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The Inter-Congress Meeting of the International Geographical Union Working Group on Desertification in and around Arid Lands, held at Tucson, Arizona, from 3 to 8 January 1979, was attended by 30 participants from 13 countries. It provided an occasion for reporting on research by members of the Working Group, and also for discussion on activities in connection with the forthcoming International Geographical Congress.

It was also a joint meeting with the Arid Lands Sub-programme of the United Nations University Natural Resources Programme, with its theme "Assessment of the Application of Knowledge to Arid Lands Problems," and provided an opportunity for introductory reporting by several investigators. It was felt that such reporting, even though brief, was useful because it would make others aware of what was being done, especially in regard to the socio-economic aspects of arid lands management. The role played by human factors is central to the work being done in the UNU Arid Lands Sub-programme, concerned as it is with the effective application of existing knowledge.

Related activities of Projects 3, 4 and 8 of the Man and Biosphere Programme were represented by reports by members of the relevant US MAB Committees.

The activities of the Working Group since 1972 have proved most relevant to United Nations activities in combating desertification, and it was appropriate that the Desertification Group of the United Nations Environmental Programme was represented.

At many points the participants were made aware of regional problems of land use and the management of natural resources in relation to the threat of desertification in the southwestern USA. This awareness was achieved through special sessions and panel discussions by local scientists, and was particularly the objective of excursions held during and after the meeting.

The international exchange of ideas, combined with the regional experience, proved most stimulating to all participants and should greatly benefit the continuing activities of the Working Group and its presentations to the 24th International Geographical Congress in Tokyo in August and September 1980.

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