Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods, Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience in the Drylands

29 Oct 2013

Lessons from the UNDP Integrated Drylands Development Programme

This document is a synthesis of lessons learnt, experiences and good practices drawn from case studies in six countries implementing the Integrated Drylands Development Programme.These countries include Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Tunisia.


Widespread views of drylands as unproductive wastelands have created barriers to their economic development. In fact, these regions are culturally and environmentally valuable areas with assets – such as pasture lands, drought-resistant plants, energy and mineral resources, and unique ecosystems – that can contribute significantly to overall national poverty reduction and development plans.

There are close to 2 billion people living in drylands areas, and many of them pursue local livelihoods adapted to their distinct environments. However, in most cases their productivity and wellbeing could be improved through increased access to basic services, materials and infrastructure, along with training and capacity building regarding sustainable management of vulnerable land and water resources. This is particularly important as climatic variability and extreme weather events are threatening traditional farming and livestock-raising practices, leading to new challenges and conflicts related to desertification, land degradation, droughts and natural disasters.

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