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Transparency and integrity of the Great Green Wall Initiative in the Sahel Region (GGWI)

Photo: Leela Channer/Transparency International

What's at stake?

The Sahel Region is one of the most environmentally degraded regions in the world. There are serious concerns about the vulnerability of Sahel communities to the impacts of climate change. Particularly, it is likely to dramatically affect livelihoods, and the pressure on scarce natural resources could lead to further conflicts in a very volatile region. Substantive funds for climate action are (meant to be) channelled through the Great Green Wall Initiative which tackles challenges of desertification, land degradation and climate change in the Sahel Region.

Concerns are voiced about the governance, implementation, and success of the initiative. The GGW 2020 progress report affirmed some divergence and discrepancies, indicating a concerning lack of coordination and oversight of the funds. This led to the GGW Accelerator being launched, which has now been operational for about a year. Most stakeholders indicated several governance shortcomings when it comes to the GGW. This includes:

  • overview of the actors included in the initiative
  • clarity around who is responsible for what
  • transparency around levels of spending
  • accountability around results achieved so far
  • degree of involvement of civil society

Stakeholders included in a preliminary consultation on the GGWI include global and national level stakeholders ranging from the World Resource Institute, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, national-level CSO leaders and social accountability experts.

What we're doing about it

Transparency International Secretariat will leverage the opportunity provided by the newly established Great Green Wall Accelerator to support improvements in the transparency and governance of Great Green Wall funds and project implementation.

  • At the regional level, this will involve using Transparency International’s global expertise, together with Transparency International's national chapter in Niger (TI Niger), to support the GGW partners and government agencies to strengthen governance arrangements of the initiative, establishing transparent and accountable systems for tracking funds, and, working with local civil society groups to set up oversight mechanisms for just and transparent allocation of resources and implementation.
  • Transparency International Secretariat will support Transparency International Niger to scope various approaches and pilot one to strengthen the national level governance and accountabilities for GGW initiatives – from national to regional/ global. This will begin with capacity building for local actors around assessing and monitoring climate finance. Transparency International Niger will be supported to work with climate-related government agencies involved in the GGW to minimise corruption risks and improve their policies.

Our approach

The project is divided into three phases to ensure the approach remains relevant, avoids duplication of efforts, and lays the foundation for scaled up impact.

1. The Scoping phase: will provide a comprehensive understanding of key stakeholders, accountability risks, and transparency gaps in GGW implementation. Transparency International will:

  • Produce a research report with regional analysis of project governance and national analysis of GGW implementation in Niger, building on existing initiatives.
  • Explore national and regional partnerships and coalition memberships.

2. The Implementation phase, Transparency International will:

  • Develop a regional-level advocacy plan that targets GGW implementors, donors and stakeholders to push for improvements from the research report.
  • Develop a national-level advocacy plan to target and accompany Nigerien authorities overseeing the implementation of GGW with policy recommendations revealed during the scoping phase.
  • Support the establishment of civil society oversight mechanisms that better ensure just and transparent allocation of resources during GGW implementation.
  • Conduct workshops for local civil society on collective action against corruption and social accountability tools.

3. The Learning phase, Transparency International will:

  • Develop a workplan for increasing the scale of the project and to include other countries in the Sahel.
  • Disseminate lessons learned from the project, scope potential partners in surrounding countries, and explore synergies with existing projects in the region.