The Drylands initiative has four strategic priorities:

1. Connecting biodiversity conservation in dryland landscapes
2. Dryland ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management
3. Dryland knowledge management for improved policy and investment
4. Mobilising dryland stakeholders and the union

The programme contributes to strengthening the resilience of dryland ecosystems and livelihoods and to conserving drylands biodiversity by increasing understanding of the value of dryland ecosystems. This includes increasing effective action to sustainably manage ecosystems, building capabilities and support for sustainable drylands management, strengthening governance, rights and empowerment of drylands custodians, building on indigenous and external knowledge, and strengthening the supporting policy and legal environment.

The Kalahari-Namib ecosystem in Southern Africa is experiencing continued land degradation, loss of biodiversity and primary productivity and ultimately the loss of ecosystem function which arises from a number of different land uses, policies and economic development strategies.

This complex scenario provides a unique opportunity to address these different impacts by working across boundaries and by finding appropriate strategies, technologies and the best policy environment to support sustainable natural resource management.

IUCN’s work in the Kalahari-Namib Ecosystem has four key focus areas:

  • Many riparian countries – one ecosystem: Transboundary and ecosystem based approaches are important in minimising the fragmentation of ecosystems in river basins
  • Livelihoods: Ecosystems provide a solid basis for adaptation and livelihoods improvements. There are economic and income generating options for rural communities that are based on natural resource commodities, on valuations of ecosystem goods, and on livelihood incentives for sustainable management, including biodiversity conservation.
  • Sound decision making and conducive policy environment: Decision makers at all levels should understand Sustainable Land Management to ensure the conducive policy environment and security of tenure
  • Securing rights and tenure: Sustainable Land Management is effective when communities have access rights to private and common pool ecosystem services and improved management capacities.