Africa is a vast land of hope with rich natural and cultural resources, biodiversity, and a prosperous young population. At the same time, it is facing huge economic and environmental challenges that may jeopardize its efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those on poverty eradication and food security. Fourteen years after the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African people made a firm commitment in 2015 to act together towards a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, as the first of their aspirations for Agenda 2063: The Future We Want for Africa. China-Africa cooperation has been greatly reinforced with a new type of strategic partnership since 2006, as reflected in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). UNEP-IEMP helps to share development experiences and resources between China and the African continent. Together, China is going to play a significant role in achieving Agenda 2063, in particular with fuel from the Belt and Road Initiative.

Key thematic issues and subregions covered

With the aim of enhancing China-Africa cooperation, UNEP-IEMP will work to facilitate the development of integrated solutions that address both economic and environmental challenges to ensure the transformation and sustainable development of Africa. Cross-cutting issues that take into account regional priorities will be deeply explored, 

  • Agricultural development and food security under the changing climate in the Nile and Zambezi river basins
  • Sustainable dryland management for promote community farewell in the Sahel region  
  • Protected area sustainable management in East Africa
  • Water resources management in the Lake Victoria region

It is also likely that knowledge and experience in Africa can benefit China's blueprint for an ecological civilization. Currently, this Africa portfolio mainly covers three regions (the Sahel region, the Zambezi river basin, and the area upstream of the Nile basin) and has landed in 11 African countries, namely Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Seychelles, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Key Actions

  • Facilitating collaboration research projects between Chinese and African scientists to develop innovative and integrative solutions towards achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement; 
  • Promoting exchange of technologies and young talents between China and Africa to enhance the capacity of researchers and practitioners to address sustainable development issues in Africa; 
  • Organizing the Conference on Climate Ecosystems and Livelihoods for Africa to bring scientific support to policy makers within China-Africa collaboration.


Number Project Time Status Regional or Country coverage
1 Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (Global-DEP) 2017-2021 Ongoing Africa, Australia, Central Asia, Mediterranean Region, and North and South America
2 Ecosystem-based Adaptation through South-South Cooperation (EbA South) 2013-2020 Ongoing Africa and Asia-Pacific
3 Integrated Management for Sustainable Utilization of Water Resources in East Africa Great Lakes Basins 2019-2022 Ongoing Africa
4 Impact of agricultural development on food security and water vulnerability under climate change in the Zambezi Basin 2016-2020 Closing Zambezi River Basin in Africa
5 Joint research on Practical Technology to Combat Desertification for African Priority Countries of the Great Green Wall 2019-2022 Ongoing Mauritania, Nigeria, Ethiopia