On Thursday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a warning about the alarming spread of desertification in Libya, as green spaces continue to give way to concrete structures. The phenomenon is rapidly reshaping the nation’s natural environment.
In a statement, UNICEF explained that over 95% of Libya has been classified as a desert or semi-desert environment. It underscored the urgent need to protect and restore green areas, deeming it a matter of high importance.
The UN agency stated that it is actively working with local youth and its partners to take measures to restore and protect Libya’s environment. These actions are intended to ensure a greener future for Libya’s children.
The problem of desertification and crop scarcity in Libya has been worsening, due to several factors. There has been a significant lack of rainfall and water over the past few years, coupled with an increase in tree cutting, and a general lack of interest in planting. These factors have led to drastic changes in the country’s climate.
In September 2022, Libyan farmer, Mohamed Al-Futaisi told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper that perennial trees are gradually dying due to drought. Another farmer added that the drought has led to great losses in olive trees during the past two years, due to a lack of rain and groundwater.
The Libyan Ministry of Agriculture intended to launch a project to save millions of olive trees by adopting a distillation system. The project was stopped due to a lack of funding, according to Libyan Agricultural expert, Hadi Khalaf.
Khalaf stressed the need to support farmers and activate the postponed distillation project, in order to preserve olive trees in Libya.
In August, the Libyan Centre for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (LCRSSS) announced that Libya had been exposed to drought during the last three years. It also called for reducing the effects of the drought as soon as possible and declaring a state of emergency.
The affected regions are on the far western coast, the Kaffarah Plain, and the Western Jabal; This has resulted in the desertification of lands.
Local consumption of olive oil is between 60-70 thousand tons annually, half of which is manufactured locally, and the rest imported from abroad.
The protracted security and political crises since 2011 have affected the water sector, which suffers from a lack of services and maintenance. The farming sector in Libya has also been targeted by saboteurs, in addition to the absence of governmental agricultural development plans since 2012.