News from the WOCAT Secretariat

WOCAT at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

The Second Special Session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST-S2) 16 – 18 February 2011, and Ninth Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 9) 21 – 25 February 2011 will be held in Bonn, Germany.

LADA-WOCAT-DESIRE will have a joint side event on Monday, 21. February from 13:00 to 15:00 “From assessment to decision making: Tools for UNCCD policies and action”. Nelson Mandela Room, Ministry of Cooperation (see flyer on WOCAT website).

During this side event there will also be the launch of the new TerrAfrica book that WOCAT produced with FAO, entitled “SLM in Practice - Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa” (English and French).

Staff changes at the WOCAT Secretariat

We would like to inform you that we had some staff changes over the last months at the WOCAT Secretariat in Berne. Christine Hauert who was in the team since November 2007 left the team in September 2010 to start a new job (Office for Environment: Soil Protection). Likewise, Mats Gurtner will be leaving the team end of March 2011. He will be going for a new assignment to Kenya with the “Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst - ded” and work in the field of watershed management. Over the last years both of them were very valuable members in the WOCAT team and we would like to thank them for all their efforts and contributions and wish them best of luck in their new assignments.

In February 2011 Dr. Isabelle Providoli joined the WOCAT team in Bern. She has previously worked for 5 years at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal on Integrated Watershed Management and WOCAT in the Himalayas. She was the focal point for the Himalayan WOCAT network HIMCAT and was already heavily involved in WOCAT work. We are pleased to welcome her in the WOCAT team and wish her a successful start.

In 2011, Gudrun Schwilch will concentrate on finalizing her PhD study and will only be marginally involved in the daily WOCAT work. Markus Giger (agricultural economist) has already in the last 2 years taken up some WOCAT assignments. He has an assignment for the UNCCD CST and a special focus on economy of SLM and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The WOCAT Secretariat will consist of five members all with part time assignments for WOCAT: Hanspeter Liniger (50%) , Rima Mekdaschi Studer (40%),  Isabelle Providoli (55%). Gudrun Schwilch (5%) and Markus Giger (5-10%)

Announcement of WOCAT Share Fair and 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting (WWSM)

We are pleased to announce that the next WOCAT workshop will be held in Kyrgystan, Central Asia from 21-27 June 2011. We will start with a 2-day WOCAT Share Fair which will bring together main donors and institutions active in Central Asia. The Share Fair will be followed by the 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting (5 days). More details will be shared soon.

Call for papers for a special theme issue of MRD on "Central Asian Mountain Societies in Transition."  

Mountain Research and Development, in collaboration with University of Central Asia’s Mountain Societies Research Centre, is seeking articles that contribute to an understanding of systems and practices most relevant to Central Asian mountain societies in transition.  While the theme is intentionally broad, one of the specific suggestions for papers is "Sustainable land management approaches and technologies in mountain areas."  We hope this will attract contributions from WOCAT partners. Please submit abstracts by 31 March 2011. More information on the WOCAT website.