UNHCR Mauritania interventions in the environment sector

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For several years, environmental management has been a national cause in Mauritania, as the country suffers the effects of drought, desertification, deforestation, bush fires and the deterioration of its ecosystems, in addition to multiform pollution in its urban centres. The pressure on land and natural resources appears to be increasing, whether to meet livelihood needs, to provide firewood, for grazing land or for logging. Broadly speaking, controlling the deterioration and unsustainable exploitation of resources, air, water and ground pollution and desertification is a challenge the country will have to address if it is to maintain the balance of its ecosystems and improve the outlook for future generations. Then add to this the presence of a refugee camp, causing significant environmental impacts in the host country, notably when the prolonged presence of displaced persons extends over time. The resulting environmental degradation has the potential to seriously exacerbate tensions between host populations and refugees. Based on this scenario, humanitarian organizations now include consideration of the environment and adaptation to climate change in their humanitarian response plans.