National studies on land, climate, energy, agriculture and development in the 11 Sahel countries and a regional synthesis report on rural development, livelihoods and job creation in the Sahel region were published by the Agrhymet Regional Centre of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in Niger and the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn (ZEF) in Germany in January 2021.
The studies provide knowledge and critical insights on the nexus of land degradation, climate change and energy in the Sahel. Moreover, they identify policy entry points and investment opportunities that will help advance economic growth, food security and job creation in the region.
The major findings show that socio-economic solutions such as improving access to markets, strengthening social safety nets, increasing investments in transport and energy infrastructures, promoting land tenure security, and expanding off-farm employment opportunities can significantly contribute to sustainable rural development in the Sahel, particularly by aiding climate-change resilience and sustainable land management.
Among the key technological innovations identified by the researchers that could boost such a development are: Expanding irrigation practices and adopting water-use-efficient irrigation techniques, increasing crop diversification and agricultural mechanisation, as well as investing in restoring and rehabilitating degraded lands through reforestation, afforestation and agroforestry practices.
Key lessons learnt from ongoing national policy initiatives for sustainable development emphasise the importance of actively involving stakeholders in consultation processes for policy formulation, and of establishing effective mechanisms for policy monitoring and assessment. By taking these factors into account, sustainable development policies and programmes can be implemented successfully in the Sahel region.
The researchers conclude that to attain the overall goal of a prosperous, food-and-nutrition secure and peaceful Sahel, policy and action-oriented research is needed on the following specific objectives: