The 'Oasis' partnership is the CGIAR's initiative to provide research support to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Oasis engages seven CGIAR centers, many NARS, UN agencies (UNEP, UNDP, FAO), civil society organizations (IUCN, WWF), NGOs, and ARIs.
Oasis catalyzes innovative research-for-development partnerships among agricultural and meteorological institutions, and with agricultural stakeholders in the public and private sectors. Oasis is currently studying local methods and indicators of drought and desertification, and coping methods, as well as science-generated indicators and new or improved adaptation strategies.
The Desert Margins Program (DMP) is a collaborative effort among nine African countries that include the margins of the deserts that encircle sub-Saharan Africa: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa and Zim babwe. Rainfall is low and unreliable in these countries. The goal of the DMP is to help these countries arrest land degradation through more sustainable practices and systems that improve livelihoods. The DMP pursues this goal through partnership-based research-for-development activities, demonstration to farmers, and capacity building.
The DMP countries are assisted by five CGIAR centers: ICRAF, ICRISAT, IFDC, ILRI and TSBF-CIAT. In addition, three advanced research institutes from the developed world contribute their expertise in specific areas (CEH, CIRAD and IRD). Regional networks (ASARECA, CORAF, and SADC-FANR) and non-governmental organizations are also core participants.
The DMP is currently executing a major GEF/UNEP project to arrest land degradation, with particular emphasis on indigenous knowledge. This includes local methods and indicators of drought prediction, as well as indicators of drought, and coping methods.
The Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics (VASAT) is positioned as a coalition of sources to promote knowledge-sharing in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The coalition membership, which is non-formal, ranges from IARCs and NARS to community-based or rural NGOs. Activities presently take place in both West and Central Africa as well as in South Asia. Lead partners include the Desert Margins Program, along with the ICT/Knowledge Management program of the CGIAR. The Commonwealth of Learning, an inter-governmental organization that promotes non-formal learning, is a key advisor.
VASAT aims to develop climate literacy and drought preparedness among rural communities, development workers, service providers, policy makers, and other strategic sectors through the integrated use of information and communication technology (ICT), open distance learning, and other communication media. It will also communicate information on climatic trends like monsoon behavior and methods of drought management for community mobilization and disaster preparedness.
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