At the end of 2002 I launched an electronic network for people interested in all aspects of desertification and poverty. In 2006, this network had more than 1000 members. It has been taken over by the secretariat of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) for a period of 6 months (until the end of 2006). Today, looking for opportunities to network organisations and individuals with interest in desertification, I use this blog to send personal contributions and collected information to the internet.

This blog aims at bringing all these people closer to one another, as they all have the same attention for the desertification and poverty problems.

I will try to bring a sort of historical review of the most important contributions to the PEOPLE FOR ACTION network. I am convinced that, looking back to the last years, we will find a lot of data to be reviewed in the light of recent events.

Today, I convey my introduction to “INFO 001” to you. It was my opening statement of the network.


INFO 001

Dear Friends,

One of the important messages and conclusions of UNCCD’s CRIC1 in Rome (11-22/12/02) was that there is an urgent need for exchange of information within a network of individuals interested in the desertification problems. Many of us enjoyed very much the presentations of case studies and the ensuing discussions, although seemingly there was no time for in-depth analysis or exchanges of views on the situation in other countries. Nevertheless, CRIC1 certainly was a real success!

Most of the participants will remember that single sentence, repeatedly coming up in different interventions from the podium and the floor : “There is no more time for talking, this is time for action !“. I had a couple of times the privilege and the pleasure of reminding my friends that “REAL ACTION” could be launched by selecting a small number of success stories (best practices) and applying these in small scale projects, but in a large number of countries in all regions. The TPNs (Thematic Program Network) seem to be an excellent forum for setting up such comparative initiatives (see the pilot projects of the Asian TPN3 on sand dune fixation and rangeland management to be launched pretty soon in Iran). It goes without saying that we still need to exchange a lot of ideas on the way such actions could be optimally planned.

In order to enable a large number of colleagues and friends to participate in this exchange, I take today the liberty of sending this message to a list of e-mail addresses stocked in my computer, asking you first of all if you are interested in receiving from time to time my messages concerning desertification aspects.


You are interested in receiving this info? Just wait for the next message, coming up quite soon!

Maybe you have from time to time some interesting information for our “TC-CCD Network/Réseau“? Please do not hesitate to send it first to me and I will forward it to all members of the network. It is my intention to create in this way a functional network of individuals interested in desertification and UNCCD. Through our exchanges we will be more and more in a position to bridge the inter-sessional periods of COPs and CRICs. I hope you will contribute to it in a very effective way, by sending comments on former messages, by sending important info yourself and especially by promoting the real CCD-family spirit.

I hereby declare the TC-CCD Network/Réseau open and I look forward to receive your contributions. LET US DO IT!


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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