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MEDACTION Policies for land use to combat desertification

Objectives: MEDACTION will develop an information and decision-support base on desertification issues in the Northern Mediterranean to assist decision makers at all levels (from the local to the European Union level) in the formal and informal decision and policy making process.
Sectorial Topic (Note): Desertification monitoring and assessment
Actor(s)[Nation(Ministry, Agency)/Organization]: Maastricht University International Centre for Integrative Studies (The Netherlands), Kings College London Department of Geography (UK); Inst. Para Desenvolv. Rurale e Gestao Ambiental (IDRGA) (Portugal); INEA (Italy); Agr. University Athens (AUA) Agr. Extension, Rural Systems & Rural Sociology (Greece), University Autonoma de Madrid Department de Ecologia (Spain)
Contents: Desertification in the Mediterranean region, as in most other semi-arid regions, is largely a society-driven problem which can only be effectively managed through a thorough understanding of the principal ecological, socio-cultural and economic driving forces associated with land use and climate change, and of their impacts. For this reason, MEDACTION adopts an integrated, multidisciplinary approach, involving social and natural scientists as well as the principal stakeholders in the region to develop land use policies and sustainable management strategies that address and mitigate the specific problems of land degradation, desertification and sustainable development at various scales.
Means of Implementation: Amount of financing 1.899.953,00 euro.
Funding for the project was provided by the European Commission, DG XIII under the 4th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Programme.
Target year: 2003
Target Area/Place: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece
Expected Outcome(S): The project will produce many reports and publications in both scientific and non-scientific journals addressing the main issues underlying the causes, effects and mitigation options for managing land degradation and desertification in the Northern Mediterranean region.
Several models, scenarios, and manuals will be developed and made available to local, regional and EU planners and policy makers to improve management and policy strategies related to (mitigation of) land degradation and desertification
An interactive Internet-based synoptic prediction system will be developed which will be accessible to end-users and policy makers free of charge to assess land use change and land degradation based on climate change scenarios. A Desertification Policy Support Framework Manual will supply guidelines to improve the design and preparation of policies related to desertification in the Northern Mediterranean region.
A Policy Support System for the Guadalentín and Lesvos target areas will be made available on CD-ROM, with a User manual. An alternative Decision Support System for application in the Agri and Alentejo basins will provide output for specified land use, climate and policy scenarios.
Relevance to the Plan of Implementation of WSSD: This project addresses several priority actions identified in the plan of implementation which are related to the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to address causes of desertification and land degradation in order to maintain and restore land, and to address poverty resulting from land degradation (§ 41). In particular providing affordable local access to information to improve monitoring and early warning related to desertification and drought (§ 41, e).
Other Information:
(Contact): Dr D. De Groot
Maastricht University
International Centre for Integrative Studies
Kapoenstraat 23
6211 KV Maastricht
The Netherlands
Tel: +31.433.88.26.62
Fax: +31.433.88.49.16
Email :
Web site:
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