A team of experts led by prof. Van Damme of FTA CZU published the final evaluation of FAO’s Action Against Desertification that mainly operated under the Great Green Wall initiative and was implemented in 2014-2020 aiming at tackling environmental impacts linked to drought and desertification in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Fiji, the Gambia, Haiti, the Niger, Nigeria and Senegal (partly during the COVID-19 pandemic).
The evaluation involved online and face-to-face interviews, field visits in 8 countries allowing for direct observation of land restoration and livelihood activities and came to the following conclusions.
- The project contributed to improve productivity of landscapes due to changes in traditional approaches to land management
- Changes in methodologies and planning that enhance restoration and adoption of novel approaches to degraded areas were also reported
- Van Damme´s team criticised the poor project inception phase which due to its shortness led to uneven development at institutional and grassroot-community levels.
- The evaluators questioned the project´s sustainability as well as the lack of proper project phase out (only partly due to COVID-19) that are mainly caused by a lack of proper vision on how reforestation works, the latter not being only about planting trees, but more on involving local communities for greater buy-in and ownership
- Concentrate on the African continent
- Decentralize management model
- Improve grassroot-informed institutional literacy and sustainable organizational structures for future interventions
- Adopt more holistic and multidisciplinary approach and apply tailor-made solutions
- Prolong inception phase
- Put people first
- Foster dialogue
- Take-up business approach
- Improve monitoring of the communication strategy on all levels
Read the full report HERE.