GEF newsletter Greenline

TerrAfrica: a partnership for sustainable land and water management Sub-Saharan countries (WB)

By World Bank's TerrAfrica Team


TerrAfrica is an African-driven global partnership program to scale up sustainable land and water management across sectors in over 23 Sub-Saharan countries. The partnership supports this effort by reinforcing investments, institutions and information at country and regional levels.

Partners are financing a range of activities.  The World Bank’s TerrAfrica portfolio is now well over $2 billion in active and pipeline projects as well as analytical and advisory services; other partners such as AfDB, FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, bilateral donors, and African countries themselves, bring the total value to well over $3 billion.   The GEF committed to TerrAfrica in 2007 by approving the $1.25 billion Strategic Investment Program for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Nearly all of its 37 projects are now being implemented. The Africa Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD) hosts and manages the TerrAfrica secretariat and co-chairs the SIP Steering Committee.

TerrAfrica partners are united by the view that securing land productivity while managing land use change and climate risk requires an expansion of sustainable land and water management (SLWM).  Expanding uptake of SLWM technologies—such as natural regeneration of tree cover, soil and water conservation, watershed planning, water harvesting, integrated nutrient management, low tillage or agroforestry—requires sustained country dialogue to align fragmented investments, information, and institutions.

Countries and their partners are increasingly expanding the public sphere on policy and practice across institutional, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries, and integrating SLWM in national planning and larger-scale investment and budget planning.  This renewed emphasis on natural capital is resulting in multiple wins including environmental benefits such as improved soil structure and fertility, watershed and ecosystem function, and greater biodiversity in production landscapes. Such global public goods are leading to more secure livelihoods, economic growth, and less hunger.

World Bank/GEF Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in Support of the Great Green Wall Initiative

This program, approved by GEF Council on May 26, 2011 supports the implementation of a country-driven vision for integrated natural resource management for sustainable and climate-resilient development in 12 countries in West Africa and the Sahel (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan, and Togo). This program is one of the initiatives of Terrafrica.

Its objective is to expand sustainable land and water management (SLWM) in targeted landscapes and in climate vulnerable areas in West African and Sahelian countries.

Key program performance indicators

  1. Increase in land area with sustainable land and water management (SLWM) practices in targeted areas
  2. Changes in vegetation cover in targeted areas
  3. Targeted institutions with increased adaptive capacity to reduce risks and respond to climate variability
  4. Change in carbon accumulation rates in biomass and soil

Program rationale

Sahelian economies and livelihoods heavily depend on soil, water, and vegetation. The state of these resources has been steadily deteriorating as a result of expanding human settlement and demand for more food, fodder, fuelwood, and water. Frequent droughts accompanied by unplanned, unsustainable, and poorly managed use of land and water have, along with natural climate variability, caused the drying up of rivers and lakes, while wind and water erosion have removed valuable soil, affecting the productivity and integrity of land resources – and with it, greater insecurity, vulnerability, and reduced growth opportunities.

Program financing

The program approaches $2 Billion, with grants of over $100M from the Global Environment Facility, the Least Developed Countries Fund, and the Special Climate Change Fund.  The program builds on a series of existing and planned World Bank investments of up to $1.8 billion in parallel co-financing, plus government co-financing.

Sustainable Land Management in Practice: Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa

This new TerrAfrica Partnership publication prepared by WOCAT and coordinated by the FAO of the UN:

➜ highlights the main principles of SLM;
➜ describes criteria for adoption and upscaling of SLM;
➜ provides a basis for informed decision-making;
➜ offers a framework for investment in SLM on the ground;
➜ identifies, analyses and disseminates best practices for improved productivity, livelihoods and ecosystem services;
➜ addresses SLM planners and implementers;
➜ is illustrated with 47 case studies from 18 countries;
➜ is a practical guide for investment and operation design

 Dowload publication in: EnglishFrench 



Get involved. Follow the GEF!