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    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

    In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent. Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.

    Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum. Reuters - November 30, 2007.

    SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals. Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.

    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. Canada.com - November 21, 2007.

    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

    Timber products company China Grand Forestry Resources Group announced that it would acquire Yunnan Shenyu New Energy, a biofuels research group, for €560/$822 million. Yunnan Shenyu New Energy has developed an entire industrial biofuel production chain, from a fully active energy crop seedling nursery to a biorefinery. Cleantech - November 16, 2007.

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

EU and Africa to build a 'Green Wall' across the Sahara

At the second EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon this weekend, the European Union and African states have agreed to implement an ambitious project of an almost 'geoengineering' scale: to build a 'green wall' of trees across the vast Sahara to push back desertification and to secure agriculture and livelihoods in the sahelo-saharan zone. The massive afforestation project will create a buffer that must protect populations from the effects of climate change and that will help countries achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

The idea of a 'Green Wall for the Sahara' was first developed by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and presented to the African Union (AU) in 2005. After informal consultative meetings and brainstorming sessions, the AU Commission wrote a draft concept paper outlining the plan. In it, the greening concept is conceived of less as a mere afforestation effort by states and more as an integrated project based on a clear societal and cultural vision, aimed at promoting sustainable development managed by the communities of the sahelo-saharan region themselves. Key objectives are the conservation and recovery of existing vegetation; the introduction of new plantations; the promotion of modern bioenergy instead of unsustainable biomass use; improved range and water resources management.

There have been precedents to such a project, but they have been limited in scope: the ‘Green Belt of Northern African Countries’ which was launched in 1978 drawing on Algeria's experience with a 3 million hectare stretch of land 1500 km long and 10-20 km wide. Similarly, the ‘Green Belt for Nigeria’ initiative that was formulated in response to the threats of desertification and deforestation that was detected using satellite imagery taken between 1976/78 and 1993/95, which in fact led to declaration of these threats as emergency issues. It had an objective of planting about 300 million trees on 240,000 thousand hectares. The most successful example on which the Green Wall Initiative will draw is China's vast reforestation programme initiated in 2000, which is known as ‘The Great Green Wall’ with a view to increasing the extent of planted forest network by 5 million hectares until 2010.

Some of the defining characteristics of past efforts in Africa are that they have had an initial conceptual bias or fault or had a limited area of coverage, were isolated, not coordinated, and therefore their impact on the fight of desertification could not be commensurate with the needs. The Green Wall Initiative is a much larger, integrated transboundary project that will stretch from West to East and comprise the combined capacities of more than a dozen countries (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cape verde, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Erithrea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saharawi Arab Republic, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, The Gambia, and Tunisia).

The AU asked the EU for help with further designing and implementing the plan, which was consequently taken up in the Joint EU-Africa Strategy's Action Plan 2008-2010. It ranks as the second priority in the Africa-EU Partnership on Climate Change that will be endorsed today and enscribed in the Lisbon Declaration.

In the EU's Action Plan, the 'Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative' is described as having the following objectives and outcomes:
  • to combat desertification and improve the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the countries of the Sahara and Sahel zones of Africa by achieving the reversal of desert encroachment and soil degradation
  • the improvement of micro-climatic conditions and reduction of land degradation
  • to identify the relevant activities in the 'Green Wall Initiative' adapted to the national and regional context
  • to enhance environmental sustainability within the framework of regional and international environmental agreements
  • to advance the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and to improve the knowledge on land degradation and desertification
  • to control land degradation, promote sustainable land management with a view to integrate land management issues in national development strategies, including poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs), and increase land productivity and food production
  • to promote integrated natural resource management and conserve biological diversity
  • to address the problems of land degradation and increasing aridity at all relevant levels to respond to local needs and build on local and individual efforts and successes
  • to create awareness and promote wider public involvement in arresting desertification in a sustainable manner
  • to identify and promote alternative livelihoods and productive systems for the populations affected by desertification
A large list of actors and institutional frameworks will participate in the project. Amongst them are:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

  • AU Commission/NEPAD, African States, RECs, local communities
  • Regional technical institutions and networks
  • European Commission, EU Member States
  • African Development Bank, civil society and other interested actors
Appropriate financing sources will be created in accordance with their respective scope and their relevance to objectives and activities concerned, their specificity and eligibility criteria, such as the 10th EDF, ENPI, DCI, and appropriate thematic programmes on Environment and Natural Resources; bilateral contributions from EU Member States and African states will be made; and the private sector as well as the African Development Bank will be involved.


For the EU, the project is of key strategic importance, because climate change will affect Least Developed Countries and other vulnerable developing countries earliest and hardest. Adaptation is necessary to prevent a societal and economic crisis on the continent that could spill over to the EU. Africa will be particularly affected by climate change in terms sustainable water supply and extreme weather phenomena such as floods, droughts and threats of desertification.

