Agroforestry resources in priority areas of North Africa

Support sustainable livelihoods through the development of governance systems and sustainable management

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development


The countries and peoples of North Africa are being affected by increasing aridity and the effects of desertification processes, which result in considerable economic losses. Desertification is becoming even more marked because of the reduction in annual average rainfall and soil moisture and the global effects of climate change.
Soil degradation, poverty, development pressures and climatic factors interact in a complex manner and adversely affect food security and sustainable livelihoods. It is therefore essential to develop an integrated approach to address these challenges. This programme focuses on improving governance structures, combining legal and institutional reforms, economic and social development strategies, international partnerships, capacity-building and economic sustainability.

IUCN-Med's role
To put this programme into operation, IUCN and its members proposed actions to help a fair distribution of benefits extracted from the region’s ecosystems and also promote and enhance the fundamental role of North African women in ecosystem management.
Through its Mediterranean programme, IUCN provided experts and experience from its various programmes and commissions in the subject areas of biodiversity conservation and protected area management, as well as other kinds of effective natural resource management tools and decision-making aids. Capacity-building to help members carry out these actions has formed an essential part of this programme.

Objectives and results

To improve and promote governance systems for the sustainable use of natural resources and demonstrate the role of traditional practices in reducing vulnerability and increasing food security of rural populations of North Africa.

The project outcomes are the following:

  • Legislation on protected areas in Tunisia has been reviewed and recommendations to adapt it to IUCN protected area categories have been presented to the government institutions involved.
  • Several legal and regional political frameworks associated with natural resources such as oasis management in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia have been considered and the needs for legal support and capacity-building have been identified in an action plan for and by IUCN members and relevant institutions.
  • Agropastoral systems (as the Stipa tenacissima or alpha ecosystem) representative of the traditional types found in North Africa have been assessed for their ecological, productive, economic and sociocultural value in two areas: El-Bayad in Algeria and Kasserine in Tunisia, and opportunities for innovation in their management systems and for diversifying their users’ economies have been identified and verified on the ground.


IUCN members in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
Regional organizations: GIZ.
National NGOs: Union Nationale pour la Femme Tunisienne (UNFT), Mouvement Ecologique Algérien (MEA), Association Scientifique de l’Environnement et de la Conservation du Patrimonie (ASECP) du willaya d’El Bayadh.
Public institutions : High commission of Steppes in Algeria, Agriculture Ministry of Algeria, General directorate of Agriculture in the Ministry of Tunisia.
IUCN Commissions and Programmes: Environmental Law Programme, Ecosystem Management Commission.
Major cooperation and development organizations and agencies operating in the region, to complement common efforts.

Project Donors

Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).

Duration and budget
September 2008 - December 2011
Total budget: 385,280 €

For more information: [email protected]

IUCN-Med receives core financial support from the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucia, the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) among others.

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