Desertification, land degradation and drought
Institute for environment and sustainability
The DESERT Action provides support to DG Development (DEV) for the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) by providing scientific and technical support and advice in response to the priorities and needs as identified by the Convention parties to the UNCCD. The provision of scientifically-based information on the environmental state (biophysical and socio-economic parameters) over large areas as well as on possible degradation trends is important also for DG EuropAid. At the same time, DESERT supports DG Environment in the implementation of its policies related to drought and water scarcity in Europe. These objectives will be reached in collaboration with the JRC Actions SOIL, MONDE, FLOODS, and SOLO.
International Activities with a European Dimension include the support to the UNCCD. Two regional annexes of the UNCCD cover the Mediterranean countries (Annex IV) and the Central and Eastern European countries (Annex V). Action DESERT has established strong links with the European Desertification Research Community through its EU DesertNet network (http://www.european-desertnet.eu/), with which the Action DESERT collaborate in the Dryland Science for Development (DSD) consortium for organising the 2009 session of the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology (CST) in the form of a scientific conference. Close collaboration exists with Action SOIL with respect to all soil related aspects of desertification. In addition, DESERT has a formal collaboration with the Drought Management Centre for South-East Europe (DMCSEE), which was established by the UNCCD and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). In support to DG Environment the Joint Research Centre is participating in the Water Scarcity and Drought Expert Network within the Common Implementation Strategy of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), as well as in the Water Scarcity and Drought Working Group of the Joint Process of the Mediterranean component of the EU Water Initiative.
International Activities outside Europe relate to the support to DG Development and DG EuropeAid with a focus on the ACP-(Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries. This work is structured inter alia through the DESERT contribution to JRC's ACP-Observatory (http://acpobservatory.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) and to the implementation of the EU-African Union strategic partnerships on "Science, Information Society and Space" and on "Climate Change". The training and capacity building activities foreseen are targeted to experts from the ACP countries.
In summary, DESERT will address the following overarching objectives:
Provide scientific support to the implementation of the UNCCD, specifically to the Committee on Science and Technology.
Development of a European Drought Observatory.
Development of the new World Atlas of Desertification.
Development of benchmarks and indicators for drought and desertification assessment and monitoring.
Contribution to the development of global Monitoring Networks and Early Warning Systems (EWS) for desertification.
Training in assessment, monitoring and mitigation strategies for staff and scientists from countries affected by drought and desertification, particularly from affected Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.