Economies and livelihoods of an increasing number of communities, countries and sub-regions in Africa continue to decline due to desert encroachment partly emanating from climate change and locally generated land degradation processes. In addressing these pertinent issues, Africa and the EU will engage in a partnership that will provide for dialogue, cooperation and exchange on concrete actions to respond to climate change and an effective channel for holding deliberations on a shared Africa-EU vision, with close links to the proposed Global Climate Change Alliance.

This will take into account African initiatives such as the African Climate Information for Development in Africa (ClimDev Africa) Programme and the need to implement and further develop climate change related instruments, especially the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP), but also the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and will represent an integrated framework for Africa-EU cooperation on climate change.

The ‘Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative’ could be justified within this context in a number of ways. The consequences of desertification and the attendant processes of resource degradation on livelihood processes are well known. Processes of desertification and resource degradation erode livelihood processes through narrowing down range of people’s choices and exacerbating various types of insecurities. In this sense, the fight against desertification could be conceived as the struggle to bring about sustainable development and improve the lots of the human beings.

Land degradation in arid areas have put under threat the livelihood of millions of people around the world; 10 million hectares of arable land is being degraded per annum; of the 130 million hectares of land seriously affected, 50% is in Africa. In view of the enormous economic importance of the phenomenon of desertification and its threat to sustainable development in the continent, African countries at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, urged the world community to address the issue. The resulting “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Seriously Drought and/or Desertification. Particularly in Africa”, recognizes this fact and therefore particularizes Africa. The Convention also has a detailed Annex for Africa as regard the implementation in the Continent. The Green Wall Initiative will constitute one very significant step towards the regional implementation of the Convention.

The Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Sirte Declaration on Agriculture and Water, both adopted by the African Union Summit in 2001 and 2004 respectively, have a comprehensive environment protection and management focus in which the control of land degradation and desertification is central. Furthermore international environment and sustainable development policy documents, such as the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), adopted by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, placed land degradation and desertification control amongst the priority interventions that need to be undertaken in Africa if the continent would achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental development. In view of the foregoing, implementation of the Green Wall Initiative in one of the hardest hit areas of Africa, as regards drought, land degradation and desertification, could be seen as one of Africa’s comprehensive approaches to tackle the phenomena in the framework of the said regional and international environmental development policies and to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

The implementation of the Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative will enhance capacity development in Africa for land degradation and desertification control through the exchange of experiences on good and bad practices in the framework of a south-south dialogue. Considerable amount of local knowledge exist in the different countries in Africa, which the Initiative could help to unlock for the benefit of Governments, practitioners, educational establishments and local communities.

The fight against desertification and resource degradation should, however, not arise out of a wishful thinking. Rather it is a question of converting desirability into possibility. There already exist a body of technical and scientific solutions to avert desertification and resource degradation. Hence, it is not something impossible. It is something desirable, but it is also something that is technically possible as well as politically achievable.

The sheer size of the area to be ‘greened’ under the Green Wall Initiative is itself a challenge to realize within the medium term given the population dynamics in the Sahel-Sahara areas. The situation is likely to be complicated by the transhumance activities of the livestock herders, which may interfere with reforestation, and rehabilitation/development activities in the rangelands. The development, implementation and maintenance of a good public relations strategy would be needed.

Climate change and variability and the frequent incidence of locust invasion may pose a serious threat to the success of the programme requiring huge financial investment in protection and irrigation of planted materials. A sustainable and well-coordinated effort especially against locust would be required. Recent experiences have indicated limited coordination and rapid response capacity in Africa to counter such eventualities. Deliberate and consistent conscious efforts would therefore be needed to address the threats. The successful implementation of the Initiative would therefore require the development of cooping mechanisms to the climate variability and change phenomena and therefore the need for a well thought out integrated approach. For the very dry areas, there may be need for conclusion of water transfer agreements between the water-rich and poor countries, which requires genuine political commitment to economic development in the other country.

Considering that most of the implementation will be done at the local and community levels, there would be need for extensive investment in capacity building and development as well as in adaptation of proven technologies to local conditions. In addition to financial resources, this would require core trained human resources, time and patience, which, given the pressure under which the Governments are to improve the lots of their populations, would pose a challenge.

Most of the populations in the sahel-sahara zone depend on unsustainably harvested wood fuel for domestic energy, yet the zone is ill endowed with these resources. To enhance the successful implementation of the Initiative, there would be need to introduce more efficient uses of biomass and sustainable land use systems give chance for the recovery of the vegetation cover.

Furthermore some age-old deleterious farming and cultural practices would need to be addressed with the view to changing them, while more appropriate ones are introduced or promoted where they exist. Given earlier experiences of unsuccessful attempts at attaining these changes due to deep-rooted customs and the need for attitudinal change, which has long-term perspective, innovative ways would need to be sought for the speedy implementation of the Initiative. The practice of transhumance, which is a livelihood system for many communities in the desert fringes, would need also to be cautiously addressed especially in areas of intensive implementation. Care needs to be taken not to unnecessarily disrupt livelihood systems in the name of ‘project implementation’.

