WOCAT season's greetings 2014/2015

Dear WOCAT colleagues and friends,

Season’s greetings!

The WOCAT Secretariat would like to thank you for your great collaboration in 2014 and earlier, and for your valuable work in the network going forward.

The outgoing year 2014 was an important one for WOCAT, especially in regards to finalising our new institutional setup. 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 signing of the Framework Agreement marks the start of a strengthened and fruitful collaboration among the Consortium Partners and for the global WOCAT network.

Further, 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 WOCAT as primary recommended database for best practices on SLM technologies, which marks another important milestone of this year.

Key events for WOCAT in 2015 are the 3rd UNCCD Scientific Conference in Mexico (March), the Global Soil Week in Germany (April), and the WOCAT Network Meeting in Germany (June). At all three events the new institutional set-up of WOCAT Network/ WOCAT International will be launched in special sessions. All these activities will be linked to the International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015, which offers a window of opportunity to put soil and land on the international political agenda as a key to sustainable development.

We are looking forward to meeting you at some of the events and to our further collaboration. We wish you a happy and prosperous 2015!

Warm regards,

WOCAT Secretariat

Hanspeter Liniger, Isabelle Providoli, Rima Mekdaschi Studer, Nina Lauterburg, Julie Zähringer, Gudrun Schwilch, Nicole Harari, Mats Gurtner, Bettina Wolfgramm, Markus Giger