Some thoughts on policy and desertification: what key contributions can scientists make to policy processes in the southern African context?
AbstractTwo types of desertification professionals are typically characterised – the scientist and the policy-maker. After many years of efforts to combat desertification and promote sustainable land management, it is surprising that these diverging perceptions remain so fixed. They prevailed throughout the process of establishing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and continue for a variety of reasons, which include the relatively slow, iterative processes of science related to rapid demands of human crises and change. In reality all relevant scientists, whether they be social or biophysical, as well policy- and decisionmakers need to, and often do, work together to adequately address the desertification challenge. This paper uses practical examples of important desertification policy processes and measures that integrate critical science information, including examples on setting sustainable land management (SLM) standards, developing land-use planning frameworks, and establishing SLM monitoring and evaluation systems.
Keywords: environmental sustainability standards; land-use planning; monitoring and evaluation; sustainable land management
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2009, 26(3): 149–157