An international desertification conference concluded here Wednesday with a call to all African countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, to help slow the rapid expansion of deserts on the continent, AFP reported Wednesday. In a statement dubbed The Algiers Appeal, participants urged any countries that had not yet done so to sign up to the protocol on climate change. So far, 168 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gases, the report said. The Algiers Appeal said that by ratifying Kyoto, African countries would have access to international financing aimed at fighting climate change and desertification. The appeal also called on African nations to step up regional cooperation in water management and to set up a regional observatory specifically to tackle desertification.