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Syria marks World Day to combat desertification
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Under the theme "preserving land and water ensures future", Syria will mark on Wednesday the World Day of Combating Desertification, official Syrian News Agency SANA reported.

Desertification ranks the second major challenge impeding sustainable development in Syria. The problem grew wilder there, posing as a growing threat to the country's social and economic life.

Studies show that about 109 square kilometers of land, or about 59 percent of the total area of Syria is endangered with the threat of desertification.

With a population that is expected to reach 20.5 million by 2010, the problem becomes more complicated, as a booming population means increased demands for food.

Syria was among the first countries to sign an anti-desertification agreement and consider it a top-priority for development.

The country allocated large sum of money to combat the phenomenon. Around 117 billion liras (US$2.46 billion) have been allocated for desertification-combat projects.

One of the main challenges that face Syria is to combat dryness, the major cause of desertification.

A delegation from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) arrived recently in Syria to evaluate the impact of dryness in Syria and to evaluate the needs of the areas hit with dryness during the past three years.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2009)

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