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An international partnership aiming to boost research on desertification in developing nations was launched last week (28 February).

The CWANA-Plus Partnership will promote scientific collaboration between countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia where human activities are degrading dry land and threatening livelihoods.

The partnership aims to research and promote practical ways of tackling desertification and protecting livelihoods.

These include ways of reducing or reversing land degradation, and conserving resources such as soil, water and biodiversity.

The partnership is between the United Nations University and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, whose headquarters in Syria will act as the partnership's secretariat.

Using their existing networks, the organisations hope to encourage other research centres to share resources and expertise, and to help train scientists in countries at risk of desertification.

Governments in these nations will be urged to include efforts to tackle desertification in their national policies for reducing poverty.