Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Policy support framework to combat desertification

The design of a Desertification Policy Support Framework (DPSF) is proposed to serve as an organizational scheme to guide the horizontal and vertical synthesis and integration of currently disparate and mostly uncoordinated policies (and the associated organizational/ institutional structures) in order to address as holistically as possible the phenomenon of desertification while taking into account non-policy factors. Two versions of the DPSF are proposed one for the EU and one for individual countries. Proposals for alternative ways for making each DPSF operational are offered also.

The proposed DPSF draws on the comprehensive/integrated approach to problem solving and policy making where solutions to complex socio-environmental problems, such as desertification, are developed by considering the interrelationships among their bio-physical and socio-economic determinants and, consequently, the relationships among the policies impinging on these determinants. Policy integration is the center-piece of this approach that may range from loose and simple arrangements among policy milieus to tight and regulated arrangements.

Because the realization of a comprehensive approach meets with considerable conceptual, scientific, ethical and practical problems, the proposed DPSF provides a middle ground characterized by an informed, democratically derived, selective emphasis on critical, tactically or strategically defensible, points of intervention and by the acceptance of inevitable errors and of the need to correct them through a continuous and open policy making process. The choice, suitability, feasibility and effectiveness of its several variants depend on the prevailing value systems and priorities of the socio-cultural and political context of their application.

The proposed DPSF can be used in cases of
- Programme and project financing,
- Current policy implementation to ensure that implementation mechanisms are properly coordinated so that the different policies work in harmony and efficiently and they do not counter the goal of combating desertification,
- Policy evaluation and revision to identify and correct problems with extant policies (e.g. CAP, regional policy, etc.) especially as regards problems with their coordination,
- New policy formulation to ensure that links develop between existing and new policies that ensure policy coordination, avoidance of overlaps as well as of conflicts and
- Public participation and awareness raising to activate the complete set of formal and informal actors involved in the problem and connect them properly towards cooperation and coordination.

The end users of the DPSF-EU are the DGs most closely involved in desertification-related policy making (Regio, Agri, Environment) or any other Community service that is defined as the lead organization that will adopt and manage it.

The end users of the DPSF-country are national ministries with horizontal competencies preferably or the national Committees to Combat Desertification or any other organization a country chooses to administer the DPSF.

The innovative features of the DPSF is its orientation towards integrated policy making, and more specifically on horizontal policy integration, the emphasis on policy actors and their relationships, the provision a scheme that ensures consistency at all levels of decision making from that of the spatial system of reference to the actors involved and their relationships, to the combinations of policies down to the information and monitoring systems.

Potential barriers to its adoption and application are the departmentalized character of policy making and the lack of horizontal relationships among policy communities and organizations.

Informations connexes

Reported by

University of the Aegean
University of the Aegean, University Hill
81100 Mytilini