Beating famine in the Sahel
The Beating Famine Sahel Conference, held from 26-28 February in Bamako, Mali, focused on farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) and other successful land restoration initiatives in the Sahel. It is estimated that FMNR has spread to 21-million hectares in the West African Sahel, making the region a world leader of the land restoration movement. The conference participants adopted a declaration to rally support to restore 100-million hectares of degraded land within the African Forest Landscapes Restoration Initiative (AFR100). Thematic sessions covered a large array of topics, including land restoration for food security and nutrition, agroecology in the drylands and strategies for empowering women and youth to engage in land restoration. An assessment of restoration opportunities in the Great Green Wall core intervention area estimated that 10-million hectares per year would need to be restored by 2030. A combination of sustainable management and restoration strategies now exist, including FMNR, agroforestry tree planting and sustainable land and water/soil management practices, to restore the productivity of the production systems (crops, pastoral and forest landscapes). While cost-effective and appropriate interventions are available, they are not yet well known or widely used. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to share successful strategies, create a supportive network of practitioners and mobilise partners. Organised by the World Vision and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), with the support of many international partners (CILSS, FAO, SOS Sahel), the conference brought together some 400 key stakeholders. Previous editions took place in Kenya (2012) and Malawi (2015).