DDC in Africa

43 percent of land area in Africa falls within the drylands. It is estimated that 45 percent of the population or approximately 325 million people in Africa live in these areas. Many African countries suffer from desertification and frequent reoccurrence of drought. Many are among the least developed group as classified by the United Nations with a low to medium Human Development Index.

The drylands populations in these countries rely heavily on natural resources for subsistence, which, when compounded by demographic trends, a weak technological base, and unsustainable production practices contribute to land degradation. Many African countries suffer from weak institutional and legal frameworks and lack the capacity to deal with the problems of desertification and drought. In recognition of the extent of the problems of desertification and drought in Africa, the Convention to Combat Desertification gives priority to the region. In response the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 adopted a resolution on urgent action for Africa in which it called upon all affected countries in the region to embark on developing national and sub-regional action programmes. This resolution also called upon developed countries to provide support to affected countries, including capacity building support. Furthermore, it called upon all multilateral organizations, particularly UNDP and UNSO (now the UNDP Drylands Development Centre) and other United Nations agencies to provide support and mobilize necessary funding for the implementation of this resolution.

The bulk of resources mobilized by UNDP have gone towards supporting African countries in the preparation of National and Sub-regional Action Plans/Programmes for the implementation of the Convention. Many of these countries have now adopted or are in the process of adopting their action plans (NAPs). Click here to access a table that provides summary information on UNDP's support to countries in this region in the UNCCD NAP formulation and implementation and the results of this support in each country.

Following support provided to NAP/SRAP processes, UNDP-DDC developed the Integrated Drylands Development Programme (IDDP) to help countries translate priorities identified in these strategies into tangible programmes on the ground. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nine countries are currently implementing on-the-ground activities that vary from mainstreaming of environment/drylands/SLM issues into national and district level development plans and budgetary systems, building capacity of communities to respond to natural disasters (Disaster Risk Reduction) and reducing their vulnerability to risk, building community environmental management capacity and resilience to adapt to the effects of land degradation, drought and climate change, promoting community-based natural resources management, improving and increasing productive capacities of farmers, promoting local governance of natrual resources, enhancing drylands livelihoods through a market-based approach, to promoting sustainable natural resources use and environmental conservation.

Click on the links below to access information that provides a synopsis on the programmes being implemented at country level: