WOCAT is the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies.

What is WOCAT?

The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) is a global 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 Global SLM Database for best practices. The work of WOCAT is guided by the WOCAT Strategy which is a product of experiences gathered in the WOCAT programme since its launch.

WOCAT played an essential role in moving away from a land degradation focus towards SLM, defining SLM and its measures. The global relevance of WOCAT is shown by the frequent use of its global SLM database, the WOCAT definitions, and the standardized WOCAT methods and tools, by various institutions and initiatives. WOCAT is widely used and referenced, so for example in the UNCCD Science-PolicyInterface (SPI) report on Sustainable Land Management contribution to successful land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation, in the IPBES assessment report on land degradation and restoration, and in the EC JRC World Atlas of Desertification for which the part on solutions was prepared in collaboration with WOCAT.

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. 

The vision and mission of WOCAT

The vision of WOCAT 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).

The mission of WOCAT 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 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. The last WOCAT Symposium and 19th WOCAT Network Meeting were held in May 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

» Discover more about the last WOCAT Network Meeting and Symposium

» Discover previous WOCAT Network Meetings

Organizational structure of the WOCAT Network

WOCAT International

WOCAT International consists of the Steering Committee, the Consortium Partners, and the WOCAT Secretariat that includes the Director, the Coordinator, and additional staff members. 

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.

WOCAT regional, and national initiatives, and  institutional members

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

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. Any institution that supports the vision and mission of the WOCAT Network can become a member by contacting the WOCAT Secretariat for registration. If so desired, institutional members can voluntarily sign a MoU to formalize their collaboration with the WOCAT International.

» List of all WOCAT institutional members

» Download MoU for insitutional members

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). 

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

» Download the MoU for initiatives

List of regional and national Initatives

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
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
WOCAT SLM knowledge products

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

» Discover the WOCAT/SLM knowledge products
SLM training material

Discover and download the WOCAT training material for different tools and methods, and video instructions.

» Go to the WOCAT training materials