The Great Green Wall Status Report

A big data collaboration between Yale CEA and the UNCCD

Today’s world is inundated with streams of data, but decision-makers and designers of complex projects often still lack timely access to critical or trustworthy information for real-time situational analysis. Yale CEA is collaborating with UNCCD to use big data analytics to support the countries in Africa’s Sahel region seeking to address complex social, political and environmental challenges through the regional Great Green Wall (GGW) Initiative. The African-led initiative aims to transform the lives of 100 million of the poorest people on Earth. 


Drawing on Yale’s big data Analytics tool, eleven countries participating in the GGW —integrated their national data into an interactive and immersive format to visualize progress, map out strategic relationships, and make informed decisions.


The GGW’s epic ambition is to grow a 15 km-wide natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa. The initiative is already transforming land use and development practices throughout the Sahel and is an example for the world of how we can build back better, with and through, at scale nature-based solutions.

Yale CEA’s big data analytics tool, Socio-Ecological Visual Analytics (SEVA), helps to change the way society solves environmental challenges. SEVA allows to create data environments that enable multiple stakeholders to query, analyze, and share information in entirely new ways.

“Time and time again, we have seen that quantitative metrics are not always enough to shift public opinion and policy. Our framework allows stakeholders to access and visualize multiple types of data, from global aggregated statistics to in-situ conditions on the ground. We aim to enable participants to take ‘data journeys’ into future environmental conditions to explore the projected impacts and outcomes of various decisions”.  Anna Dyson, Director, Yale CEA, Hines Professor of Sustainable Architectural Design, YSOA with honorary appointment in the YSE.

Using SEVA, Yale’s tool, the UNCCD incorporated data from the “GGW: Implementation Status and Way Ahead to 2030” report released today. The report provides an overview of the progress made by countries to create a 15 km-wide and almost 8,000 km-long green corridor stretching across Africa from Senegal to Djibouti. The analysis through SEVA highlights the direct contributions of the GGW to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and to communicate insights and key information.

“We are calling on Government, Businesses and people everywhere to make the Great Green Wall a reality, to create a unique legacy for generations to come”. Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations.

More Information:

To access the Yale CEA SEVA 2-minute video summarizing the report, high-resolution footage of the Great Green Wall, click here

To access the full Great Green Wall report, click here

About the Great Green Wall

The Great Green Wall is an African-led initiative to transform the lives of 100 million of the poorest people on Earth by growing an 8,000 km corridor that will restore land, produce food, create jobs, and promote peace.


About the UNCCD

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement on good land stewardship. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage land degradation and drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss. Land also plays a key role in the prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, securing rural livelihoods and creating green jobs, supporting community resilience, and maintaining the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services.