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Growing the Olympic Forest

Planting trees and restoring land with the IOC to grow the Great Green Wall.

The project

Through this project, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in collaboration with Tree Aid, will grow thousands of trees and restore huge areas of land across Mali and Senegal, contributing to the Great Green Wall initiative. 

Together with communities living in the path of the Great Green Wall, we will grow trees and restore degraded land, helping to sequester 200,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over 25 years and offset more than 100% of the IOC’s estimated 2021-2024 carbon footprint.

Learn about our work on this project in Mali

Why is this project needed?

The climate crisis is causing temperatures to rise and weather patterns to shift across Africa. Land is losing fertility and people can't grow enough food. As a result, over one third of the population of Mali (43%) and Senegal (39%) are living in poverty. Here, many people face insecurity over their rights to natural resources. Women in particular rarely have access to the land, equipment and training they need to grow food to eat and sell.

Trees provide a solution, improving soil fertility and absorbing carbon dioxide to tackle the climate crisis. When crops fail to grow, trees survive to produce products to eat and sell, helping communities build resilience to the effects of the climate crisis.

Our aims

This project aims to grow 589,000 trees to restore large areas of degraded land in Mali and Senegal. We will grow native tree species selected in collaboration with local communities, including trees that produce fruit, nuts and seeds that they can eat or sell. Trees like this offer a more resilience source of food and income than crops in the face of the climate crisis. Every tree grown will also contribute to the Great Green Wall – an initiative to re-green land across Africa and sequester carbon dioxide to tackle the climate crisis. 

By promoting agroforestry – growing trees alongside farmland – the project aims to regenerate degraded agricultural land, helping to boost soil fertility and improve farming productivity. We will also support locals with conservation techniques like rainwater harvesting, to ensure they have the know-how to care for their trees and land for many years to come.

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    tonnes of CO2 will be sequestered over 25 years

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    trees will be grown in Mali & Senegal

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    hectares of farmland will be sustainably managed

“The Olympic Forest will support communities in Mali and Senegal by increasing their climate resilience, food security and income opportunities, and will help the IOC become climate positive already by 2024." Thomas Bach, IOC President

This project is funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – the owner of the Olympic Games and leader of the Olympic Movement. We are also working with our Senegalese operational partner, La Lumiere ONG.