Overall there would be need for policy change towards the integration of environmental protection in development policy of the countries concerned with the implementation of the Initiative. These policy changes would need to be backed up with strong data and information base.

The coordination of policies between countries with respect to certain actions such as community involvement, synchronization of actions with respect to implementation of common actions such as rehabilitation of cross-border ecosystems as well as the coordination of the activities of the Initiative and those of development partners would pose a challenge. For this reason strong and functional coordination bodies would be required at national and subregional levels to ensure smooth implementation.

Dimensions of the Green Wall
The initiative has several dimensions and it is seen as important that it is conceived from such a multi-dimensional point of view.

From the scientific and technical aspects, there will be need to identify and strengthen the scientific and technical capacities (the need to mobilize, enhance and strengthen the existing knowledge and capacity as relates to the project). In this relation, there is also the important aspect of the indigenous knowledge, often disregarded in the African context in favor of ‘imported’ knowledge which at times falls short of properly and adequately addressing the issues.

The whole area of environmental degradation and ecological recovery – including issues of bio-diversity, resource mapping (water demand and supply, soil nature and characteristics, availability of plant species including local species, etc) would need to be given adequate attention in the general context of an ecosystem approach.

The issue of information supply and management cannot be overemphasized – information on the ecosystems and the concerned communities, mechanisms of data collection, analysis and information dissemination and utilization, etc., will need to be taken into account.

Often neglected in approaches that are bent on mere technical solutions is the socio-economic dimension of the problem. Ultimately, the success or failure of the initiative squarely hinges on whether or not it musters enough support from the communities at grass-root levels. The question of who makes the choice on what and how is crucial in such kind of interventions – and the level and quality of communities’ participation goes without saying. At the center of it all is the livelihood systems of the people that are going to be affected by the intervention. Therefore for its success and sustainability the initiative needs to adopt approaches even beyond livelihood processes, which is an integral aspect of the socio-economic dimension. In other words, it should be linked with possibilities of commercialization with a view to making the whole project a meaningfully sustainable and beneficial economic activity to those involved.

Economic and commercial
The Initiative has economic dimensions. It provides economic opportunities for the local communities for income generation and poverty reduction through the promotion of and establishment of private wood fuel plantations, fruit orchards, vegetables gardening and marketing, opportunities for intensive livestock rearing and product processing, and promotion and development of needed artisanal skills to reduce pressure on the land.

Climate observation
In the context of the climate change and variability phenomena, the Initiative would have to promote climate observation for the region and link this to global climate observatory systems as well as mainstream climate information and environmental dimensions in policy formulation and analysis.

Another dimension of the equation is the issue of certification of forest products; i.e., generation and expansion of market demand for forest products obtained from forests managed in an environmentally friendly manner.

Institutional and legal
Then there is the institutional infrastructure (land use, rights, policies, legal framework, etc.) aspect of it. These should be explored in detail and addressed in an appropriate manner. Finally, the issue of resource availability – not just financial resources but also in particular labor availability - must be analysed carefully.

The EU-Africa Summit concludes today with the Lisbon Declaration. This key document will set out new policies and frameworks for joint cooperation on a number of important issues ranging from energy, migration, development, trade and adaptation to climate change. Biopact will be discussing the new policy lines as soon as the declaration is available.

African Union Commission, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture: The Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative - A Concept Note [*.doc] - May 2006.

EU Commission: Joint Africa-EU Strategy - Draft endorsed by the Africa-EU Ministerial Troika meeting of 31 October 2007 [*.pdf] - October 2007.

EU Commission: First Action Plan (2008-2010) for the Implementation of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership as endorsed by the Africa-EU Ministerial Troika, Accra 31 October 2007 [*.pdf] - October 2007.


rufus said...

You start with Jatropha, right?

8:35 PM  
Repellemblog.com said...

I love this idea. It's nice to see the rest of the world taking action to save the planet

5:09 AM  
Anonymous said...

and from where comes the water?

4:40 PM  
Biopact team said...

Good question: the water comes from improved water management. The very basics of water management have not been implemented in the Sahel, just like agriculture there can be improved massively with minor interventions.

This is more a project about efficiency than anything else. Because the Sahel can be green (as it was until recently) provided resources are managed in a much more careful and smart way.

The Green Wall will basically restore the vegetation that was lost through over-exploitation of resources.

Moreover, when fuel wood from the Sahel is used by local people, about 90% of its energy gets lost (they use open fires). Implementing modern bioenergy can radically change this situation. Add other renewables, and a lot can be achieved.

It will be key, however, to make this effort last long enough to actually push back desertification.

But since the EU is involved, I trust things are being taken seriously. It's a matter of national security for the Union; an even poorer Sahel in the 21st century poses a serious economic and social threat.

5:16 PM  

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