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WESCANA Desertification Programme Centre in the West/Central Asia and North Africa Region

Objectives: The development goal of the Programme is to promote the sustainable management of arid and semi –arid areas in WESCANA Region, including their biodiversity resources which should be conserved or rehabilitated through the participation and action of local communities.
Sectorial Topic (Note): Sustainable land use management, including water, soil and vegetation in affected areas
Actor(s)[Nation(Ministry, Agency)/Organization]: General Directorate for Cooperation for Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy); IUCN
Contents: The Italian Cooperation is actively engaged in programmes and projects aiming at influencing policies and practices that combat desertification and land degradation. Consistently, it promotes the implementation of the UNCCD, through interventions at national and regional levels and through support to the Secretariat of the Convention itself. Among these, an Action Programme UNCCD- Convention on Biodiversity for the integration of post-Rio processes was started and the Matera International Centre for Traditional Knowledge on Desertification has been established. The Italian Cooperation also supports and collaborates with the World Conservation Union (IUCN)on dry- land/desertification issues in WESCANA countries.
Means of Implementation: Negotiations are underway for the formal establishment of the Thematic Regional Desertification Centre in Iran.
Technical assistance is being provided in the management and/or rehabilitation of desert biodiversity resources in pilot project areas.
Pilot income-generation projects have started, implemented by the local communities. Through these pilot initiatives, collaborative management agreements will be established among stakeholders, for the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources.
The training of the local actors involved in the pilot projects, including local communities and NGOs, Government departments and other stakeholders, is under implementation.
An assessment is under implementation of traditional and indigenous knowledge and practices, as well as of modern tools and practices, in order to select, upgrade, promote and integrate the most appropriate ones into extension programmes for the sustainable management of natural resources.
A proposal for re-addressing conventional approaches to range- land management is under formulation.
Target year: 2004
Target Area/Place: West/Central Asia and North Africa (WESCANA) Region
Expected Outcome(S): The Regional Desertification Programme Centre in Iran is consolidated as the focal point for the regional network of networks to combat desertification.
Technological know-how is acquired for the management and/or rehabilitation of dry-lands.
Capacities are strengthened through the training of the local actors involved in the pilot projects, including local communities and NGOs, Government departments and other stakeholders.
Collaborative management agreements on the sustainable and equitable management of biodiversity resources under dry- land conditions are concluded among the stakeholders of the different pilot projects.
Traditional and indigenous knowledge and practices are and promoted, as well as integrated into modern tools and techniques for the sustainable use of natural resources.
The implementation of policies and conventions, in particular the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is coordinated in the WESCANA Region in order to develop synergies among them and strengthen their positive impact.
Relevance to the Plan of Implementation of WSSD: This project addresses several priority actions identified in the plan of implementation which are related to:
- collaborative management
- economic development
- environmental sustainability
- trans-nationality
Other Information:
(Contact): Dr. Alfredo Guillet
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate General for Development Cooperation
Phone: + Address: Via Contarini, 25 00194 Roma
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