WOCAT is the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies.

What is WOCAT?

The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) is a Network that was established in 1992. The WOCAT Network launched efforts to compile, document, evaluate, share, disseminate, and apply sustainable land management (SLM) knowledge. It was far ahead of others in recognizing the vital importance of SLM and the pressing need for corresponding knowledge management. In early 2014, WOCAT’s growth and ongoing improvement culminated in its being officially recognized by the UNCCD as the primary recommended database for SLM best practices.

Why is it needed?

Poor land and water management and a lack of appropriate governance and regulatory frameworks to deal with increasing pressure on limited re­sources lead to degradation of the land resources upon which rural communities and society as a whole depend.

Without effective knowledge management and decision support tools and processes, land resource management will remain ineffective, all too often overlooking, ignoring, or only selectively applying valuable knowledge and experience gained over the years in various regions. 

WOCAT’s vision

is to improve land resources and ecosystems (including soils, water, flora, and fauna) and people’s livelihoods by sharing, enhancing, and using knowledge on sustainable land management (SLM).

WOCAT’s mission

is to support adaptation, innovation, and decision-making around SLM. This includes:

  • enhancing land productivity and water use efficiency
  • improving provisioning of ecosystem goods and services
  • promoting sustainable use of biodiversity
  • contributing to food security, and climate change adaptation/ mitigation
  • reducing disaster risks and land and water conflicts

Collectively, these activities are aimed at facilitating cost-effective investments in – and scaling up of – SLM, gradually reducing land degradation.

The vision and mission are reached by

WOCAT methods and tools

WOCAT provides methodological tools and guidelines to national and regional institutions to carry out initiatives according to their needs. These tools and guidelines support planning and decision-making by allowing SLM specialists to identify fields of action, find appropriate SLM technologies and approaches, and share their valuable knowledge in land management. The tools can also help scale up identified best SLM practices.

Learn more about the WOCAT methods and tools.

WOCAT Network

The global WOCAT Network is formalized and defined by the Framework Agreement as WOCAT International (with eight Consortium Partners), and WOCAT regional, and national including its institutional and individual members. Biennial global WOCAT Network Meetings provide a basis for exchange on progress with different initiatives and for directing future activities.

Organizational structure of the WOCAT Network

WOCAT International

WOCAT International consists of the Steering Committee (ad hoc independent expert group, consortium partners, and the director) and the Secretariat. 

At the global level, WOCAT is coordinated by the Steering Committee of WOCAT International, which has a shared responsibility for the functioning of the WOCAT Network, assisted by the global WOCAT Secretariat. Task forces are set up to develop initiatives and tools, and to support national and regional institutions.

Consortium Partners (CPs)

Consortium Partners

» Learn more about the Consortium Partners

WOCAT Secretariat

This body supports the Director in the management and coordination of the WOCAT Network. The Secretariat is composed of the Director, the Coordinator, and additional staff as required.

» Meet the WOCAT Secretariat team

What is a WOCAT regional/ national initiative and what are institutional members?

WOCAT regional / national initiatives and institutional members are an integral part of the WOCAT Network. Partnerships are formalized by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Terms of Agreement (ToA). These members operate in an autonomous, decentralized, and self-funded manner. Initiatives and institutional members are technically supported by WOCAT International to implement the Network’s vision and mission in their country and / or region.

WOCAT institutional members

Participating institutions may be a single institution in one area of a country, a group of institutions in a country, a collaborative grouping of countries or institutions in a region or, again, a single institution with a regional mandate. All are considered participating institutions.

Any institution that supports the vision and mission of the WOCAT Network can become a member by contacting the WOCAT Secretariat for registration (wocat@cde.unibe.ch). If so desired, institutional members can voluntarily sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize their collaboration with the WOCAT International Secretariat and the WOCAT Regional / National Institutional Network members.   


Please download and complete the MoU for institutional members, and send it to wocat@cde.unibe.ch. 

» List of all WOCAT institutional members

WOCAT regional and national Initatives

A WOCAT regional and national initiative is established if one or several Institutional members or Consortium Partners collaborate in a country or region to jointly apply the WOCAT tools and methods. These initiatives are self-organized, autonomous, decentralized, and self-funded, and they are steered by a leader and a committee. New WOCAT Initiatives can register by contacting the WOCAT Secretariat (wocat@cde.unibe.ch). 

