The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa.
A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.
The Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration. Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Green Wall promises to be a real game-changer, providing a brighter future for rural youth in Africa and a chance to revitalise whole communities. It can unite young people around a common, epic ambition: to ‘Grow a 21st Century World Wonder’, across borders and across Africa.Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD
Improving millions of lives
The Great Green Wall is taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert – one of the poorest places on the planet.
More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences. Yet, communities from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back. Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.
With its capacity to unite nations and communities in solidarity, the Great Green Wall represents the best kind of international cooperation that will be required in this century.President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins
A global symbol
The Great Green Wall isn’t just for the Sahel. It is a global symbol for humanity overcoming its biggest threat – our rapidly degrading environment. It shows that if we can work with nature, even in challenging places like the Sahel, we can overcome adversity, and build a better world for generations to come.
The Great Green Wall is about development; it’s about sustainable, climate-smart development, at all levels. Each of the 30 countries developed national action plans, That is the biggest achievement, because now they own it. It’s about ownership, and that has been the failure of development aid, because people were never identified with it. But this time they identify. This is our thing.Elvis Paul Tangam
African Union Commissioner for the Sahara and Sahel Great Green Wall Initiative
Growing a World Wonder – Virtual Reality film
‘Growing a World Wonder’ captures the story of the Great Green Wall in awe-inspiring Virtual Reality (VR). The film follows Binta, a young Senegalese girl, as she and her family tend to their section of the Wall. It explores the challenges they face and how the project is already transforming their lives for the better. Created using the latest VR camera and drone technology, the film captures both the epic ambition of the project and the intimate human story of the people at its heart. The film is produced by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), developed in association with venture three, Apache, Al Maxwell & Surround Vision.
Desktop: Just click & drag to move around shot.
Mobile: Open in YouTube app and tilt screen.
Google Cardboard: Check Cardboard option and pop phone in viewer.
The film, which first premiered at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 to world leaders, has since featured at major public events across the world including amongst others. In October 2016, the film was awarded the “Best Documentary” prize at the 2016 Screen4All festival in Paris.
Growing more than trees
More than just growing trees and plants, the Great Green Wall is transforming
the lives of millions of people in the Sahel region.
The Great Green Wall makes a vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (known as the SDGs) – a global agenda which aims to achieve a more equitable and sustainable world by 2030.
There are many world wonders, but the Great Green Wall will be unique and everyone can be a part of its history. Together, we can change the future of African communities in the Sahel.Dr Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission
Great Green Wall online >>
Executive Producer Fernando Meirelles (Academy Award-Nominated Director of City of God&The Constant Gardener) and Malian musician/activist Inna Modja take us on an epic journey along Africa’s Great Green Wall — an ambitious vision to grow an 8,000km ‘wall’ of trees stretching across the entire width of the continent to restore land and provide a future for millions of people.
Traversing Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Ethiopia, Modja follows the burgeoning Great Green Wall through Africa’s Sahel region — one of the most vulnerable places on earth (temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average) — laying bare the acute consequences of severe land degradation and accelerating climate change the Wall aims to counteract: increasing desertification, drought, resource scarcity, radicalization, conflict and migration.
A Buena Vista Social Club meets Years of Living Dangerously, frontline characters give voice to a continent at a crossroads — stories Modja echoes on a sublime album. With the support of insightful musical collaborators (Didier Awadi, Songhoy Blues, Waje, and Betty G), Modja endeavors to amplify the promise of the Great Green Wall in helping to address the urgency of the real-time threats facing her beleaguered homeland.
I first came to hear about the Great Green Wall when directing the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, which had a segment about forests. I was amazed by the scale of the project. The Great Green Wall is an environmental and social project: support for it is very important. This is a hopeful documentary about a positive initiative.Fernando Meirelles
(Executive Producer, Great Green Wall Feature Documentary)
With almost half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 billion people under the age of 15 — a population set to more than double by 2050 — and over 80% surviving on some form of agriculture, upwards of 60 million people are expected to make a massive exodus. Although the film does the groundwork for a climate change cautionary tale, The Great Green Wall provides a refreshing story of resilience, optimism and collection action. If completed, the Wall will be the largest living structure on earth, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef — a new world wonder.
As Modja passionately pursues an African Dream for a generation seeking to control their own destiny, she reminds us of the enormity of the task ahead and that time is not on our side. The resulting journey of hope, hardship and perseverance reveals our shared human condition, reflecting a deeper moral and existential question we all must confront:
“Will we take action before it’s too late?”