Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Guidelines and recommendations for introducing the desertification dimension in specific policies at EU and national level

Using the policy analysis methodology especially developed for complex problems, guidelines & recommendations for introducing the desertification dimension in specific EU and national level (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) policies have been developed. The selected policies are those that directly or indirectly contribute, negatively or positively, to land degradation and desertification. They include: the National Action Programmes of the four Annex IV EU member states (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece), EU common policies (economic, social, regional development, transport, rural development, horizontal environmental, forest, water resources, biodiversity protection, soil protection) and national policies (economic, social, regional development, transport, tourism, spatial, rural development, horizontal environmental, forest, water resources, biodiversity protection, soil protection).

For each policy examined, the guidelines & recommendations concern
- General proposals that are necessary to improve the performance of the policy,
- Proposals for introducing the desertification dimension as regards the policy object, policy goals and objectives, policy actors and actor networks and their relationships with other policy actors, and policy instruments.

Necessary relationships that should develop among particular policies for the purpose of addressing holistically the desertification threat in the affected regions of the EU are indicated also in terms of the above items (object, goals, actors, instruments). This is a first step towards policy integration that should be eventually promoted in order to address effectively complex policy problems such as desertification.

Potential applications of the guidelines and recommendations include:
- Formulating new policies,
- Evaluating extant policies and
- Revising and modifying them appropriately to address the desertification threat (and not only).

EU and national public organizations that are involved in formulating and administering the respective policies can use the guidelines and recommendations in order to examine the possibility of introducing the necessary changes to make these policies more appropriate for coping with desertification. They can be used also by interested groups of stakeholders (professional, social, academic, NGOs) to complement their own recommendations as regards policy interventions in selected policy areas to address particular aspects of the desertification threat.

It should be noted that the end users of the recommendations offered for the particular case of desertification at closer examination may recognize that these recommendations are meaningful and helpful in addressing other complex policy problems (e.g. climate change, biodiversity decline, etc.) as well.

The innovative features of the proposed policy recommendations are that they emphasize the procedural aspects of the respective policies and the relationships with other policies for increased effectiveness. The thrust of the recommendations is on developing policy integration procedures and in using policy instruments with high integration potential.

Potential barriers to adopting and, most importantly, applying the proposed guidelines and recommendations include the different policy cultures of both policy administering bodies as well as of policy recipients and lack of horizontal relationships among policy making bodies.

Reported by

University of the Aegean
University of the Aegean, Department of Geography
81100 Mytilini
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