Having read this contribution on the Africa Environment blog,
I could not resist recommending the takers of this new initiative to get in contact with UNICEF ALGERIA, currently carrying out the project “Family gardens in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people” (Sahara desert, S.W. Algeria). Let us first have a look at the text :
Algerian conservationists block advance of Sahara Desert
“In May, Algeria will inaugurate a reserve around a small oasis in the south-west where plants and animals will be protected in the service of a broader goal. Hopes are that the Taghit National Park will help stop the advance of the Sahara Desert, which already stretches across almost all of this North African country.
The project was initiated by the Friends of the Sahara Association, a founder member of the National Committee of Algerian NGOs against Desertification, and the National Agency for the Conservation of Nature (ANCN).
“The Taghit National Park covers a surface area of 250.000 ha, which could be extended to 500.000 ha with the inclusion of the neighbouring Guir region,” said Amina Fellous, an engineer at ANCN, which is tasked with leading the project. The reserve is to include areas isolated from human activity, as well as perimeter zones where various pursuits, even for light and medium-sized industries, will be permitted on condition that they do not pollute, Fellous explained. “In Taghit, any socio-economic activity having negative effects on water resources will not be allowed,” she said.
The project will seek to protect grasslands and restore palm groves, renew the planting of acacias, and reforest denuded land with indigenous species for the benefit of migratory species. Water points will be established in the park, and efforts made to develop the region’s plant genetic resources.
The list of mammals to be protected makes mention of about 33 species. To date, no less than 107 species of birds have been documented in the area, but an exhaustive list has yet to be compiled during different seasons, in order to include migratory birds. About 20 birds feature on the list of protected species of Algeria.
Furthermore, the Taghit park will aim to protect and promote the archaeological heritage of the area – and to develop tourist facilities that are in harmony with their surroundings. Conservation will also support agricultural activity, says Malik Raheb, an agricultural engineer. “The creation of the Taghit National Park, aside from its role of being a barrier to the desert, will also allow a still greater response to the agricultural needs of people in the region, as is already evidenced by the production of tomatoes and potatoes.”
2007-01 : Camp of Dahla (Tindouf area) – Mission, with delegation of foresters from the Services de Conservation des Forêts de Tindouf, evaluates successfull vegetable gardens of the UNICEF ALGERIA project.
2007-01 : Camp de Dahla (région de Tindouf) – La missison avec une délégation des forestiers des Services de la Conservation des Forêts de Tindouf évalue les jardins potagers réussis du projet UNICEF ALGERIE.
In particular this last sentence indicates that the Friends of the Sahara Association, a founder member of the National Committee of Algerian NGOs against Desertification, and the National Agency for the Conservation of Nature (ANCN) and UNICEF ALGERIA should better join hands and exchange their knowledge and expertise. Working somewhat in the same domains (conservation, restoration, combat of desertification, sustainable development, agriculture and horticulture), it would inexplicable the organizations working in the same S.W.-region of Algeria would not sit around the table to explore possible cooperation, or at least explore echange of information.