WG5 – Knowledge Transfer, Outreach and Training:
The working group will be responsible for setting up systems and actual documenting of data and case studies, creating databases and making these available for upload to the “hub”. WG5 will liaise with the Joint Liaison Group and the Global Soil Partnership (following the recommendations of the Millennium Development Goals) to provide them with the deliverables of the WG’s and Action, with the aim to ensure the harmonization and interoperability of environmental information. The WG will also focus on capability building at local level through training and STSMs, awareness, dissemination and training of early-stage researchers. While the works in WG5 is what would normally be done by the Management Committee (MC), in this Action this will be dealt with by a focus group (WG5), ensuring effective dissemination and training. Nevertheless, close coordination will be made with the MC and the WG5 and MC meetings will be normally held together, to minimise costs.
WG5 is made up of individual members and also cross WG members from groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. Its main remit centres on the gathering of assimilation and transfer of knowledge. (Wherever possible this will be multi-lingual.) Furthermore its responsibility incorporates outreach in its broadest sense and training of early career scientists, organising STSMs and training camps. Past, present and newly generated knowledge will be used to create guidance and guidelines to advise other groups, stakeholders and policy makers regarding desert restoration and combat of desertification. This information will be hosted on the ‘desert restoration hub’* and key data and findings will be made available in print as well. Key recipients will be national and regional policy advisors, land managers and regional / local farm advisors etc. The final outreach will be an exhibition that will travel and/or be set up in various locations in arid and dry lands areas to educate people of what has been achieved, where and how and what can be achieved through planting. The exhibition itself will be used as a motivator and means for gathering local knowledge and ideas for how other stakeholders identify ways and means of achieving better physical and socio-economic results. The exhibition will be linked into a final international conference, which will focus directly on restoration and the issues involved with presentations on the work of the Action and related projects and with invited guest speakers from around the world. The WG will also be responsible for harmonising information and knowledge transfer across the WG’s and organise the various STSM exchange visits where young scientists will be taken into the field. These visits will be integrated with local practitioners and stakeholders that have local knowledge so that there is a multidirectional flow of experience, techniques and methods. *As part of the dissemination of knowledge strategy it is suggested that the usual COST Action web site should be expanded to facilitate knowledge exchange and greater use by stakeholders including local users. This website should continue as the focus of arid lands restoration knowledge post the Action. (Funding post COST will not be from COST but will be sought from other sources.)