Please find herewith the latest WOCAT Newsletter. If you would like to unsubscribe to the WOCAT newsletter, please write an email to the WOCAT secretariat.

Please note, that the text below shows only short summaries of the different articles. For the complete newsletter please refer to the pdf attached.

Topics of WOCATEER No. 19

  • New WOCAT website and address management
  • 14th Annual WOCAT Workshop & Steering Meeting
  • Mapping in the LADA project
  • WOCAT Management Team meeting and LADA/WOCAT Seminar, Rome, February 2010
  • Next WWSM
  • Other News and up-coming events
  • ---

New WOCAT website

NB:  This is the last WOCAT Newsletter to be sent to you by Email through the WOCAT-L mailing list which will cease to exist. Read more below.

As you hopefully have noticed already, WOCAT has a new website since September 2009 (see also our mail of 5-11-2009 through WOCAT-L). The Web address is still the same:

The new website is based on a Content Management System (CMS) to facilitate the management of the website and the integration of active sites.

The website has a completely new structure and is divided into 5 main topics: Network, Knowledge Base, Methods, Vision & Mission, News & Events.

WOCAT account: What is also new is the option to create a WOCAT account. The WOCAT account will give you broader access to the various items. For instance you can consult the address database, and will be able to add or edit (your own) data in the databases on Technologies or Approaches or in the Mapping database. Furthermore, an account is necessary to receive the WOCAT newsletter, and to participate in the WOCAT forum.  If you create a WOCAT account, your address information will only be visible to logged-in WOCAT users.

Please note: once registered, you can edit your address information yourself, apart from the Email-address. In case you would like to change your Email-address, please inform the WOCAT secretariat.

WOCAT affiliation: When you create a WOCAT account, there are currently three types of affiliation:
1. Information only: you receive WOCAT news, you have only read access, and it is not possible to enter or edit any data into the databases or participate in forum discussions, but you can view and query the databases and access various other functions;
2. Potential Participating institution: same as above, + you have write access in the forum, and you are interested to participate actively in the WOCAT network;
3. Participating institution: same as above, + you can enter/edit your data into the databases and participate in the forum discussions.


All persons who were included in the former WOCAT MS Access address database, have automatically got an online account, but not yet a password. So before you create a new WOCAT account, make sure that there is not yet an existing account on your name, by using the function ‘Forgot your WOCAT password?’ below the login fields. If your email-address is already registered you will receive a password to login, if not…... Please also check whether your registered address information is still correct.


Forum: The new WOCAT website contains also a forum, which facilitates discussions on specific selected topics. The WOCAT forum is only accessible in the logged-in modus. We hope to have active discussions in the forums about current issues and topics.


Feedback: Only with your feedback on the new Website we will be able to improve it further. Please let us know your opinion: is it user-friendly, is it attractive, do you have suggestions? Send your comments to the WOCAT secretariat, or in case you have any questions or problems with the website also contact the secretariat.




WOCAT-L and the Newsletter

The new on-line address management enables us also to handle the distribution of the WOCAT newsletter and WOCAT-L E-mails. So far the address data for WOCAT-L has been stored on a FAO-server, which was independent from the (former) WOCAT access database. Now, with the new CMS-system it is foreseen to have only one address database. As already mentioned the former MS Access database has been integrated in the CMS; however the FAO-based WOCAT-L and newsletter mailing list (basically consisting of Email addresses only, no other contact information) could not be integrated. 

Important: From now one all WOCAT-L subscribers who wish to keep receiving the WOCAT-L messages and newsletter need to have a WOCAT on-line account.  Please check first whether you are already registered in the WOCAT address database, by using the function ‘Forgot your WOCAT password’ (or clicking the link above).


14th Annual WOCAT Workshop & Steering Meeting

The 14th WOCAT Annual Workshop & Steering Meeting (WWSM) was organized by the Faculty of Human Sciences, University Mohammed 5, Rabat in Morocco. Co-organiser of the workshop was the National Forestry School of Engineers (ENFI). The workshop took place from the 13 – 19 October at ENFI in Ifrane and at the University in Rabat. The meeting was attended by almost 40 participants from 16 countries. A lot of participants from different institutions in Morocco joined the workshop and contributed to the discussions.

