The CD-ROM

This interactive support was designed to provide an all-round picture of the achievements of the OSS Environment Programme. Although it focuses on “environmental surveillance”, which spearheads the Environment Programme, this CD-ROM also allows you to peruse the publications on early drought warning and monitoring-evaluation of both OSS and its partners.

Since 1992, OSS with its members and partners has built up a wealth of methodological and conceptualised achievements and knowledge, all recorded by theme and by category in this CD-ROM.

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FR

Word from the Executive Secretary

Environmental disruptions in the circum-Saharan area are being felt increasingly in the ecosystems (exacerbated desertification, loss of bio-diversity, etc.) and at the socio-economic level (impoverishment, migration, health problems, etc.).

This malfunctioning is aggravated by climate change and variability whose present impacts and foreseeable scenarios show that the region is seriously affected and is still the most severely threatened in the world. Once the knowledge of this situation was confirmed and shared, it aroused concern in political spheres and scientific communities, and led to the adoption of several Multilateral Environmental Agreements like the ones stemming from the Rio process.

All the subsequent initiatives and action programmes stressed the need for more rational natural resources management through the adoption of integrated, sustainable development programmes and strategies designed to build up the resistance of the resident populations and ecosystems. Operationalising this approach will require better planning and decision-making tools and more powerful information production systems. This has provided the framework for OSS’ environmental surveillance activities, which are based on subsidiarity and characterised by solidarity with development partners, with backing from the scientific communities of both the North and the South.

Thanks to the cooperation of all our technical and financial partners, we can avail you of this wealth of knowledge and know-how accumulated during the twenty-year lifespan of your organisation, OSS.

Chedli Fezzani
Executive Secretary


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Environment Programme

The definition and development of the techniques and methods for collecting and processing biophysical and socio-economic data, the production of reliable, relevant, reproducible decision-support tools and the training of local-level scientists and technical officers have been at the heart of OSS actions in the combat against desertification.

The Environment Programme, which gravitates around the unifying concept of DOSE, the observation and environmental monitoring mechanism, is composed of the following three elements:

  • Observation and environmental monitoring,
  • Environmental early warning,
  • Monitoring-evaluation of environmental programmes and policies.

ROSELT/OSS

The many tools that OSS and its partners have developed for DOSE implementation have been recognised internationally.

The Long-term Ecological Observatories Monitoring Network (ROSELT), started in 1994, is composed of 25 observatories in the circum-Saharan region, located in 11 countries of North, West and East Africa.

The network’s vitality is illustrated through the transfer of its achievements from the local to the national level, the spatial growth of its local observation activities and its uptake by the national institutions in charge of implementing the international conventions on the environment.

The programme has gradually grown to include new themes such as the socio-economic aspects of resource utilisation and climate change adaptation. And thus the programme has been able to provide most of the countries in North and West Africa with an opportunity to compile and encapsulate their achievements in environmental management through the creation of the National Environmental Monitoring Mechanism (DNSE).

Strengths of the Environment Programme

  • OSS proposes and defines a global architecture for environmental management in the circum-Saharan countries and regions and contributes to their collaborative implementation.
  • Environmental surveillance has been adopted and increasingly applied by the countries. ROSELT and its observation methods have been validated, and the countries are gradually adopting what the network has to offer
  • Drought is becoming better understood at the regional level as the countries work on establishing early warning systems. A drought monitoring system for the whole of the Maghreb has been defined alongside national early warning systems for Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with special attention to climate change, drought and vulnerability.
  • Simple, accessible monitoring-evaluation systems are now available. Methods, tools, indicators and data identification have been defined for monitoring and evaluating national action plans to combat desertification and land degradation.
  • OSS is broaching environmental problems from the vantage point of the three international conventions on the environment. The Environment Programme, which until now has been directed towards the implementation of the UNCCD, has widened its scope to include the climate change and biodiversity conventions, and synergy among the three.
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Approach

Taken in the broadest sense of the term, environmental surveillance embraces the study of the dynamics of the natural, physical and biological environment and the anthropic environment, which includes social organisation, land use systems, and the interactions between these aspects. Its final goal is not only to analyse and understand the functioning of these systems and their many interactions but also, and essentially to identify the optimal uses of natural resources and ways to satisfy the needs of the resident populations, as well as the prevention of and remedies for damage to the environment.

