Conservation of Globally Significant Biodiversity and Sustainable Use of Ecosystem Services in Algeria's Cultural Parks
The Ministry of Culture of Algeria is developing an important national network of cultural parks, presently covering an impressive 937,430 km2. During a first phase intervention the UNDP/GEF targeted the Tassili N'Ajjer and Ahaggar Cultural Parks. Due to its vast size and relative integrity, the Tassili – Ahaggar complex, represents a key biodiversity site in the central Saharan ecosystem and one of the prime sites in the world for desert biome conservation. With their legally protected status and official governance and management structure, there is good potential for cultural parks in Algeria to form a cohesive conservation network that will provide an effective buffer against threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, a number of systemic, operational and institutional barriers are hindering the Ministry of Culture's efforts toward improving the management effectiveness of the cultural park system.
The first phase of the project had been designed to implement a comprehensive package of measures to enable an effective country-driven conservation initiative that secures global environmental benefits. In its second phase, the project has been revised to reflect emerging realities, incorporate lessons from the first phase, and align with the dual priorities of the Biodiversity and Land Degradation focal areas. The long-term solution proposed by this project is a strengthened network of cultural parks with adequate systemic, institutional and operational capacity to:
(i) effectively plan and manage the cultural parks based on scientific data and information;
(ii) mitigate the threats to, and pressures on, the biodiversity and ecosystem services contained within the cultural parks;
(iii) effectively plan sustainable financing for cultural park management and improve cost effectiveness; and
(iv) ensure better integration of the socioeconomic development priorities of local resource users in the management of the cultural parks. The project will focus on improving capacities at central level in the Ministry of Culture and in two demonstration sites, the Tassili N'Ajjer and the Ahaggar Cultural Parks.