Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home pageNo. 46, Fall/Winter 1999
Tools for Small Farmers

Selected news of interest

compiled by Katherine Waser


Upcoming conferences of interest

Medicinal Plants, Traditional Medicines and Local Communities in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities of the Next Millenium
16-19 May, 2000
Nairobi, Kenya

This four-day international conference, arranged by the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) in collaboration with other organizations, will be organized in parallel to the Fifth Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Nairobi 15-25 May 2000. (The focus of COP5 for the CBD will be on biodiversity in arid lands.) The Medicinal Plants conference will review current initiatives in promoting the development of medicinal plants and traditional medicine in Africa. It will highlight what has been done, what remains to be done, what should be reinforced and under what incentives, what works and does not work. It will also highlight experiences of many stakeholders: traditional healers, NGOs, researchers, and conservationists. In short, it aims to provide a unique forum for exchange of local information on medicinal plants, traditional medicine, and their potential.

To submit abstracts, register, or make other inquiries, contact:
Dr. Barbara Gemmill
P.O. Box 72461
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 (2) 56-2175
Ernest Rukangira
[same postal address and fax number as above]

First International Conference on Geotechnical, Geoenvironmental Engineering, and Management in Arid Lands
4-7 November 2000
Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates

This conference will deal with various areas relevant to agricultural science and engineering in arid lands. Topics to be covered include soil properties, soil suction, geochemistry, soil and groundwater pollution, fate of pollutants, pollutant transport in unsaturated soils, agricultural pollution, agriculture waste management, and land management.

For more information, contact:
Dr. A.M.O. Mohamed
Conference Chair
Civil Engineering Department
UAE University
P.O. Box 17555
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Tel: (9713) 505 1524
Fax: (9713) 623 154
Web site:

16th Symposium of the International Farming Systems Association and 4th Latin American Farming Systems Research and Extension Symposium
Globalization and Local Development: Challenges to Small Scale Production
27-29 November 2000
Santiago, Chile

The main theme of these two symposia is the interaction (conflicts as well as opportunities) between global and local processes which are shaping rural regions of the world, and their relation with the impact on small farmers' production systems and their technical, social, economic and cultural behavior. Concrete issues to be discussed include:

  • Rural poverty and food security
  • Small farming systems, markets, and competitiveness
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Institutional development

Within each topic, papers dealing with technology, methodology, concepts, institutions, and policy are welcome. Gender and empowerment are issues which cut across the four topics.

For more information, contact:
Casilla 228, Correo 22
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 (2) 236-4557
Fax: +56 (2) 236-4558
Web site:

Ground Water: A Transboundary, Strategic, and Geopolitical Resource
13-16 December 2000
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

This conference will explore the technical, cultural, legal, economic, military, social, and political facets of ground water as a transboundary, strategic, and geopolitical resource. The conference organizers define "transboundary ground water" broadly: ground water that moves across the boundary between any two or more political jurisdictions be they states, counties, municipalities, provinces, government reservations, irrigation or conservancy districts, Indian reservations, etc. Topics to be considered include:

  • Ground water and transboundary ecosystem sustainability
  • Ground water as a weapon - pathogen/toxin transport, earthquake generation
  • Strategic aspects of ground water
  • Ground water contamination related to warfare, military operations, and weapons testing and production
  • Transboundary contamination
  • Ground water and the peace process
  • Flash points
  • Enforcement issues
  • Water transfers and their effects
  • Sustainable management and development; conjunctive use
  • Third party impacts and opportunities
  • Role of models
  • Effects of global change on transboundary ground water

For more information, contact:
Bob Masters, Conference Coordinator
Tel: +1 (614) 898-7791, ext. 527 (outside USA) or +1 (800) 551-7379, ext. 527 (toll free in USA)

Alternative Ways to Combat Desertification: Connecting Community Action with Science and Common Sense
(an International Symposium, Rural Community Interaction and Workshop)
8-20 April 2002
Cape Town, South Africa, Rural Communities and Gobabeb, Namibia

The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN), The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, the National Botanical Institute of South Africa (NBI), and the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are sponsoring this conference. It will begin on 8 April 2002 with a 3-day symposium at the National Botanical Institute of South Africa, Kirstenbosch Conference Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, with presentations from invited speakers and authors of selected papers, posters, dramas (including story telling), plays and demonstrations. Next, participants will depart Cape Town to one of six communities either in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana for 5 or 6 days of rural community interaction. They will meet, discuss and work with community and non-government organization representatives and others on projects designed to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. Finally, participants will depart their selected community to arrive at Gobabeb, Namibia, where they will share, discuss and synthesize their experiences with the other participants in a 3-day workshop. Lessons learned, recommendations for the "way forward" and other results of the workshop will be recorded, summarized and made available to all participants.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Roben Penny
Woodbine, Essex Road, Kalk Bay
7975 Cape Town, South Africa
Telephone/Telefax: +27-21-788-1285
Dr. Mary Seely
Desert Research Foundation of Namibia
P.O. Box 20232
Windhoek, Namibia
Telephone: +264-61-229-855
Telefax: +264-61-230-172
Mr. Beaumont C. McClure
Special Assistant for International Programs
Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Office
222 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85004, USA
Telephone: +1-602-417-9430
Telefax: +1-602-417-9398

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