreds of thousands of smallholder farm families have substantially increased tree cover on their farm land by investing in the management of on-farm trees.
When the IFAD-funded project started in 1988, few people could have imagined that 15 years later the degraded plateaus would be covered with trees on land restored to production by individual smallholder farmers.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2021 to 2030 as the decade of ‘ecosystem restoration’, signalling a global consensus on the urgency to restore degraded lands.
Key success factors
There were several reasons for the success of the restoration initiative.
• Implementation had the active participation of the local community; i.e., it was community- led restoration.
• Restoration produced short- and long-term economic and environmental benefits.
• It systematically included women, girls and youth in restoration activities.
Drylands occupy more than 40% of the world’s land area and are home to some two billion people. This includes a disproportionate number of the world’s poorest people, who live in degraded and severely degraded landscapes.
Located in the arid and semi-arid areas of West Africa, the Sahel has undergone profound changes over the past 50 years.
The support plan for the Sahel is a regional approach to collectively address the root causes of disruptions such as poverty, migration and youth unemployment, climate change, insecurity, governance and institutional issues in the region.
This report uses household-level data from 33, mostly developing, countries to analyse perceptions of tenure insecurity among women. We test two hypotheses: (1) that women feel more insecure than men; and (2) that increasing statutory protections for women, for instance by issuing joint named titles or making inheritance law more gender equal, increases de facto tenure security.