A new dawn for Africa
Land restoration can already contribute to the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals.[i] Yet, the most vulnerable will be left behind unless there is a significant and coordinated action that also addresses youth employment and reintegration of vulnerable individuals in migration prone, fragile and conflict-sensitive areas.
Land restoration to promote sustainability, stability and security, is a bold step towards an inclusive green growth approach. It will reduce the environmental impact of several economic sectors while creating jobs that conserve and rehabilitate the environment. It could lift tens of millions of vulnerable young people out of poverty. It is estimated a global transformation to a greener economy could generate up to 60 million additional jobs globally[ii] over the next two decades.
Africa, in particular, has enormous potential to achieve a positive development trajectory if it adopts a green economic model. New horizons will open up. With its rapidly expanding labour supply, complemented by fast-growing domestic markets and a rich supply of natural resources and diverse ecosystems, economic and social progress can be achieved – for all.
By promoting the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups of society, the 3S Initiative is a step in the right direction. It will stabilize “at risk” areas, provide an effective response to potential crises and create opportunities for a new start in life. It will give people choices and a new day will dawn for Africa.
Success will depend on political leadership at all levels, forward thinking investment, cutting edge knowledge and technology and capacity building. African governments will need partners and the involvement and support of stakeholders from across civil society, especially entrepreneurs and youth.
1. Create two million green jobs for vulnerable groups, in particular young people, migrants, displaced populations and individuals targeted by extremist groups, through the investment in the restoration and sustainable land management of ten million hectares of degraded lands by 2025;
2. Strengthen access to land and tenure rights to increase the sense of belonging to a specific community and place, particularly in fragile areas;
3. Prevent displacement by improving preparedness and early warning systems for drought and other natural disasters.
[i] UNCCD (2016): A Natural Fix. A joined-up approach to delivering the global goals for sustainable development, http://www.unccd.int/Lists/SiteDocumentLibrary/Publications/4_2016_Land_SDGs_ENG.pdf
[ii] ILO (2013): Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs, p. 32.