CIRAD’s commitment to the new Great Green Wall campaign

Institutional news 13 May 2022
CIRAD is fully engaged in the current vision of development driven by the Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative, especially the goal of ensuring the fight against desertification becomes an opportunity for local economic development. In a position paper, CIRAD describes its commitment, alongside some 50 partners in seven of the GGW countries, illustrated by a selection of emblematic projects.
© Raphaël Belmin, CIRAD
© Raphaël Belmin, CIRAD

© Raphaël Belmin, CIRAD

Launched in 2007 by the African Union to combat land degradation and desertification, the Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative was given a new approach and new priorities at the One Planet Summit in January 2021.

This pan-African initiative now takes account of consultations with local communities and ensures its actions are scaled according to the territories in question. CIRAD fully supports this new vision of the Great Green Wall.

In this context, CIRAD is contributing to this game-changing initiative by different means, specific to its competence, its expertise and its scientific excellence.

Integrated territory-based approaches

The goal of the initiative is to couple ecological restoration with socioeconomic development, in particular by strengthening the agricultural sector and its value chains in the territories.

Territory-based approaches are a priority research topic at CIRAD, which is thus providing its recognized expertise in the management of common goods and the organization of actors and governance systems to support the GGW initiative.

Development through research

The continuum between research and development is a key element of the new GGW campaign. The co-design of solutions to problems on the ground with the beneficiary populations, which has been the preferred approach adopted by CIRAD for many years, is also endorsed by this initiative.

With its national partners, CIRAD adopts an inclusive approach, built on questions raised at the local level. Together, they implement research and development programmes, especially within the framework of five platforms in partnership for research and training (dPs).

Context-based multi-level research

The context-based research conducted by CIRAD takes account of the diversity of socio-ecosystems in the GGW countries. This approach, which addresses the specific challenges of each territory, meets the need for multi-level integrated research, as mentioned in the initiative’s 10-year priority investment plan (2021-2030).

The need to consider impact

Analysing the impact of work and research, by establishing appropriate indicators, is essential to the initiative. CIRAD will contribute to this process by using and sharing its tools to measure impact, especially the ImpresS methodology it has developed.

This methodology is original in that it involves all partners. Through a participatory co-design process, it produces a shared vision of the expected impact of research actions and of the process to monitor and evaluate this impact.

A support framework aligned with the Ouagadougou Declaration

In 2018, CIRAD and several research institutes in the Sahel region (*) signed the Ouagadougou Declaration in order to support agricultural and rural development in the Sahel.

The focal areas identified by these research actors are fully articulated with the five key pillars of the GGW.

The position paper takes up these focal areas, integrating them into the framework of the five pillars:

  1. Restoration, planning and recovery of land and water resources and biodiversity conservation
  2. Managing and reducing vulnerability to climate impacts
  3. Economic development and security
  4. Communication, marketing and advocacy
  5. Building technical and scientific capacities, based on training, professional development and support for research.

A selection of emblematic projects illustrates the specific actions currently conducted on the ground in the context of these focal areas and pillars in the seven GGW countries. These projects are coordinated by CIRAD or one of its partners.

Some of these focal areas are also taken up in the French Scientific Committee on Desertification (CSFD) 2022 Topic Brief on the GGW.


Download the position paper


(*) The Ouagadougou Declaration (2018) was co-signed by:

  • the national agricultural research centres (CNRA),
  • the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS),
  • the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF),
  • the West African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL),
  • CIRAD,

and validated during the 2019 Niamey workshop.