Decision Support

Decision support for SLM is one of the main objectives of WOCAT

To combat Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought (DLDD) worldwide, mainstreaming and scaling out Sustainable Land Management (SLM) has to be based on evidence and informed decision-making at all levels. SLM is best achieved through a combination of effective SLM technologies, implemented via appropriate SLM approaches, and supported by adequate socio-economic, legal, and institutional frameworks.

Hence developing an SLM strategy requires careful selection of alternatives and making decisions based on evaluation of diverse technology and approach options ("basket of options") according to multiple objectives and criteria. However, SLM knowledge and experiences/ options are still scattered and need standardized data collection, and knowledge management and dissemination (a standardized knowledge base). Furthermore, there is a general lack of guidance for decision-makers as to how to structure effective, participatory processes to select the best option. WOCAT and its partners and collaborating projects have developed a methodological framework for Decision Support for Mainstreaming and Scaling out SLM (WOCAT DS-Framework).

FAO and WOCAT, building on the former FAO-LADA (Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands) and DESIRE projects and relevant WOCAT experiences, have developed a methodological framework for Decision Support for Mainstreaming and Scaling out SLM from national to local landscape levels. The framework offers a detailed description of activities, tools, and methods that are available for use and adaptation by different countries to facilitate SLM Decision-Making. SLM comprises the land management technologies (what practices on the ground), the approaches (how they are implemented), and their combination in land use systems.

The DSF is currently being applied and tested in the 15 countries involved in the GEF/ FAO project – Decision Support for Mainstreaming and Scaling out SLM (DS-SLM) – and adapted to the specific needs in each country and at each level of decision-making. The DSF enables the stakeholders (government and non-government institutions, civil society organizations, research, academia, private sector) to make informed decisions on mainstreaming and scaling out SLM by providing in-depth knowledge, understanding, and analysis of the effects of land use change and management, effectiveness of SLM responses, and evidence on the reasons why it is crucial to invest in SLM, and where, how, what, and when to invest. Priority SLM strategies are evaluated and selected through a compilation of knowledge and analysis of experiences, and negotiation of various options and criteria by national and local decision-makers and stakeholder groups. A modular framework with different entry levels allows for a wide flexibility in the application by different countries, according to their context and needs.

DS Framework
Read more about the DS-SLM project

The DS-SLM project contributes to halting and reversing current global trends in land degradation by supporting 15 countries in mainstreaming and scaling out SLM.

» Discover the DS-SLM project

Extended DS-Modules

The three WOCAT Consortium Partners – CDE, ISRIC, and GIZ – have recently collaborated to further develop Module 2 National/ Subnational Level Assessment and Module 4 Landscape Level Assessment. A series of steps is recommended – including stakeholder workshops, expert assessments, SLM data collection, mapping and analysis, and the use of WOCAT tools and methods such as the Global Database on SLM – which have been established by WOCAT and its partners over time.

Please read more about the steps suggested for Module 2 National/ Subnational Level Assessment and Module 4 Landscape Level Assessment on the respective subpages.


The DSF is still under development. Please contact the WOCAT Secretariat for the latest updates and further details.