Environment Ministry marks World Day to Combat Desertification

Damascus, SANA- The Syrian Government has exerted huge efforts to curb the phenomena of land degradation, desertification and drought through establishing nature reserves, and carrying out the project of integrated development in the Syrian Badyia” desert” and the projects of expanding the vegetation and sand dune stabilization, State Minister for Environment Affairs Nazira Serkis said.

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Serkis added, during a workshop organized Monday by the Ministry at the National Museum on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification, that the Government has also established a seed center, pastoral plantations and green oases, in addition to carrying out the project of using the modern irrigation and the project of establishing a drought early warning system, in addition to establishing a fund for alleviating the impacts of drought and natural disasters.

She affirmed that her Ministry had executed the national plan for combating desertification which included a number of projects that were enlisted in the 11th five-year plan, indicating that a number of projects were carried out in the period between 2010 and 2014, the most important of which was the project of studying wind drifts in Deir Ezzor Badyia “desert” in cooperation with al-Fourat University.

1Ministry of Environmental Affairs also seeks to modernize the national plan for combating desertification according to the tenth strategic goals of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification “UNCCD “signed in 2008.

Serkis called upon all the governmental institutions, the popular organizations and local communities to prevent the expansion of the desert and to apply the typical procedures and methods of combating the desertification.

5The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed worldwide on 17 June every year since 1995.

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

The Day is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.

R.J/ Barry

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