In more tangible terms, environmental surveillance entails collecting data and producing information on the environment and its people. Whatever be the form – quantified indicators, maps, statistics, graphs – this information must be relevant, reliable and produced regularly, and it must cover the long term.


ROSELT/OSS: first network dedicated to environmental surveillance and research in the circum-Saharan region

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  • Improvement of knowledge of the environment and natural resources management.
  • Preparation of appropriate scientific and socio-economic responses so as to include desertification control in a well-informed decision-making process.
  • Study of the factors, trends and impacts of land degradation in an arid environment.
  • Formulation of multidisciplinary systems for environmental information collection and processing: flora-vegetation, socio-economics, land use.
  • Modelling through the application of the Local Environmental Information System (SIEL).
  • Study of climate change vulnerability and bio-diversity erosion under the auspices of the UN post-Rio conventions.
  • Study of desertification, using a multidisciplinary approach, as support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
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Achievements

OSS recognises the importance of environmental surveillance in sustainable ecosystem management for the resident populations of the circum-Saharan region. With this in mind, OSS has been providing support and capacity building for the people involved since 1993. Thanks to its technical and financial partners, OSS has made considerable strides in the following:

  • Methodology for the conceptual development of standardised mechanisms and labelled observatories for the collection of data on given ecosystems and populations. Basic documents on methodology have been published and are available as guides and reference works for all phases in the establishment of a network of observatories;
  • Techniques for designing indicators and defining standard methods and protocols for collecting data needed in calculations, the development of electronic management tools, operations, and the dissemination of the information thus generated;
  • Institutionalisation relating to the first steps in establishing mechanisms at various scales (regional, sub-regional and national) that are recognised as sources of basic data on the evolution of the environment at the local level. The representativeness of the observatories and the inclusion of spatial observation facilitate the extrapolation of results and the production of information in line with the spatial distribution under consideration.

The Local Environmental Information System (SIEL): innovation and achievements

  • The Local Environmental Information System (SEIL) was designed by IRD/IRA/OSS with the participation of several other partners, under the auspices of the ROSELT/OSS programme.
  • It is composed of various human and electronic resources needed to describe the state and dynamics of a territory, with reference to their environmental problems and socio-economic development.
  • It is a relevant tool for environment-related biophysical and socio-economic information processing and integration to serve the needs of shared decision-support products such as resource/use assessments, risk indices, indicators of change, and prospective scenarios.
  • The methodology process seeks to incorporate biophysical and socio-economic data through an integrated spatial approach.
  • LEIS is a complex electronic system that provides a general framework for analysing relations between resources and uses and between environments and societies. It is based on the object-oriented modelling method (Gayte et al. 1997) and shows the relations between four software sub-systems: a database management system, a geographic information system, a graphics software system and a dynamic modelling system.
  • Goal: facilitate the comprehension of the state of natural resources at the local level in a rural area in the arid and semi-arid zones.

Example of SIEL modelling, Menzel Habib Observatory (ROSELT/OSS, Tunisia)

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Scales

National level surveillance

Using ROSELT achievements and products, OSS has started implementing the National Environmental Monitoring Mechanism (DNSE) at the country level in its action zone. The process has already been launched in five countries (Mali, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and Senegal). DNSE is designed to consolidate existing national capacities by building on activities at the observatory level and using data produced by the national institutions involved with environmental surveillance.

DNSE is devoted to the permanent surveillance of the natural resources in the ecosystem and regular evaluation of factors causing land degradation and, possibly, land rehabilitation. It can also be used to provide the information that political leaders need for effective resource management keyed to sustainable development and pegged to the principles advocated in the Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA). The DNSE has been designed to focus on the developers’ sphere of concern, and its outputs are intended to meet the developers’ expectations for data, information and decision-support tools.

The DNSE also makes allowances for the insufficient uptake during the ROSELT development stage and adopts the objectives of the national and sub-regional action programmes set out in the MEAs.

Surveillance at the regional level

The regional ROSELT/OSS network was designed to meet the need for reliable data on the state of the environment, especially the circum-Saharan arid and semi-arid zones hard stricken by desertification. It provides for the surveillance of the state and the long-term evolution of ecological systems and their resources and is useful in building up knowledge of the mechanisms, causes and consequences of the degradation of ecosystems and the living conditions of the local populations.

