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Building on the UN’s System-wide Initiative for Africa, the forum aims to address land and water related environmental challenges facing African countries in an integrated manner, and will provide a framework for the co-ordination of bilateral and multilateral donors.

The Africa Land and Water Forum is being launched to coincide with the UN Security Council’s African Month. It is intended to provide an opportunity to engage the wider scientific and technical African community in the design, preparation and implementation of the Land and Water initiative. Scientific networks of the Academy comprising of more than 1600 experts will contribute to the Forum.

The Forum will play a role in the implementation of the co-ordinating mechanism on desertification established by the Algiers Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in July 1999.

In February 1999, UNEP’s Governing Council decided that Africa should take priority as one of the organisation’s five areas of concentration.

In March 1999, at the annual Heads of Agencies meeting of the GEF, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the Executive Director of UNEP and the President of The World Bank agreed that the issues of land and water degradation are crucial to Africa’s sustainable development. They decided to develop a co-ordinated Action Programme to address these issues through the the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which is a tripartite partnership among the three agencies (see related story).

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