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projets restauration de la nature AFD
Close to 40% of the world’s land is degraded, according to the UN, which has made the need to protect biodiversity all the more urgent. AFD Group is convinced that biodiversity conservation and the fight against climate change go hand in hand, as we contribute to efforts to restore nature across the planet. Five flagship projects show how.

Originally published in August, 2023, this article was updated on 6 December, 2023. 

Globally, 70% of land is in a poor state of conservation due to human activities. This land degradation causes food insecurity, zoonoses (diseases communicable between animals and humans) and conflicts over access to natural resources.

In the face of continuing degradation of the natural world, July 13 marked a modest victory at the European Parliament, when it adopted the nature restoration law. This landmark text of the European Green Deal requires Member States to restore 20% of degraded land and marine areas on a continent where 80% of natural habitats are already degraded. 

This endangered land and loss of forests prevent carbon storage and accelerate climate change. Because restoring our ecosystems is more urgent than ever, AFD has committed to ensure that 30% of its climate finance directly benefits biodiversity by 2025, an objective achieved in 2021, and to double its biodiversity finance to €1 billion by 2025.

In 2022, more than €1 billion was committed for projects that benefit agriculture, rural development and biodiversity. These investments will finance the conversion of 166,500 hectares of farmland to agroecological systems. More than 2.2 million hectares of land, coastal and marine natural environments will also benefit from biodiversity conservation and restoration programs. 

In other words, there are solutions, and AFD is committed to supporting them.

Five projects underway in fragile areas show how. 


The Sahel bears the full brunt of the consequences of climate change, from droughts to the loss of biodiversity and food security. Designed in the early 2000s as a green corridor crossing Africa from west to east, the Great Green Wall (GGW) is aimed at boosting rural development in 11 countries across the region. Since 2021, this initiative, which is supported by the African Union and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, has been given new impetus with the commitment of several international partners to restore 100 million hectares of land and create more than 10 million jobs from Dakar to Djibouti.  

AFD Group has pledged to allocate €600 million between 2021 and 2025. In 2022, the Group launched a €12 million call for projects for civil society organizations to support vegetable protein sectors in the countries covered by the GGW. “In addition to providing nutrition and improving the productive properties of soils, vegetable proteins bring major economic opportunities for family farms” says Hélène Julien, Project Team Leader for Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity at AFD.

Four projects in Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal aim to strengthen food and nutrition security for rural people through a sustainable intensification of production systems. A total of 28,500 hectares of land will be supported towards an agroecological transition, with additional biodiversity restored as degraded land is recovered and agroforestry techniques are improved. The sustainable management of natural resources aim in turn to improve living conditions for the communities living here. 

Further reading: Africa’s Great Green Wall: Restoring Land for Food Security


The Indian Ocean is a treasure trove of biodiversity, from seagrass beds to mangroves, and coral reefs. But it is also a particularly vulnerable area and one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots. In the south-west Indian Ocean islands, most of the population lives less than 100 km from the coasts. Human activities, combined with the effects of climate change, threaten the coastal ecosystems of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) area, which includes Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, the Seychelles and the Union of the Comoros.   

Since 2021, AFD has been working with the IOC to increase the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems through the Resilience of Coastal Ecosystems of the South-West Indian Ocean (RECOS) project. Financed by AFD and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) with €10 million (€8.5 million from AFD and €1.5 million from FFEM), this initiative aims to strengthen the regional and national governance of coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as scientific cooperation on issues related to the monitoring and management of these coastal ecosystems.


Morocco is one of the richest Mediterranean countries in terms of biodiversity. Despite covering only 8% of the national territory, its forests are home to 70% of the country’s animal and plant species. They are also the main ecological wealth of the Kingdom of Morocco. To preserve them, the Moroccan Government has launched its “Forests of Morocco 2020-2030” strategy for more sustainable and inclusive management of the forest sector.

AFD Group is supporting this initiative through assistance to Morocco’s National Agency for Water and Forests, via a €100 million policy-based loan and a €3 million capacity building and expertise sharing program. Expertise France has been supporting the sustainable management of Morocco’s national forests and parks since 2022, at both the national and local levels, via the program called “Ghabati, Hayati” (“My Forest, My Life”).  

The program will reforest a total of more than 160,000 hectares with local species, protect more than 100,000 hectares per year, and ensure that 10 sites are effectively and sustainably managed. It will also create and deploy new nature conservation activities, along with social and community-based activities, for the sustainable management of forest resources. These objectives are combined with a cross-dimensional objective of reducing gender inequalities, by further mainstreaming gender issues into public policies on the forest sector.

Further reading: The Moroccan Forest, an Exceptional Jewel to Protect 


Madagascar may be a veritable jewel of biodiversity, but it is hemorrhaging about 50,000 hectares of natural forest every year. Implemented since 2008, the Holistic Forest Conservation Project (PHCF) helps slow deforestation. 

Following the first phase (PHCF 1), between 2008 and 2013, the annual deforestation rate for the southern part of the Beampingaratsy forest fell from 720 hectares to 244 hectares. 810,858 teq of CO2 were thereby sequestered in the southern part of Beampingaratsy between 2013 and 2018 (PHCF 2). 

Phase 3, which is currently underway and focuses on the entire Beampingaratsy forest, is developing sustainable alternatives to the exploitation of forest resources to meet people’s needs and reduce pressure on the forest. Sustainable alternative practices enable communities to diversify their incomes and be more financially secure, by exploring sectors like pink peppercorn, coffee and cloves. 

This phase will avoid more than 26,000 teq of CO2 in an environment that has already improved following 10 years of action.


The Amazon rain forest accounts for 58% of the world’s tropical rain forests and 20% of the world’s fresh water. Preserving biodiversity is crucial for the health of our planet and its inhabitants. As part of the AMAZONIA+ program, implemented in the “Team Europe” format, Expertise France is taking action to strengthen the capacity of countries in the Amazon basin to adapt to the effects of climate change, prevent and tackle deforestation, and improve opportunities for indigenous peoples and local communities to participate in environmental and forest governance mechanisms. 

Expertise France is also assisting Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay with the definition of local plans for the restoration of degraded areas. In Guatemala and Honduras, Expertise France is supporting the creation of a binational ecological corridor and the establishment of a biosphere reserve with community forest concessions. These activities are being implemented as part of EUROCLIMA+, a flagship regional cooperation program between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Further reading