Definition of Sustainable Land Management: The World Bank defines Sustainable Land Management (SLM) as "a knowledge-based procedure that helps integrate land, water, biodiversity, and environmental management (including input and output externalities) to meet rising food and fibre demands while sustaining ecosystem services and livelihoods". SLM is necessary to meet the requirements of a growing population. Improper land management can lead to land degradation and a significant reduction in the productive and service (biodiversity niches, hydrology, carbon sequestration) functions of watersheds and landscapes.
Why is SLM important? Controlling land degradation is central to achieving food security, sustainable agricultural and rural development in many countries. Although both land users and sustainable land management (SLM) specialists have developed (and continue to enlarge on) a wealth of know-how related to land management the implementation of this know-how still lags far behind. One reason for this is that much of this valuable knowledge is poorly documented and thus mostly not accessible to analysis, evaluation and dissemination. Knowledge related to SLM often remains only a local, individual and institutional resource, unavailable to others working in comparable areas and seeking to accomplish similar tasks.
Access to SLM information! The UNCCD (the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) identified the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) information system as the primary international database for best practices on SLM technologies. The UNCCD's official recognition gives WOCAT a mandate to support the 194 signatory countries in recording their own SLM best practices and using the SLM knowledge of stakeholders worldwide - from land users to decision-makers - to improve local land management.
What is WOCAT about? The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies Programme (WOCAT) focuses mainly on efforts to prevent and reduce land degradation through Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) technologies and their implementation approaches. The use and sharing of information related to these efforts is a key asset of WOCAT. Training enhances capacities for better SWC implementation. This leads to improved knowledge management. The aim of WOCAT, as a network, is to increase the awareness and motivation of planners and decision makers as well as land users and agricultural advisors. WOCAT hopes to reduce investment failures by providing knowledge support concerning the advantages and disadvantages of available alternatives, based on a wide range of experience in the field.
managing a global knowledge base on SLM and presenting the information through different media
developing standardized tools and methods for knowledge management and decision support
building up and coordinating a global network of SLM specialists
enhancing capacity of involved actors (research, training and education)