WOCAT Initiatives can sign a memorandum of understanding to formalise their collaboration with the WOCAT International Secretariat. Participation in WOCAT at the country or regional level is referred to as a national / regional initiative, some of which have own names and corporate identity (such as ETHIOCAT in Ethiopia or BANCAT in Bangladesh). 

These initiatives operate in an autonomous, decentralized and self-funded way.

A Memorandum of Understanding can be developed between the global, national and regional levels in order to clarify their respective roles. 

» Download the MoU

List of regional and national Initatives

  1. Philippines - PHILCAT
  2. Thailand -THAICAT
  3. Central Asia (regional initiative) - HIMCAT (Himalayan Conservation Approaches and Technologies)  
  4.  Niger - NigCAT/GREAD
  5.  Ethiopia - EthioCAT 
  6. South Africa - WOCAT in South Africa
  7. Nepal - NEPCAT
  8. Bangladesh - BANCAT
  9. Bhutan - BHUCAT
  10. Laos PDR - LAOCAT

WOCAT history

WOCAT was founded in 1992 as an informal global network of soil and water conservation specialists. It was one of the first programmes to promote resource conservation and SLM in response to land degradation. WOCAT developed standardized tools for documenting, monitoring, and evaluating SLM expertise, and disseminating it around the globe, enabling land users to exchange experiences. Joint and participatory development of the programme by national and international partners has made it possible to continuously improve and adapt its contents to users’ needs while maintaining the benefits of standardization. Over the years, WOCAT expanded its focus in several ways. It went beyond data collection to conduct evaluation, monitoring, training, and research on SLM. The initial emphasis on soil erosion and decline in soil fertility was broadened to include assessments of good practices in SLM taking into account soil, water, vegetation, and animals. WOCAT’s initial use of questionnaires gradually developed into a flexible, modular methodology. Overall, it went from being a programme mainly focused on knowledge generation to one concerned with the use of that knowledge for evidence-based decision-making, addressing both on-site and off-site benefits of SLM including watershed and landscape approaches.

In 2014, the WOCAT Network was reorganized and formalized through a Framework Agreement signed in August of that year. It now comprises WOCAT International, as well as WOCAT Regional / National and its institutional and individual members. Representatives from each of the eight Consortium Partners form the WOCAT Steering Committee and bear shared responsibility for ensuring the proper functioning of the WOCAT Network (both International and Regional / National).

WOCAT Symposium and WOCAT Network Meetings (WNM)

The Global Network Meeting brings together WOCAT Regional and National, including WOCAT Individual members, WOCAT Institutional Members (with their Regional and National Initiatives) and WOCAT International, with the Consortium Partners and the Secretariat, Coordinator and Director. Each Institutional Member and each Consortium Partner is encouraged to nominate at least one participant to attend the Global Network Meeting on a self-funded basis. Individual Members are free to participate on a self-funded basis. The WOCAT Symposium and the WOCAT Network Meeting are held every two years. 

The last WOCAT Symposium and 18th WOCAT Network Meeting were held in June 2017 in Cali, Colombia, and were co-organized by the Consortium Partners CIAT and FAO.

» Discover more about the last WOCAT Network Meeting and Symposium.

WOCAT Strategy

The WOCAT “International Strategy” for 2015–2018 draws on the wealth of experience gathered in the WOCAT programme since its launch in 1992. This includes important areas such as funding.

» Read more about the WOCAT Strategy
Projects and initiatives

At national and regional level, WOCAT is included in specific projects, mainstreamed in local programmes, and may be part of a national strategy.

» Discover the projects and initiatives
Global SLM Database

The Global Database on SLM contains a vast range of good practices from all over the world and is the primary recommended database by UNCCD.

» Learn more about the Global SLM Database
WOCAT knowledge products

Are you looking for the WOCAT books, videos, factsheets, papers or other media?

» Discover the WOCAT knowledge products
Training materials

Discover and download the WOCAT training material with presentations on the different tools and methods, and video instructions.

» Go to the WOCAT training materials