Biodiversity in Algeria
Algeria’s marine, mountain and desert ecosystems are a rich source of valuable natural and agricultural resources, some of which are still unknown. The country has a large collection of endemic plant species such as the Saharan cypress (Cupressus dupreziana), the Algerian fir (Abies numidica L.) and the European black pine (Pinus nigra). The marine ecosystem is an important source of revenue for Algeria, as the livelihoods of many Algerians depend on small-scale fishery and trade.
Over the past decades, Algeria has implemented several programmes to prevent the loss of its biodiversity, including the protection of more than 43 percent of its national territory, the adoption of a revised National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2030 as well as initiatives aiming to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce the impacts of marine water pollution on biodiversity.
However, the country’s biodiversity continues to be under threat from the destruction or overexploitation of biological resources, extension of cultivated areas, urbanization and infrastructure development, pollution, tourism and hunting. This is compounded by the effects of climate change, which is likely to affect the development of commercial species such as sardines, anchovies and pikes.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS implementation
Algeria is a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity and a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. The country has a legal framework on biological resources adopted in 2014, and has taken other steps to establish procedures for the preservation and monitoring of its biodiversity. It has also launched some reforestation programmes. However, Algeria lacks a comprehensive, operational framework for the implementation of Access to genetic resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) as stipulated by the Nagoya Protocol.
Current UNDP-GEF ABS Project Activities
Launched in September 2015, the UNDP-GEF ABS Project is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the General Forest Authority to develop and implement a national legal, regulatory and institutional framework that will ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from accessing and using the country’s genetic resources and related traditional knowledge in line with provisions of the Nagoya Protocol.
Efforts are being made to increase awareness and knowledge among stakeholders of the provisions of the Protocol so they can apply it within the local and national context. This will hopefully contribute to strengthening the socioeconomic status of rural Algerian communities, who are highly dependent on biological and genetic resources for their livelihood.