Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification

A dry river bed in Senegal

The Nairobi-based Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification (GPC-Nairobi) is one of six UNDP Global Policy Centres, responsible for advancing global thinking and knowledge sharing on inclusive and sustainable development in drylands and other fragile ecosystems.  It works to explore solutions in two major areas: 1) sustainable management of renewable natural capital for optimal livelihoods support and jobs creation, with a particular focus on the poorest and most vulnerable communities; and 2) social and ecological resilience in drylands and other fragile ecosystems.

GPC-Nairobi builds on the work of the Drylands Development Centre (DDC), which has been in existence through various incarnations for 40 years. It is also informed by UNDP’s renewed and explicit organizational focus on sustainable livelihoods, poverty reduction and inclusive growth; and environmental sustainability and resilience. It takes into account the reaffirmation in the Rio+20 outcome document that sustainable development has three interlinked dimensions, namely social, economic and environmental. It also takes into account the concerns of the global community as expressed in the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


What We Do

Drylands image

A major dimension of UNDP's Strategic Plan for 2014-2017 is assisting programme countries in the design and implementation of solutions that would transform productive capacities, while avoiding the irreversible depletion of social and natural capital, lowering risks arising from shocks and improving the resource endowments of the poor and their prospects for employment and livelihoods. GPC-Nairobi’s work is located in this context. It will undertake applied research, develop policy tools, knowledge products, and codify and disseminate knowledge on how to enhance sustainable livelihoods in communities in drylands and other fragile ecosystems, while maintaining their long-term ecological viability.

GPC-Nairobi has a substantial comparative advantage, which lies in the stock of knowledge embodied in UNDP programmes worldwide. Over four decades, DDC built up an impressive stock of programme and policy materials on improving the livelihoods of people and communities in drylands in various countries. Similarly, UNDP has a large inventory of programme results in promoting sustainable livelihoods from its work in countries emerging from crisis, going back several decades.  The organization also manages over 500 projects on ecosystems and biodiversity in 146 countries with funding from the Global Environment Facility and other sources. These are obvious low hanging fruits on which an impressive and unique UNDP policy work can be based.

How We Work


GPC-Nairobi’s domain of competence lies in the areas of renewable natural capital and resilience and its value added in applied and policy research, and knowledge codification and dissemination. Specifically, the Centre will:

  • Undertake applied research and analysis, and provide evidence on policies and good practices in the sustainable management of natural capital that optimises jobs and livelihoods;
  • Undertake applied research and analysis, and provide evidence on policies and good practices in fostering socio-ecological resilience in drylands and fragile eco systems;
  • Promote intellectual exchange among multiple stakeholders and across disciplinary fields, facilitate the global dissemination of optimal policies and good practices, and stimulate processes for their incorporation into national and regional policy processes;
  • Develop tools and methodologies for strengthening the implementation and monitoring of resilience building and sustainable management of natural capital.

GPC-Nairobi will integrate into its work on-going activities of the Integrated Drylands Development Programme (IDDP), which is an initiative to support sustainable and inclusive development in drylands, including the implementation of UNCCD.

The Centre will also assume UNDP’s oversight role in the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), a joint programme of UNDP and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that supports country-led efforts to integrate poverty-environment linkages into national development frameworks. It will provide significant support, including in its strategic direction; the mainstreaming of PEI knowledge in UNDP and other partners; quality assurance and donor reporting. The Centre will also support the PEI in facilitating learning across regions, packaging and disseminating its accumulated knowledge, and building tools for mainstreaming issues in the poverty environment nexus into development policies.

As part of its expanded mandate, the Centre will support the Inter-governmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) through the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Network (BES-Net), which is designed to help countries tackle science-policy-practice questions that are critical to the effective management of biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide, thereby contributing to long-term human well-being and sustainable development. BES-Net will build capacity for effective ‘Trialogue’ between science, policy and practice, enhancing effective implementation of the three Rio Conventions and related Multilateral Environmental Agreements. The network is supported by a matchmaking facility (with both face-to-face and online activities), and a cutting-edge web portal.

Featured Publications
GPC-Nairobi Brief

This document provides the overview of the GPC-Nairobi and its work.  

Delivering Results in Degraded Lands for People and Planet

This document outlines the UNDP’s support to countries on sustainable land management and rehabilitation.

Gender and Drylands Development: Empowering Women for Change

Consisting of three thematic study papers and one synthesis report, this publication explores the issues of gender justice with respect to dryland land rights, governance and resilience.

More publications
In Focus
Launch of joint report on 'The Cost of the Gender Gap in Agricultural Productivity'

This publication, jointly produced by UNDP-UNEP PEI, UN Women, and the World Bank Group and launched on 15 October 2015,PEIO provides a unique quantification of the costs in terms of lost growth opportunities and an estimate of what societies, economies and communities would gain were the gender gaps in agriculture to be addressed. More >

Release of Resilience Context Analysis in Karamoja, Uganda

This report was produced by the Resilience Analysis Unit, a joint initiative between the IGAD and multi-UN agencies, with the aim of better understanding the resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in Karamoja, Uganda.  More >

Contact GPC-Nairobi

Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification 

Physical address: UN Office at Nairobi, Gigiri, Block M Middle Level, UN Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya

Mailing address: P.O. Box 30552-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 762 4640/42


Twitter: @UNDPGPCNairobi