The drylands are home to 2.3 billion people and cover about 40% of the Earth’s land surface. They play an important role in trade, tourism, migration and environmental services, such as carbon sequestration. Dryland communities have learnt to exploit their environment, including the cycles of flood and drought, leading sustainable livelihoods. But policymakers hold many misconceptions about drylands, and there are few government policies, investments or planning processes to support dryland communities’ own strategies.
Through research, training and advocacy, we aim to build climate resilience, productivity and equity in the drylands.
In particular, we aim to:
- Challenge the misconceptions that let policymakers view drylands as unproductive wastelands, and pastoralism as an unsustainable way of using them.
- Make sure knowledge about drylands becomes a mainstream asset of government institutions and civil society advocacy groups. We do this by documenting and disseminating research findings to influence policy at national and international levels. For example, together with partners we are researching the total economic value of pastoralist systems and advocating a new, more equitable and sustainable, policy narrative for drylands. And, again with partners, we have developed training in sustainable pastoralism to build capacity amongst both dryland communities and policy makers.
- Help local and national governments make their development planning for drylands more resilient to climate change.
- Advocate at the global level for policies and laws that support climate adaptive management. We engage with established networks and coalitions to influence policy, for example through the Coalition of European Lobbies in support of East African Pastoralism, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Image: A woman stands with her goats in a dryland area in Niger. Photo: Stephen Anderson
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