Sustainable Livelihoods in Drylands


Photo credit: CGIAR

Our 2015 Annual Report: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods in Drylands released

Submitted by DrylandSystems

“In 2015, war and political instability ravaged many countries in the Middle East and North  Africa. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests a strong correlation between climate change, land degradation, conflict, and migration. The case for continuing to support research in rural drylands of the developing world is stronger than ever. Our hope is that the global commitment to reducing the negative effects of climate change and land degradation will be matched with increased investment in the years to come. Investment in systems approaches is critical to tackle climate change adaptation and mitigation, and to combat the land degradation that affects the lives of millions of smallholder producers and consumers in developing countries.” – Harry Palmier, Chair of the Independent Steering Committee

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems launches its 2015 Annual Report: Towards Sustainable Livelihood in Drylands.

In 2015, we produced critical scientific evidence, multidisciplinary knowledge and  integrated  systems tools to help improve agricultural livelihoods and sustainable development in the rural drylands of the developing world. Our research contributed to the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Ankara Agreement on Land Degradation Neutrality.

Our integrated systems approach to land degradation shaped the thinking and recommendations of the 3rd Scientific Conference of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the 12th Conference of the Parties to UNCCD. The 195 Parties agreed to a global deal that set a new environmental target: achieving “land degradation neutrality” by 2030. The UNCCD Bureau of the Committee on Science and Technology has endorsed our systems approach to meet the target.

Four years of rigorous scientific work that we coordinated in the framework of the global Economics of Land Degradation initiative culminated in publication of The Value of Land. An accompanying report, Reaping Economic and Environmental Benefits from Sustainable Land Management, summarized significant issues for policy and decision makers.

The 70th Session of the UN General Assembly on adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved Target 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality. Notably, the private sector is now using the business brief, Opportunity Lost: Mitigating risk and making the most of your land assets, to assess exposure to the risks of land degradation and to evaluate opportunities in sustainable land management.

From improved livelihood options to increased incomes and production to providing research insights and incisive policy recommendations for adopting sustainable land management practices, developing value chains, promoting conservation agriculture, empowering women and young people to build better agricultural livelihood futures for themselves, to establishing and maintaining 55 open access geospatial databases, and producing an impressive body of literature (567 publications), this report outlines progress made towards three specific goals we have set for ourselves to: (1) reduce poverty, (2) improve food and nutrition security, and (3) ensure sustainable resource management in rural dryland communities, which are home to 1.3 billion people.

Read the full article: CGIAR

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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