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.
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 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:
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
The global WOCAT Network is formalized and
defined by the Framework Agreement as WOCAT International (with eight
and WOCAT regional, and national including its institutional and
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 18th WOCAT Network Meeting were held in June 2017 in Cali, Colombia, and were co-organized by the Consortium Partners CIAT and FAO.
WOCAT International consists of the Steering Committee, the Consortium Partners, an Ad hoc Independent Expert Group, and the WOCAT Secretariat, which consists of 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 / 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.
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.
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