World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT)

WOCAT is an established global network of sustainable land management (SLM) specialists. The overall goal of the WOCAT Network is to unite the efforts in knowledge management and decision support for up-scaling SLM among all stakeholders including national governmental and non-governmental institutions and international and regional organizations and programmes. The WOCAT Network provides tools that allow SLM specialists to identify fields and needs of action, share their valuable knowledge in land management, that assist them in their search for appropriate SLM technologies and approaches, and that support them in making decisions in the field and at the planning level, and in up-scaling identified best SLM practices.

China Loess Plateau
China Loess Plateau. Structural measures and permanent soil cover prevent surface runoff and conserve soil water by improving infiltration and reducing evaporation. Photo: Hanspeter Liniger

Set-up of the WOCAT Network

The WOCAT Network was established over two decades ago under the joint management of CDE, FAO, and World Soil Information (ISRIC). In 2014 the WOCAT Network was reorganized to establish a more formalized international network. The WOCAT Network comprises WOCAT International with nine Consortium Partners as well as WOCAT Regional/National and its Institutional and Individual Members (see section ‘partners).

Orchard-based agroforestry
Tajikistan. Orchard-based agroforestry plot surrounded by degraded lands. Photo: Hanspeter Liniger

UNCCD recognition

In early 2014, WOCAT’s growth and ongoing improvement culminated in the official recognition by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) as the primary recommended database for SLM best practices, including measures of adaptation. The UNCCD recognition gives WOCAT the mandate to support the 196 signatory countries in recording their SLM best practices and using the SLM knowledge of stakeholders worldwide – from land users to decision-makers – to improve local land management.

About the UNCCD-WOCAT partnership

Wocat video
Tajikistan. Women watching a short WOCAT video on a SLM technology during a workshop. Photo: Hanspeter Liniger

Knowledge products

Based on the WOCAT tools and methods various knowledge products have been produced together with different partners. These knowledge products help people involved in SLM to identify suitable SLM technologies and approaches, determine priority areas for interventions and make informed decisions at the local/landscape/watershed, (sub-) national and global level.  The most important WOCAT knowledge products comprise: 1) a global online database system, 2) global, regional, national books, factsheets and brochures, and 3) SLM Videos (see section ‘publications’).

Visit the WOCAT website for further information.


Some of the recent WOCAT publications are:

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WOCAT is organized as a global network of SLM specialists from over 50 countries and is comprised of WOCAT International, with its nine Consortium Partners, and WOCAT Regional/National and its Institutional and Individual Members.

The WOCAT International  Consortium Partners

  • University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • ISRIC - World Soil Information (Stichting International Soil Reference & Information Centre)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
  • International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CGIAR
  • University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Representatives from each of the nine Consortium Partners build WOCAT International’s Steering Committee and bear shared responsibility for ensuring the proper functioning of the WOCAT Network.