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Syria is characterized by a semi arid climate with arable land amounting to less than 33% of its territory, forests 3% and steppes (or Badia) about 55%. Syria is facing major economic challenges and has a high population growth rate averaging 2.45 percent per year, putting increased pressure on scarce resources. The Badia is severely affected by land degradation; the deterioration of its fragile ecosystem contributes to the impoverishment of its inhabitants whose livelihoods depend on natural resources. In this context, Syria ratified the CCD in 1997 and adopted its National Action Program to Combat Desertification in 2002

National Action Program to Combat Desertification

The National Action Program to Combat Desertification (NAP) was adopted in 2002 following an extensive consultative process involving government and non-government stakeholders. The NAP revealed the desertification trends affecting Syria (reaching 59% of its territory) and their impact on the livelihoods of about 4.5 million people living in these areas. It recorded an increase in fallow and non-irrigated lands of 10% over the 10 previous years, a decrease in pasture productivity of 61% between 1981 and 1999, and the destruction of 5000 hectares of forests. The NAP describes the effects of desertification on the socioeconomic situation in Syria and includes strategic and technical recommendations for halting/alleviating the impact of desertification by addressing the root causes of dryland degradation.

Programme support

The Programme is supporting national efforts towards UNCCD implementation and drylands development, specifically the initiatives below:


Elaboration and Implementation of the National Action Programme to Combat Desertification

Contribution to the UN Drought Joint Needs Assessment Mission (JNAM)

Integrated Community Development for Scaling-Up the MDGs in Syria

Support to the Participation of the CCD Focal Point in UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun