Science for Improving the Monitoring and Assessment of Dryland Degradation

Winslow, M D and Vogt, J V and Thomas, R J and Sommer, S and Martius, C and Akhtar-Schuster, M (2011) Science for Improving the Monitoring and Assessment of Dryland Degradation. Land Degradation & Development, 22. pp. 145-149. ISSN 1085-3278

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The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) commissioned its First Scientific Conference in 2009 to deliberate on ways to improve the global monitoring and assessment of dryland degradation to support decision-making in land and water management. The papers included in this issue of Land Degradation & Development elaborate the reasoning behind the 11 recommendations that emerged from the Conference and were formally submitted to the UNCCD. These papers argue for a more holistic, harmonised and integrated approach to dryland monitoring and assessment, and describe scientific and institutional approaches for achieving this goal. A central challenge is to integrate human/social with environmental observations in accordance with the Convention’s view that the interactions and tradeoffs between human development needs and land condition must be considered. A global monitoring and assessment regime should be established to gather and analyse relevant data on a routine basis, allowing locally-relevant indicators to be aggregated into meaningful classes appropriate to different decision-making levels. The underlying forces that cause changes in land condition should also be monitored and assessed so that remedial actions can target the true causes of dryland degradation, including social, economic, policy, institutional and knowledge drivers that have often been overlooked in the past. Monitoring and assessment should hybridise differing types of knowledge generated by different stakeholders in order to strengthen collective capacities to combat dryland degradation. An independent scientific advisory mechanism should be created to advise the UNCCD about the results emerging from the monitoring and assessment regime in order to improve decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: UNCCD;desertification;dryland degradation;drought;monitoring and assessment;sustainable land management;knowledge management;Dryland Development Paradigm;integrated assessment modelling
Agro Tags: <b>Agrotags</b> - arid zones | land resources | monitoring | group communication | environmental degradation | agreements | audiovisual aids | mechanization | sustainability | land management <br><b>Fishtags</b> - drying <br><b>Geopoliticaltags</b> - buenos aires | centre | india
Subjects: Others > Land Degradation
Depositing User: Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 07:22
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 09:13
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The UNCCD Scientific Conference process that created the impetus for the studies presented in this special issue was organised by the Dryland Science for Development (DSD) Consortium under the auspices of the UNCCD’s Committee on Science and Technology. The five DSD member institutions were (in alphabetical order): DesertNet International (DNI), the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre—Institute for Environment and Sustainability (JRC-IES) and United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH). In addition to support from the DSD member institutions, DSD organisational meetings, consultations and participation in the Scientific Conference were made possible through additional support from (in alphabetical order by organisation) the European Commission (EC); the Convention Project to Combat Desertification (CCD Project) of Deutsche Gesellschaft fu¨r Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH acting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The DSD engaged approximately 200 scientists worldwide in working group deliberations, representing a wide range of expertise and regional and disciplinary diversity. Their contributions formed the basis of the ideas presented here.
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