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Land Degradation Assessment and Rehabilitation have been receiving considerable and dedicated attention from the South African Government. With only 35% of the country receiving more than 500mm rainfall per year, and with more than 80% of soils being classified as having a moderate to low potential, the pressure on high potential agricultural land is increasing constantly.

The Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) project responds to the need to strengthen support to land degradation assessment at international and national levels and is funded by various international organisations. It also responds to the needs of the joint work program between the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) on Dry and Sub-humid Lands and was fully endorsed by the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) of the CCD in Bonn, Germany on 11-22 December 2000.

The LADA project was launched during the 3rd meeting of the GEF Assembly during August 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa. LADA will generate up-to-date ecological, social, economic and technical information, including a combination of traditional knowledge and modern science, to guide integrated and cross-sectoral planning and management in drylands. South Africa attended the LADA inception meeting in 2002 and has subsequently been accepted as one of 6 pilot countries where land assessment methodologies are currently being developed, tested and evaluated.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA - GEF focal point) has endorsed the project and accepted the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) as the coordinating institution. The Institute for Soil, Climate and Water of the Agricultural Research Council has been identified as the implementing agency for LADA in South Africa. The 1st LADA South Africa Stakeholder Workshop was held on 13 and 14 March 2007 at the ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW) in Pretoria.

The Workshop was attended by 27 invited experts, representing state departments, science councils, an international institution representing an international programme, universities, a private institution, academia, a NGO and two FAO representatives. The number of participants was limited as this initial Workshop was aimed at brainstorming to successfully initiate the LADA SA project.











LADA Workshops were held in Italy, Argentina, Turkey, USA, South Africa and Tunisia