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Thematic Working Groups Preparing the Conference

The Conference is prepared through 3 Thematic Working Groups, focussing on the following topics:

1. Integrated Methods for Monitoring and Assessment of Desertification/Land Degradation Processes and Drivers

WG I will deliberate on the fast-advancing field of methodologies aiming at integrating biopyhysical monitoring and assessment with socio-economic information for a coherent analysis. This is essential for understanding and quantifying the state of current land health and the causal factors behind degradation. Only with such understanding can rational scientific-based solutions be devised. The integration of the biophysical with economic models is critical to assess the economic impacts of the desertification process and provide the quantitative information necessary to build robust scientific support for policy-making.

This WG will provide critical scientific proposals for closing identified gaps in methodologies, data and information access, as well as data collections systems. It will further provide improved baselines and knowledge on indicators from biophysical and economic models of monitoring of desertification and land degradation.

2. Monitoring and Assessing Land Rehabilitation and Sustainable Land Management efforts

Rehabilitation to achieve a state of SLM requires a number of stepwise human and social interventions that interact with biophysical conditions, with interdependencies and feedback loops among these steps and conditions. Thus, supporting these efforts requires monitoring and assessment tools suited to the analysis of development pathways. As intervention steps progress, the recovery of system capital needs to be effectively monitored and assessed, e.g. improvements in soil resource, biodiversity, livelihoods, human and social capital, knowledge capital etc. Land-user motivation and incentives are key in rehabilitation, so monitoring and assessment of these drivers is required to understand why certain actions are or are not taken. Examples are the need for community collaboration to overcome the "tragedy of the commons" situations, the drivers behind soil nutrient mining, and individual/community responses to incentives and policies.

This WG will provide a synthesis of the most important principles and lessons learned from past experience in monitoring and assessing degraded-land rehabilitation and SLM; and recommendations of approaches, tools, methods and indicators most likely to lead to actionable science-based improvements in such monitoring and assessment.

3. Impacts of Economic and Social Drivers and Knowledge Managment on Monitoring and Evaluation of Desertification/Land Degradation

Inadequate access to data and its harmonisation and dissemination together with institutional constraints such as unclear responsibilities and legalities, plus insufficient public finances all limit local and national capacities to monitor and assess land degradation. Monitoring and assessment is often hindered by a lack of inter-departmental and sectoral communication and insufficient information on the costs associated with prevention and reversal of land degradation. Insufficient incentives result in little or no involvement of local people and agencies in monitoring and evaluation processes.

This WG will provide a synthesis of such bottlenecks, and apply that learning to identify scenarios and options for a more favourable economic and social environment, including greater sharing of accumulated knowledge on local and national monitoring and assessment programmes. Potential financial pathways and resources need to be identified to address funding constraints.

Map displaying the current repartition of members of the three Working Groups by country of origin or affiliation. Note that some members are affiliated to international organisations. In such cases no country is attributed. Scientists from the following International Organizations are curently involved:
Consultative Group on International Agricaultural ResearchCGIAR
European Commission Joint Research CentreEC JRC
European DesertNetEDN
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsFAO
International Union for Conservation of NatureIUCN
Observatoire du Sahara et SahelOSS
United Nations Development ProgrammeUNDP
United Nations Environment ProgrammeUNEP
United Nations UniversityUNU
World BankWB

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DSD Webhits displaying the number of views of pages of the DSD Website by country. Note that hits from the United States are underestimated for technical reasons.

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Last update: Thursday 19 November 2009 Page 152 created on: Wednesday 19 November 2008