The Millennium Development Goals in Drylands
The world has made much progress in fighting poverty and inequality, but much remains to be done in drylands. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be possible without due attention to the drylands, where close to half of the world’s poor - one billion people - live.
Unlike in high-rainfall areas, the implementation of MDGs in drylands face special challenges. These include:
- sociocultural aspects such as the predominant nomadic lifestyles, gender inequalities, including demographics and traditional differentiation of male–female roles and conflicts in some countries;
- economic challenges resulting in low investment due to poor infrastructure and limited markets;
- climatic and ecological challenges that limit production such as low and unpredictable rainfall, frequent droughts, climate-change-induced aridity and land degradation (deforestation and desertification); and
- policy and institutional challenges (low national priority, poor or no policies on management of, access to, and ownership of land and natural resources, and limited knowledge, information and awareness of the links between poverty, the environment and economics in the drylands.
Lack of investment in developing the drylands is often due to limited understanding of their importance and potential in achieving the MDGs. UNDP-DDC's Integrated Drylands Development Programme is committed to increase awareness on the importance of, and opportunities for, drylands development.
It provides policy, technical and programme support to developing countries to energize or fast-track achieving MDG targets in the drylands through its particular focus on the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation (MDG1), sustainable management of natural resources (MDG7), women empowerment (MDG3) and the mobilization of partners and resources for drylands development (MDG8).