ALN logo; link to Arid Lands Newsletter home page No. 50, November/December 2001
The Deserts in Literature, II

Selected news of interest

compiled by Katherine Waser


Millenium Ecosystem Assessement (MA) seeking reviewers

Sponsored by the United Nations, scientific groups, governments, foundations, and other international agencies, the MA is a pathbreaking international assessment that will meet decision-makers' needs for scientific information on the consequences of ecosystem change for human wellbeing and on the response options available to address undesired changes. As a 'multi-scale' assessment, the MA will seek to inform the global findings with information and perspectives from the local, national and regional scale, and inform local findings with a global context. It is designed to meet a portion of the assessment needs of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, Wetlands Convention and other users including the private sector, civil society, and indigenous peoples.

The period for nominating authors ended in mid-December 2001; however, nominations for reviewers will be accepted through August 1, 2002.

As with other international assessments, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Ozone Assessment, the salary of experts involved in the MA generally must be covered by their home institutions and governments. The technical work of the Assessment will be conducted in English and all nominated experts must be fluent in spoken and written English.

For more information, please see the detailed documentation available at:
or contact:
Ms. Valerie Thompson
Interim Millennium Assessment Secretariat
c/o World Resources Institute
10G Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Tel: +1 (202) 729-7794
Fax: +1 (202) 729-7610

Upcoming conferences of interest

World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse
8-13 March 2002
Manama, Bahrain
This congress, rescheduled from 26-31 October 2001, is organized by the International Desalination Association. Topics covered include: global and regional trends, membrane and thermal desalination technology, energy, seawater reverse osmosis, water reuse, environmental impact, pre-treatment, corrosion, emerging markets, innovative/alternative technologies, economics, and privatization.

For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 387
Topsfield, MA 01983
Fax: +1-978-8870411

International Conference on Low-Cost, Small-Scale Wastewater Treatment
20-22 March 2002
Seville, Spain
The focus of this conference will be on experiences from the Mediterranean region; themes include operation and maintenance; septic systems; sandfilters, trickling filters, and lagoos; constructed wetlands; financial and organizational aspects; water quality; and wastewater reuse. The conference is organized by the Centro de las Neuvas Tecnologias del Agua (CENTA).

For more information, contact:
Conference Secretariat, CENTA
Avda. de Europa, s/n
Isla de la Cartuja
41092 Sevilla
Email: -or-

International Conference on Drought Mitigation and Prevention of Land Desertification
21-24 April 2002
Bled, Slovenia

This conference will address various aspects of drought and desertification prevention in Central and Eastern Europe. The status of national drought mitigation strategies will be explored, and the impacts of drought on the environment and economies of CEE countries will also be discussed. Conference themes include the impact of climate change, national strategies to mitigate drought, and international cooperation for solving drought-related problems. For more information, contact:
Slovenian National Committee of ICID
Preradoviceva 44
1000 Ljubljana
Fax: 386-1-433-5104

Allocating and Managing Water for a Sustainable Future:
Lessons from around the world

11-14 June, 2002
Boulder, Colorado, USA
This conference is being organized by the Natural Resources Law Center of the University of Colorado School of Law. It will examine innovative water allocation laws, policies and institutions from around the world. Sessions will consider legal and institutional developments and lessons from around the world that can be transferred across different regions, countries, cultures, economies, and water systems. International speakers and case studies will be drawn from world regions that share the American West's challenges of managing uncertain and variable water supplies.

For more information, contact:
Natural Resources Law Center
University of Colorado School of Law
Campus Box 401
Boulder, CO 80309-0401
Fax: +1 (303) 492-1272

2nd International Congress, Environment and Identity in the Mediterranean
3-5 July, 2002
Corte, Corsica
This congress, organized by the University of Corsica, is aimed at researchers and representatives of institutions and organizations involved in the field of ecologic economy and environment in its widest meaning. It will consist of workshops addressing four major themes: (1) Environment and society; (2) Human environment and identity; (3) Physics and environment; (4) Environment and nature. Papers are currently being solicited; the deadline for abstracts is 31 January 2002.

For more information, contact:
Nathalie Giorgi
Institut de l'Environnement
B.P. 52
20250 Corte

International Conference on Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture for Dry Areas for the 2nd Millennium
15-19 September 2002
Shijiazhuang, Hebei, People's Republic of China
Conference objectives are to:
1. Identify new technologies for sustainable agricultural management.
2. Develop procedures for integration of various technologies which will be beneficial to farmers and the environment.
3. Formulate recommendations for innovative procedures for research and technology transfer in sustainable agriculture.

Scientists and specialists in a wide range of disciplines are invited to submit papers to integrate scientific sound crop production technologies such as water saving (including irrigation), tillage method, optimum fertilization, weed control, pest control and reduction of agro-chemicals in the environment for the dry regions of the world. One page abstracts and statements of intent to participate are due by 31 January 2002.

For more information please contact:
Mrs. Catherine Vachon
Lethbridge Research Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Lethbridge, Alberta
Canada T1J 4B1
Telephone: +1 (403) 317-2257
Fax: +1 (403) 382-3156

23 Degrees South: The Archaeology and environmental history of southern deserts
15-18 January 2003
Canberra, Australia
The Atacama and Monte deserts in South America; the Australian deserts; and the Namib and Kalahari deserts in southern Africa are all located in the southern Hemisphere, at approximately 23 degrees south. This conference will review and compare the archaeology and environmental history of these regions, identifying common themes in human responses to the limitations and variability of these environments, as well contrasts in the environmental histories and Quaternary records of southern deserts. The conference will explore what happens when human social systems interact with desert environments and how settlement, when combined with climate change, has shaped these distinctive and often precarious environments. The ultimate aim is to better understand the settlement history of these regions and the environmental differences between southern deserts.

Review papers, regional studies and interdisciplinary papers are especially encouraged. Conference themes include:
1. Colonising and recolonising arid lands.
2. Environmental and Quaternary histories of southern deserts.
3. The interaction of people and desert environments: disentangling human impacts and responses.
4. The settlement histories of these deserts.
5. The contrasting rock art, graphic systems and cosmology of desert societies.
6. Interactions between foragers, herders and farmers, living on the edge.
7. Trade and exchange systems in southern deserts.
8. Interactions with polities outside the desert.

The academic sponsors of the conference are: the National Museum of Australia; the World Archaeological Congress; the Centre for Archaeological Research, Australian National University; and the IGCP413 program (Understanding Future Dryland Changes From Past Dynamics), Sheffield Centre for International Drylands Research, University of Sheffield UK.

A formal call for papers will be issued in February 2002; however, offers of papers or ideas for sessions are welcome before then. For more information, contact:
Dr. Mike Smith, Convener
National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
Canberra ACT 2601
Fax: 61-2-62085014

bar denoting end of article text

About the Arid Lands Newsletter

Link to ALN home page Link to index page for back web issues Link to index page for pre-web issue archive Link to this issue's table of contents