On the first day of the WWSM the participants travelled from Rabat to Ifrane, where the main part of the workshop took place at the ‘campus de l’ENFI’. After the official opening by Prof. Laouina Abdellah, Dr. Sabir Mohammed and Dr. Hanspeter Liniger, the first two days were spent on taskforce group works. The results of the taskforce group works were presented on Wednesday afternoon in the plenum and the continuation and work plan were further discussed. The third day of the WWSM started with progress reports of the different WOCAT regions and institutions and te last workshop day in Ifrane was again spent with progress (and other) reports. The afternoon was then reserved for the steering meeting and the planning of the workshop for the next year. On Saturday a field day was organised on the return trip from Ifrane to Rabat. The first stop was made in a cedar forest in the Middle Atlas, were a presentation was given about the current forest management. On a further stop a commercial large-scale fruit farm was visited. 


The last day of the 14th WWSM was held together with the EU-project DESIRE. The WOCAT-DESIRE symposium on ‘Assessing benefits of SLM – Key for success’ was held in Rabat on Monday 19 October, with the aim to enhance the collaboration between the two projects to bring together various Moroccan and international organizations and institutions. A report and a compilation of the presentations are available on the WOCAT website.


The full proceedings of the 14th WOCAT Workshop & Steering Meeting will be available soon.



Desire just went into its fourth project year. As reported in previous Newsletters, WOCAT is playing an important role in DESIRE through Work Block 1, coordinated by ISRIC and Work Block 3, coordinated by CDE. WB 1 has focused on a description of the context of desertification and degradation in general and in the specific study sites in particular. Mapping was an important element in this contextual description and to this end the jointly revised WOCAT/DESIRE/LADA mapping method (better known as “QM”) was used. At the current time of writing not all data have been received from all study sites but some interesting maps could be produced for a few sites. Some preliminary examples can be seen in the pdf-version of the newsletter (link to pdf), but much more is possible and will be reported upon in a next newsletter.


Mapping in the LADA project

The QM mapping method is also used by the LADA project for six pilot countries, at national level. The original WOCAT QM was significantly revised in the past two years in close collaboration with LADA and DESIRE. Some interesting first results for Senegal can be found on the LADA Website.


WOCAT/ LADA Management Team meeting

WOCAT/LADA Management Team meeting, FAO, Rome, 15-17 February 2010

WOCAT as well as LADA are in a crucial phase regarding their further strategy and development. The first phase of LADA will end in 2010 and the current WOCAT phase (SDC funding) by the end of 2011. In order to discuss the future of WOCAT and further collaboration of WOCAT and LADA, a management meeting was held at FAO in Rome from 15th - 17th February.

The global management team consisting of CDE, FAO and ISRIC, together with FAO-LADA and a few further invitees from within FAO (e.g. TERRAFRICA) discussed among others:

  • a strategy for scaling up of LADA/WOCAT (DESIRE) tools and methods, 
  • funding and collaboration issues,
  • specific developments such as mapping, impact monitoring, decision support tools and capacity building,  
  • WOCAT communication (e.g. Website)
  • the form and dates of the next WOCAT workshop in autumn 2010.


SDC has for many years been the major donor to WOCAT. To secure enough financial resources for a continuation and expansion of activities in the coming years, additional funds are needed. Therefore,  a proposal for a joint LADA-WOCAT programme will be developed, including additional co-funding for the core management activities.

The objective of the planned programme is to scale-up SLM. Clear linkages to the UN-convention implementation is foreseen.

The proposal will built on one programme but including different projects in countries and distinguishing 2 components.

  • Global component: Global Map of SLM (WAD, SOLAW, etc.)
  • Country component: countries so far and new.