The first phase in establishing the network was to identify and label observatories, and then identify the national institutions that would manage them. The technical and material capacity of these institutions was enhanced to equip them to adopt the methodologies and the related tools.

OSS’ network management entailed the mobilisation of multidisciplinary teams working on themes of interest to the region. This in turn led to the formulation of regional and sub-regional thematic syntheses and the publication of scientific articles.

Several scientific and technical institutions in the North and the South contributed to the development of ROSELT. Between 1995 and 2005 IRD (France) made a special, noteworthy contribution to the design and implementation of the methods and tools being developed at that time.

This network also received special financial support from France, Switzerland and Canada. But we need to recognise that despite all these efforts, not many African countries adopted the network, mainly because they did not invest enough of their own financial resources.

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Future prospects

Equipped with these achievements, OSS together with its partners emphasises the adaptation of the observation mechanisms and networks to the requirements of development programmes and initiatives. This line of thought comes from in-depth study of the context and the main challenges to the action zone. According to this line of logic, the population is the ultimate beneficiary of the surveillance systems. The population, therefore, should give special attention to producing information on the evolution of its descriptive parameters and, more importantly, information that can be used in analysing the interactions between the populations and their environment. Besides producing and disseminating information relevant to the monitoring of natural resources and ecological systems and to the evaluation of the impact of development activities, environmental surveillance should be part of the information infrastructure on which development strategies and programmes are based.

The outline for Strategy 2020 [for downloading] for the years from 2012 to 2020.

  • continuation of the OSS role as a multidisciplinary observatory and an environmental think-tank devoted to the priorities of the African states;
  • integration of the Water-Land-Climate trio in the environmental information production and analysis systems;
  • activities focused on the human being as the ultimate goal for OSS action.
Strategy 2020 – the framework

OSS Strategy 2020 plans for a consolidated programme on the “rational, concerted management of natural resources” which would make it possible to open up its thematic interventions and thereby stimulate synergy and formulate appropriate reactions to the countries’ expectations.

This programme is based on two horizontal axes “Water” and “Land” and two cross-cutting axes “Climate” and “Populations”. This new configuration will facilitate the development of tool boxes for better concerted management of natural resources in the OSS action zone.

The “Climate” and “Populations” themes will systematically be included in the implementation of the consolidated scientific and technical programme. Demographic trends, socio-economic aspects, and climate change vulnerability and adaptation will be studied in depth and systematically taken up in OSS projects and programmes.

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Field work

Field work
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  • Regional ROSELT/OSS Workshop, September 2004 - Cape Verde

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Sub-regional LADA/FAO training workshop- on the field in the Governorate of Siliana, Tunisia, 2010

  • Interview with a lead on the restoration of land - Niger 2009

  • Land restoration

  • Perspectives on adaptation - Niger 2009

  • Acacia Albida (GAO) – Niger 2009

  • Storm early rain season -Turning film on climate change OSS/IRA- Niger 2009

  • Rainy season on lateritic plateau-Niger 2009

  • Parinari on dunes, an endangered species, Niger 2009

  • Filming on location - Niger- Balleyara market 2009

  • Pilostigma reticulata on termite mound on a platter dune - Niger 2009

  • Zai technique - Niger 2009

  • Giraffes – Kouré –Niger 2009

  • Rangeland-Niger 2009

  • ROSELT/OSS workshop - ISSOUGUI – Morocco 2001

  • ROSELT/OSS workshop, Menzel Habib, Cultures irriguées - Tunisie 2005

  • Balanites egyptiaca – Niger 2009

  • ROSELT/OSS site, Mali, 2005

  • ROSELT/OSS site, Mali, 2005

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • Launch of environmental and socio-economic data collection campaigns - Baoulé - Mali

  • ROSELT/OSS Workshop - Issougui – Morocco 2001

  • Sand dune fixation- Tataouine-Tunisia, 2005

  • Sand dune fixation- Tataouine, Tunisia, 2005

  • Training module - socio-economic component of environmental monitoring- DNSE - Niamey - 2009

  • Workshop on the set-up of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in Tunisia, 2005

  • Workshop on the set-up of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in Tunisia, 2005

  • Water and soil conservation, Tunisia, 2005

  • Water and soil conservation, Tunisia, 2005

  • Water and soil conservation, Tunisia, 2005

  • Workshop on the set-up of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in Tunisia, 2005

