In the context of combating poverty (Millennium Development Goals), the objective of the project "The Sahara of Cultures and Peoples is to assist the member states of the Sahara in the elaboration and implementation, especially by lessons learned from field pilot projects, of strategies for sustainable development and the fight against poverty, based on the protection and enhancement of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage.
The Saharan States concerned are: Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia.
Following the Millennium Declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000, all agencies of the United Nations system are required to contribute as a priority to the struggle against poverty and extreme poverty. In this context, UNESCO's General Conference, at its 31st session (November 2001), adopted the intersectoral project "The Sahara of cultures and people".
The project falls also in line with the follow-up of the World Summit on Eco-Tourism held in Quebec, Canada (19-22 May 2002), of the Rio+10 Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa (26 August - 4 September 2002), of the WTO global code of ethics on tourism and of the Plan of action of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity
As a crosscutting activity, tourism can be a real tool in sustainable development and struggle against poverty , in particular in the Sahara which is a desertic ecosystem, characterized by a rich cultural, human and natural wealth, and great fragility.
- Strengthening of capacity-building for local actors;
- Safeguarding and enhancement of heritage for the benefit of populations in situations of poverty;
- Promotion of the cultures and civilization of the Sahara;
- Improvement of the conditions of preservation of the Saharan ecosystems;
- Support for responsible tourism policies;
Promotion of the local participatory governance and the strengthening of partnerships at the local, national and international level (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper PRSP), United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), Islamic Educational , Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).