Seminar on Tools for Assessing and Monitoring Sustainable Land Management/ Land Degradation and Decision Support to Address to-day’s Global Challenges, FAO, Rome, 17 February

A LADA-WOCAT seminar was held in Rome on 17 February 2010. The seminar was organized as part of an internal WOCAT management meeting. The aim of the seminar was to introduce LADA-WOCAT tools and methodologies to a broader public and especially to different FAO divisions to search for synergies and collaborations.  The morning was used for presentations of LADA and WOCAT and for group discussions, whereas in the afternoon presentations of different FAO divisions were given. Some 50-60 participants from various FAO divisions and other (Rome-based) institutions like IFAD, Global Mechanism, UNCCD, Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), UNEP/DGEF, EC Joint Research Center, Drynet, Global Mechanism and Bioversity International attended the meeting. A full report on the seminar can be downloaded from WOCAT_LADASeminar_16Feb2010.pdf -132 KB or from the LADA website:



At the latest WWSM in Morocco there were three options for hosting the next annual WOCAT meeting: Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Niger. A final decision was not taken during the WWSM in Morocco, but the Management Team has meanwhile decided to accept the offer from Kyrgyzstan for the following reasons: strategic regional interest, very new SLM environment, and the opportunity to further promote and establish WOCAT in Central Asia, should help to create synergies, strengthen collaboration and harmonize activities between different players.

For the coming WOCAT workshop it was originally foreseen to start with an open symposium (similar as was done in Switzerland) in order to bring together various international donors, organisations and institutions and to actively involve participants in developing the way forward. However, during the meeting in Rome it was decided that there would be a better chance of involving such parties during a major on-going event like the UNCCD CRIC meeting (Bonn, June 2010) rather than expecting them to travel to Central Asia. The WWSM would still take place in Kyrgyzstan, but separate from the symposium. Nevertheless, it is foreseen to invite local representatives of major donors and other interested institutions. The dates for the WWSM were tentatively set at 27 September – 2 October 2010, but the WOCAT management team has decided to postpone the next WOCAT workshop and steering meeting to the first half of 2011. The reasons for this decision are limited WOCAT budget, time constraints, ambiguity about the host and more time to prepare for new funding proposals, etc.

Other news

Development of a WOCAT ‘climate change’ questionnaire module

The development of a WOCAT Climate Change module questionnaire is planned to start in 2010. China has already developed additional questionnaire related to CC which can be used to complete the WOCAT questionnaire on SLM technologies. ICIMOD has shown interested in developing a CC module.


Up-coming events


An International Conference on Combating Land Degradation in Agricultural Areas (LANDCON 2010) will be jointly organised by Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Science and the Ministry of Water Resources under sponsorship of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC) and the Soil and Water Conservation Society of China (CSWCS).The meeting will be held in  Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China from October 11th to 15th, 2010.  Themes of the meeting will be:

  • Situation and evolution of land degradation

  • Mechanism and driving factors of land degradation

  • Control measures of land degradation

  • Evaluation of land degradation and land management on environment

  • Land degradation and regional social-economic sustainable development

  • Effect of global change on land degradation

  • And other relative topics.


The fourth DESIRE plenary meeting will be held in conjunction with the LANDCON meeting in Xi'an in October 2010. The DESIRE plenary meeting will start on October 11th and will last until October 18th. The DESIRE plenary meeting will be hosted by the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation in Yanling, Shaanxi province, P.R. China.


The 16th ISCO conference will take place from 7-12 December 2010 in Santiago, Chile. The main conference topics will be:

  • Multidisciplinary assessment of land degradation and desertification at local, national, regional and global scales.
  • Interaction between natural ecosystem components (land, water, biodiversity) and socioeconomic indicators and their overall impact on land degradation.
  • Impacts of human mismanagement on natural resources and examples of best management practices in reducing land degradation effects.
  • State and development of policy options, management strategies, and guidelines for sustainable natural resources use and management.

The purpose of ISCO (International Soil Conservation Organization) is to advocate for the sustainable, productive, and efficient use of soil and water resources.  It does so through improved understanding of natural resource management issues and enhanced communication among participants in its meetings and with others with similar concerns and commitments.  A primary feature of ISCO is the rather “informal” structure whereby no official “Constitution,” “Bylaws,” or membership fees are formulated or enacted.  The primary responsibility for the Organization resides with the country, institutions, and individuals (including the chief host designated as the current “President”) who host and organize the meetings. 

Many greetings

WOCAT secretariat