Land degradation can be prevented, degraded lands restored and drought mitigated through sustainable land and water use techniques supported by relevant institutional measures and policies. Understanding the causes of inaction (or of inappropriate action) is the key in delivering effective land degradation policies. Policies and programmes should focus on addressing and changing the behavioural patterns that lead to land degradation. Moreover, it is uncontested that policies and programmes are better accepted in communities and by population if enacted by local councils than by higher authorities. The local communities must be empowered to manage natural resources and it is essential that the users of the land receive direct benefits from preventing or mitigating land degradation. Based on the previous plenary sessions, the White papers I and II and the Background Document, this session aims at discussing the transfer from research to policy making to implementation; how to balance policy making with top down and bottom up approaches; how to ensure compatibility between science and local knowledge and institutions; and how to implement efficient measures at local councils, regional and higher authorities as well as the main hurdles that prevent these measures from being realized.

SESSION CHAIR: Jonathan DAVIES; Coordinator of the Global Drylands Initiative within IUCN's Ecosystem Management Program, Nairobi, Kenya

PANELLISTS

Mohamed BAKARR; Senior Environmental Scientist, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington, D.C., USA, "Investing in Policies and Strategies for Sustainable Land Management - Catalytic Role of the Global Environment Facility"

Debalkew BERHE; Programme Manager for Environment Protection and Natural Resources Management, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Headquartered in Djibouti, Djibouti "The IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) as a global, regional, national and local strategic framework to end drought emergencies in the Horn of Africa"

Chris REIJ - Sustainable Land Management Specialist - Centre for International Cooperation - Free University Amsterdam - The Netherlands and a Senior Fellow - World Resources Institute - Washington - USA - "Strategies and policies for scaling up re-greening successes"

Christina SEEBERG-ELVERFELDT; Desk Officer, Division 314, Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, Germany,"Seizing opportunities for sustainable land management through targeted policies and strategies"

François TAPSOBA; FAO Chief Technical Advisor to the African Union Commission in charge of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, "Initiative de la grande Muraille verte et restauration des zones arides en Afrique Sahélienne"

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