Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Feeling Ill? Egypt’s got a Plant for That.

When you think of Egypt, you think of arid desert right? But not all of Egypt is barren! St. Katherine’s Protectorate on the Sinai Peninsula is home to 37 species of plants that are endemic to Egypt alone! There are a total of 316 plant species in the area, 102 of which are actively used by the Egyptian people for medicinal purposes.

In a country with a dearth of arable land, how can Egypt make sure this valuable flora is protected? The United Nations Development Program has partnered with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) to achieve just this. In 2003, the Egypt-Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants in Arid and Semi-Arid Ecosystems was launched. The project has so far protected 12 endemic endangered species, created opportunities for generating income through the use of medicinal plants, created an encyclopedia about medicinal plants, and even taken measures to abolish over-grazing of the plants. Through projects like these, UNDP is working hard to ensure the conservation of biodiversity around the globe!

Read more about the project by clicking here.

Also, check UNDP-USA's Voices From the Field Blog to follow Executive Director, Elizabeth Latham and her team on their exciting fact-finding journey to Mozambique.