OPEC Fund finances fight against desertification in North Africa
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development has approved a grant of $300,000 to support a program designed by the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to help protect dryland countries in North and West Africa.
The project to combat desertification will be carried out from January 2004 to December 2008. The total cost of the initiative is $5.4 million.
Responsible for the implementation of the program will be the 13 participating countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, the Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. The multi-pronged initiative will operate through five thematic “clusters”, placing a strong emphasis on institutional strengthening and national policy reforms.
The overall objective of the present initiative is to support countries in their efforts to launch investment programs for sustainable use of the dryland natural resources and promote regional cooperation in their management, while at the same time reducing environmental degradation.
Characterized by extreme aridity and limited water resources, the regions are experiencing severe environmental deterioration and desertification due to over-exploitation of natural resources. As a result, soil fertility has dropped, and crop and livestock productivity has declined, exacerbating the extent of rural poverty for millions of people.
In February 2001, the Fund extended a grant of $40,000 to co-finance a preparatory high-level Ministerial Meeting that helped shape the framework of the present program. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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