  • Menzel Habib site - Tunisia 2000

  • Degradation in progress - Niger 2009

  • ROSELT/OSS – Menzel Habib, Tunisia, 2004

Capacity building

Capacity building
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  • Sub-regional PRAIS ( performance review and assessment of implementation system) training workshop for focal points of the UN Convention to combat desertification (UNCCD) in countries of North Africa , Tunis, June 28-July 2nd, 2010)

  • Sub-regional PRAIS ( performance review and assessment of implementation system) training workshop for focal points of the UN Convention to combat desertification (UNCCD) in countries of North Africa , Tunis, June 28-July 2nd, 2010)

  • Sub-regional PRAIS ( performance review and assessment of implementation system) training workshop for focal points of the UN Convention to combat desertification (UNCCD) in countries of North Africa , Tunis, June 28-July 2nd, 2010)

  • Sub-regional PRAIS ( performance review and assessment of implementation system) training workshop for focal points of the UN Convention to combat desertification (UNCCD) in countries of North Africa , Tunis, June 28-July 2nd, 2010)

  • Colloque international DELZOD, Djerba Tunisie, 2009

  • IDRC -ACCA Regional Workshop : pre-test of the first version of " toolkit for monitoring and evaluation of

  • IDRC -ACCA Regional Workshop : pre-test of the first version of " toolkit for monitoring and evaluation of

  • IDRC -ACCA Regional Workshop : pre-test of the first version of " toolkit for monitoring and evaluation of

  • ROSELT/OSS - Libya 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Libya 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Libya 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Libya 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Ferlo - Senegal 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Ferlo - Senegal 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS - Ferlo - Senegal 2004

  • ROSELT/OSS Tunisia 2005

  • Technique of water and soil conservation, Tunisia, 2005

  • Senegal 2007

  • Senegal 2007

  • ROSELT/OSS -Observatoire de Menzel Habib - Tunisie 2005

  • ROSELT/OSS -Observatoire de Menzel Habib - Tunisie 2005

  • Site montagneux de Béni Khedache -Tunisie 2005

  • Site montagneux de Béni Khedache -Tunisie 2005

  • Puits traditionnel à l’IRA Médenine -Tunisie 2006

  • Cultures irriguées dans le sud tunisien - Tunisie 2006

  • Cultures irriguées dans le sud tunisien - Tunisie 2006

  • Cultures irriguées dans le sud tunisien - Tunisie 2006

  • Travaux de fixation des dunes - Tunisie 2008

  • Siège du CNSEE Niamey- ROSELT /OSS - Niger 2009

  • Tournage film changements climatiques OSS-IRA- Niger 2009

  • Module de formation en suivi environnemental DNSE - volet écologie – Bamako 2009

  • Femmes peuls puisant de l’eau- Niger 2009

  • Une tempête de début d’orage – Niger 2009

  • Saison de pluies – Niger 2009

  • Prémices d’érosion hydrique – Niger 2009

  • Défrichement après deux années de jachère – Niger 2009

  • Module de formation en suivi environnemental volet écologique des DNSE - Niamey du 09 au 12 juin 2009

About OSS

We are an independent, international organisation located in Tunis, Tunisia. OSS was created in recognition of the need to reconcile efforts to improve warning and monitoring systems regarding crops, food security and drought in Africa. Actually 46% of the land is prone to desertification and most of the development policies and strategies are keyed to crisis management and consequences rather than to prevention and early warning.

OSS was created to give new impetus to the combat against desertification and the mitigation of the effects of drought by offering the countries in the region a platform for sharing experiences and the possibility to improve and coordinate information collection and processing procedures.

OSS is now composed of 22 African countries, 5 countries in the North (Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland), 4 sub-regional organisations representing West Africa (CILSS + Côte d’Ivoire), East Africa (IGAD), North Africa (UMA + Egypt), and the circum-Saharan zone as a whole (CEN-SAD, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States) as well as regional, United Nations and civil society organisations.

Our principle is to work together with the States and the member organisations without ever standing in for them.

Our activities are funded through voluntary contributions, subsidies and donations from our member and partner countries and organisations.


Download : Taking stock of 20 years of efforts and achievements [French]

Download: the CV of OSS
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