24 September 2009Senegal today called for United Nations support for the “Great Green Wall” project in which African countries have agreed to plant trees in a band across the breadth of the continent to try to lessen the effects of desertification. President Abdoulaye Wade told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate that he wishes the UN will endorse the project, “which contributes to the protection of the environment,” help in the battle against climate change and would mobilize thousands of people.The Great Green Wall will stretch about 7,000 kilometres from Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and will be about 15 kilometres wide as it traverses the continent.Senegal has responsibility for coordinating the project, and Mr. Wade said today that his country has already planted about 525 kilometres of trees, with Mali and Chad to begin work on their sections soon.“With the help of experts from around the world, we could select plants adapted to the relatively arid climatic conditions of the Sahelo-Saharan zone,” he said. “At the same time, we have decided to develop rainwater ponds along the course of this wall.”Mr. Wade stressed that Africa must play its part in wider global efforts to renew and protect the environment, saying the wall project is part of those efforts.He also said the wall project could lead to the mobilization of many young Africans in the service of a cause that boosts the environment and peace.

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