WOCAT news - September 2014

Dear WOCAT member

We are pleased to share some WOCAT news with you.

WOCAT International – Framework Agreement signed by nine Consortium Partners

The nine Consortium Partners, namely CDE (University of Bern), FAO, GIZ, ISRIC, ICARDA, ICIMOD, CGIAR, SDC and the University of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa), have signed the Framework Agreement of WOCAT International in August 2014. The Framework Agreement formalises the to date informal global network, defining the WOCAT Network as WOCAT International, and WOCAT Regional and National. The nine Consortium Partners build together the Steering Committee of WOCAT International and have a shared responsibility for the functioning of the WOCAT Network. The WOCAT Network’s vision is that of improving land and people’s livelihoods by sharing, enhancing, and using sustainable land management (SLM) knowledge.

The nine designated WOCAT International Consortium Partners already met in Berne on 3-4 June 2014 in order to discuss the new WOCAT strategy 2015-2018, and the implementation of the Framework Agreement. The meeting was to a large extent a ‘getting to know each other’, and defining the new partnership. This also included the exchange of ongoing and planned projects, highlighting synergies, complementarities and possible cooperation.

The signing of the Framework Agreement marks the start of a strengthened and fruitful collaboration among the Consortium Partners and for the global WOCAT network. A launching event for WOCAT International is planned in the near future.

UNCCD identifies WOCAT as the primary recommended database for best practices on SLM technologies

We are pleased to announce that an agreement between UNCCD (the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) and WOCAT was signed on 15 April 2014 by the Executive Secretary Ms. Monique Barbut and the WOCAT Director Hanspeter Liniger. UNCCD identified the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) as primary recommended database for best practices on SLM technologies.

The UNCCD’s official recognition gives WOCAT the mandate to support the 194 signatory countries in recording their own SLM best practices and using the SLM knowledge of stakeholders worldwide – from land users to decision-makers – to improve local land management.

New WOCAT instructional videos

WOCAT has produced five new short instructional videos on SLM practices in a pilot project with IFAD on ‘Transferring Knowledge from Land User to Land User through Audio-Visual Messages – Exploring the Potential of Instructional Videos’.

The instructional videos capture existing knowledge on SLM practices in an attractive and simple way whereby enabling communication in a personalized manner to individual land users. The protagonists of the videos, the land users, are explaining and demonstrating the implementation, functionality and benefits of SLM technologies or approaches to other land users, the target audience of the videos.

The primary objective of the farmer-narrated instructional videos is to serve as an audio-visual guide for the implementation of SLM practices and motivate land users to replicate a particular SLM technology or approach on their fields. The videos are not a standalone tool but a knowledge product which is part of a larger training package including a written documentation of SLM practices which contains further details and data on the practice.

The videos can be watched here.

News from the Regions / Countries

Please share your news with us!

Helvetas Afghanistan: Factsheets on SLM Technologies and Approaches

We are pleased to announce that through Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Afghanistan 3 SLM Technologies and 1 SLM Approach have been documented.

Since 2008, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has explored sustainable ways to mitigate the risks of flash floods and drought through sustainable watershed management and by empowering the communities to play a pivotal role in disaster risk management. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation invests in active knowledge, processes, methods and tools for learning, creating new knowledge, knowledge exchange and applying best practices. For sustainable land management and watershed management, it promotes and applies the globally standardized WOCAT tools and methods as well as facilitates the setting up of Afghanistan Conservation Approaches Technologies and Approaches (AFCAT) network through Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP) funded by SDC.

Soil and Water Conservation practices in improving production techniques in arid and desert areas (MENA-DELP Project)

WOCAT has conducted a detailed study for the MENA-DELP Project to highlight the contribution of good Soil and Water Conservation practices in improving production techniques in arid and desert areas. The Desert Ecosystems and Livelihoods Knowledge Sharing and Coordination Project (MENA-DELP) aims to provide support to national investment projects conducted in five MENA countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia, and a regional project coordinated by Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) for knowledge sharing and coordination among the five concerned countries. The MENA-DELP project aims at a better understanding of the linkages between desert ecosystem services and desert livelihoods for an informed decision-making. WOCAT attended the 2nd regional workshop on best agricultural practices in desert areas, held on 4 and 5 May, 2014 AMMAN – JORDAN. First results of the study were presented to the partner countries followed by discussions, exchange and brainstorming in plenary and group work on topics related to best agricultural practices in the desert areas.

Kagera Transboundary Agro-ecosystem management project (FAO)

Kagera Transboundary Agro-ecosystem management project is a regional project comprising four West African countries – Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – that share the Kagera river basin. The global objective of the project is to adopt an integrated ecosystems approach for the management of land resources in the Kagera Basin that will generate local, national and global benefits.

Since 2012, a group of SLM experts from all over the Kagera basin is evaluating and documenting successful and sustainable land management interventions, including agroforestry, water harvesting, soil fertility management, crop-livestock management, cross-slope barriers, approaches and new innovative opportunities. The SLM documentalists finalised the evaluation of 2 out of the selected 4 watersheds, and completed the documentation of 26 out of 36 technologies and approaches, which are available in the WOCAT database.

The latest results will be uploaded shortly on the project website.

News from FAO’s regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean

The WOCAT team at FAO’s regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean published a regional module of the WOCAT SLM Technologies questionnaire (QT). The module is based on the original QT but adapted to the Latin-American conditions and combined with the WOCAT module for climate change. The new module will hopefully be experienced as more concise and user friendly.

The publication of the module describes how the original questionnaire was adapted to the regional conditions and tested in some pilot cases, how it later was revised during a regional workshop and finally applied by independent experts to real cases in Latin America, resulting in 12 new practices systematized. The publication also contains a summary of those practices.

Update on WOCAT user interface

Language setting in Technologies and Approaches database

The user interface of the databases is now newly available also in Tajik, besides English, French, Spanish and Russian. The language setting is at the very top of the website. Try it out.

Login new as “single sign in”

If you login to the WOCAT website you are automatically also logged in to the Technologies, Approaches and Mapping databases, and also the other way round. Hence, by logging in once you get automatically access to all the databases.

Furthermore, the database websites are linked with the WOCAT Homepage by clicking on the WOCAT logo.

Best wishes

WOCAT Secretariat