Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification (GC-RED)


Who we are

Land degradation, desertification and drought are significant and growing barriers to sustainable development as the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation impact human health, productivity and resilience for billions of people. The Nairobi-based Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification (GC-RED) focuses on strengthening the linkages between environmental sustainability and human development and resilience, and particularly contributes to improving the sustainable management of natural capital (biodiversity, land and ecosystem services) in support of expanded employment and livelihoods opportunities. It also contributes to UNDP’s resilience agenda based on the long track record of the Centre in drylands/drought resilience. 


Our history

GC-RED originated from the United Nations Sudano Sahelian Office (UNSO), which was established in 1973 and transferred to UNDP from the UN Secretariat in 1976. In 1995, UNDP designated UNSO as the central entity to lead the organization’s work in desertification control, drought preparedness and mitigation. In 2001, UNSO was transformed into the UNDP Drylands Development Centre (DDC), with the mandate to implement the flagship Integrated Drylands Development Programme (IDDP). At the same time, the office was moved from New York, USA, to Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more about the achievements of IDDP.

In 2014, DDC was reorganized into GC-RED to embrace a broader agenda related to sustainable management of natural capital and resilience building in drylands and other fragile ecosystems.


Our work

The main service lines offered by GC-RED are: 

  1. Sustainable management of land, biodiversity and ecosystem services for optimal livelihoods and job creation, with a focus on the poorest communities. GC-RED’s work in this area complements and builds on the global project portfolio supported by UNDP through vertical funds.
  2. Building resilience of communities in drylands and other fragile ecosystems to shocks and stresses from climate-related weather events,  particularly drought.
  3. Mainstreaming land, biodiversity and climate objectives for poverty eradication into development planning and budgeting systems and into public and private finance and investment.

The Centre’s work is guided by UNDP’s strategic vision and approach, as outlined in its current Strategic Plan (2022-2025), specifically under “Signature Solution on Environment – Putting nature and the environment at the heart of national economies and planning”, which responds to challenges presented by environmental degradation. It supports UNDP’s nexus approach on the themes of climate change, inequality and migration as entry points for supporting countries to address their pressing development challenges.




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