Securing Rights and Restoring Lands for Improved Livelihoods


Combating desertification

Desertification is “Degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas”.

Although there is generally a focus on soil degradation, desertification is closely linked to other forms of environmental degradation, such as deforestation, salinization, loss of biodiversity and destruction of habitat.

·         10-20% of drylands are subject to desertification

·         Desertification exacerbates poverty, creates food and water insecurity and aggravates conflict

·         Global cost of desertification: 42 billion USD annually

·         Estimated cost of preventing it: 2.4 billion USD

Drivers of Desertification

·         Poor understanding of dryland ecology

·         Low consultation with dryland resource managers

·         Weak tenure arrangements and governance

·         Unsupportive policies and investments

·         Weak implementation of favourable policies

·         Human poverty and changing population dynamics

·         Climate change and climatic uncertainty

·         Fragmentation of landscapes 


Land rights and sustainable land management

The right to make and enforce a decision over the management of land (or other natural resources) is often very weak in drylands. This weakness contributes to poor management through breakdown in communal management and encouragement of irrational resource management strategies. There are at least five levels of Land Rights:

1.       Right of access to a resource (rights to non-subtractive benefits)

2.       Right to withdrawal (rights to obtain products of a resource)

3.       Right of management (authorizes the holder to regulate use)

4.       Right to exclusion (to determine who will or will not have resource right)

5.       The right of alienation (the right to sell or lease the rights)

The right to manage and to exclude others from a resource (whether communally or individually) is a key factor in whether land managers can sustainably manage their land.

Strengthening governance

Governance is more than government: it is about the interaction between the State and its Citizens. Governance is about who has the Power and the Responsibility to make and to implement decisions. Governance therefore relates closely to the rules (laws and other norms), institutions and processes in decision making. These elements of governance can be monitored for their transparency, predictability (“rule of law”), accountability, participatory nature and other principles.

Strengthening participation: Community Environmental Management Planning

·         Enabling natural resource users to plan, manage and control their resources

·         Strengthening partnerships between communities and government

·         Embedding principles of participation in natural resource planning

·         Promoting gender equity in community and government dialogue




The Project's Theory of Change
  • Project's theory of change

    Project's theory of change

    Photo: GDI