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PHILCAT participates in the Share Fair and 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting (WWSM) in Kyrgyzstan

By Engr. Samuel Contreras
July 25, 2011

(Left) Engr. Contreras with some of the participants of the Share Fare with poster presentation at the background; (Right) Participants of the Share Fair and 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting in one of their field visits to a pasture area in Naryn.
As a member the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), the Philippine Conservation Approaches and Technologies (PHILCAT) actively participated in the Share Fair and 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting held in Bishkek and Naryn, Kyrgyzstan on June 21-27, 2011. PHILCAT was represented by Engr. Samuel M. Contreras, Division Chief of the Soil Conservation and Management Division, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), who presented the progress report and proposed work plan of PHILCAT for the next two years. In his presentation, Engr. Contreras highlighted the PHILCAT’s achievement since October 2009, which include:

1. SLM knowledge documentation consists of five (5) technologies and three (3) approaches that have significant impacts in rural areas;
2. Reconstitution of the PHILCAT membership which is now composed of 18 institutional members;
3. Orientation and briefing of new PHILCAT members about WOCAT database and its questionnaires (QT, QA and QM); and
4. Conduct of regular quarterly WOCAT meetings.

His participation further broadened his knowledge and understanding about WOCAT and the scope of its activities as a global consortium of national and international institutions working on soil and water conservation (SWC). He noted that there were members which have already established their on-line database on sustainable land management (SLM) using WOCAT platform. Based on the presentation of other participants, he also realized that PHILCAT should exert efforts to strengthen our knowledge management (KM) and decision support (DS) system on SLM. This will support the implementation of the National Acton Plan to combat desertification, land degradation and drought in which KM and DS is a very important thematic cluster to achieve its operational objectives. While WOCAT provides methodology and tools on knowledge management and decision support, Engr. Contreras believed that PHILCAT can optimize their utilization at the country level by establishing our own on-line database to link it with WOCAT and developing a compendium of SLM best practices and success stories for dissemination to SWC practitioners and advocates, land users, researchers, farmers and policy and decision makers. In this respect, a project proposal is currently being prepared by BSWM for presentation in the next PHILCAT meeting before endorsing it to potential funding sources.

The participation of PHILCAT in the WOCAT meeting also provided Engr. Contreras the opportunity to interact with other participants particularly with our Southeast Asian counterparts and explore the possibility of organizing a network within the sub-region. More importantly, participants were also given the chance to visit the countryside of the host country to talk with farmers and members of the pasture committee about herd management, improved technologies on fodder production, pasture yield assessment and monitoring, and animal health care. Being blessed with bountiful pasture area, pastoralism is the dominant source of livelihood in the countryside of Kyrgyzstan. Indeed, the Share Fair and 15th Annual WOCAT Workshop and Steering Meeting were successfully held this year. Kudos to the WOCAT Core Management Group and Secretariat and the hospitality of the people of Kyrgyzstan!

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