Who We Are

Who We Are

The Drylands Development Centre (DDC) is a Global Policy Centre responsible for supporting UNDP's efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development in the drylands. This includes providing support to the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Over 40 percent of the world is drylands, where about 2.3 billon people live in nearly 100 countries. Many people living in drylands depend directly upon a highly variable natural resource base for their livelihoods, and about half of all dryland inhabitants - one billion people - are poor and marginalized. This accounts for close to half of the world's poor.

The UNDP-DDC recognizes that achieving sustainable development in the drylands has significant implications for reducing poverty and hunger worldwide. It will be impossible to meet the Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty and hunger by 2015 unless life is improved for the people of the drylands. Fortunately, the drylands have the potential to be productive and there is a real opportunity for the people who live there to prosper.

The Centre:

  • Undertakes global policy advocacy on the challenges and opportunities for drylands development;
  • Carries out research and analysis of policies that affect communities in the drylands, and provides advice and policymaking support to decison-makers;
  • Provides policy advice and technical assistance for strategic drylands interventions, and helps ensure that national policy and planning frameworks address the economic, social and environmental concerns of dryland populations;
  • Facilitates partnerships with a wide array of stakeholders to advance sustainable and inclusive development in the drylands;
  • Builds UNDP's knowledge base for drylands development, shares experiences, lessons learnt and good practices, and facilitates peer learning and South-South cooperation.

The UNDP-DDC's support is delivered through its framework programme, the Integrated Drylands Development Programme (IDDP). The IDDP addresses three interlinked issues of importance for poverty eradication in the drylands:

  • Mainstreaming of drylands development issues into national policies, planning and development frameworks and contributing to the effective implementation of the UNCCD;
  • Reducing vulnerability and building resilience of dryland communities to environmental, economic and socio-cultural challenges (such as climate risks, drought, land degradation, poor markets and migration); and
  • Improving the management of dryland ecosystems and natural resources.

The Centre combines policy analysis with institutional capacity building and technical support at global, regional, national and local levels.

The Centre is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. 

For our latest DDC Activity report, covering the period 2010-2011, please click here.

History of the UNDP-DDC

The UNDP-DDC has a track record of over 40 years supporting drylands development, building on the achievements of the former UN Office to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNSO). UNSO originated in 1973 as the United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office. It was created in response to the severe effects of recurrent droughts in the Sahel, and became widely known by its acronym, UNSO. For many years, UNSO delivered a range of drought relief and development services in the Sahel under the management of UNDP. It was originally based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, but later transferred its headquarters to UNDP in New York.

Click here for more information on our history.