Climate change is causing a drastic increase of desertification in Algeria, while available arable land is decreasing at an alarming rate. This is no more apparent than in recent fires and sweltering temperatures that have killed Algerian soldiers and civilians.
To combat this, the Parti des Verts du Algérie (Algerian Green Party) is spearheading the re-launch of a bold project, initiated in 1973, to protect three million hectares of vulnerable pastoral land from the encroachment of the Sahara desert by building a 1500 kilometre long green barrier, or ‘dam’.
This initiative aims to prevent further ecological destruction and support local communities to adapt to a changing climate. We invite Members who are interested in learning more about the issue to read on and if you have experience in campaigning in your communities for reforestation and anti-desertification projects, we encourage you to reach out to Dr Amara, and his colleagues in theParti des Verts du Algérie to share your experiences via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1973, the Algerian Government launched a project to stop the advance of the Sahara desert towards the north of the country by creating a green barrier, or ‘dam’, 20 kilometres wide and 1500 kilometres long. This project promised to protect twenty million hectares of cultivable land and prevent further desertification. The region to be protected by this project is rich in biodiversity and particularly susceptible to desertification, which is being greatly exacerbated by climate change.
Unfortunately, this bold plan was not designed in a way which supported the economic and social life of the nomadic populations who populate this region, and the program was neglected.
Risks of desertification
Further climate change in the green dam region will not only lead to an increased risk of water stress and land degradation, but also socio-economic conflicts due to pressure on natural resources and increased risks for strategic crops, with more than half of Algeria’s nomadic population living within this sensitive area.
Agricultural output is greatly harmed by a reduction in surface and groundwater availability, a decrease in biodiversity, more frequent heat waves, drought and fires, and an increase in soil erosion and salinisation.
These consequences of desertification and climate change will be all-too familiar for many of our Global Greens Members.
Today, the Green Dam is relaunched by Parti des Verts du Algérie (Algerian Green Party) as not only an environmental, but also an economic program to support the resilience of smallholder farmers and pastoralists in an increasingly hostile climate.
The campaign will be relaunched under the slogan “a tree for every citizen”, and coincide with National Tree Day, raising awareness of a national reforestation program. In addition to reforestation, the project supports local rural development and regional adaptation to current and future climate change. Learning from problems in the past, this initiative will revive a local green economy by planting hardy, low-cost fruit trees and support the revival of regional agriculture.
How you can help
We invite Members who have experience campaigning against desertification and the impacts of climate change in arid ecosystems to reach out to Dr Amara, and his colleagues in the Algerian Green Party for Development to share their experiences and knowledge. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in supporting this campaign.
For more information about the Algerian Green Party for Development you can also review this brochure.