«More attention to the struggle against desertification»
During a national seminar held at the University of Adrar on the theme of the struggle against desertification in Algerian and comparative legislation, Ms Zerouali reminded everyone that it was up to each and everyone to give more attention to the struggle against this problem, which remains a long-standing challenge. The Minister said that the University of Adrar has an important role to fulfill in reinforcing intersectorial coordination in order to face the phenomenon of desertification, which has become a major challenge for nature and the survival of the world.
In fact, public authorities have to work with scientific and technical institutions as well as civil society in all its diversity. As part of the international community, our country has anticipated the struggle against desertification because of its concern about the consequences of this phenomenon on productive lands that could threaten food security of future generations.
The World Bank estimates that, in economic terms, the loss of income for the regions affected by desertification amounts to 42 billion dollars, while the annual cost of combating this phenomenon is actually only 2.4 billion dollars. As a consequence, Algeria cannot afford to remain «idly" confronted with the multiple threats facing millions of citizens. The Algerian climate varies from desert type in the south to Mediterranean type in the north. Water resources are limited and poorly distributed in addition to important geo-climatic features marked by three ecosystems. These include the mountain ecosystem, which covers more than 12 million hectares (ha) threatened by water erosion, the steppe ecosystem endangered by wind erosion and overgrazing, and the Saharan ecosystem, which covers 87% of the total surface area of the country. The Ministry of Hydraulics has also identified 63 watersheds located above water reservoirs that are threatened by water erosion, covering an area of 7 million ha.