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Drylands: Climate Change and Development

A research initiative for mobilizing adaptation projects in fragile areas of the Drylands Belt.


Severe water stress is a major consequence of rising temperatures associated with climate change. Already dry regions are therefore among the worst affected by global warming. The so-called “Drylands” of the African Sahel, the Middle East, and Central Asia – regions already beset by water stress, environmental degradation and demographic pressures –demonstrate clear signs of severe long-term climate change already underway. The global community is only now recognizing the enormity of the poverty-and-climate crisis in much of the Drylands and the grave risks to peace and stability posed by the extreme poverty and climate stress in the region.

Lack of systematic information and analysis of the complex problems facing the Drylands underscores the urgent need for an over-arching effort to address the major gaps that persist with respect to climate change adaptation for the region.

The initiative will mobilize needed scientific data and analysis on climate change in the Drylands regions. The information can support demonstration projects and the subsequent large-scale implementation required to tackle such an immense challenge. The initiative is steered by the Drylands Advisory Group on Climate Change and Development formed in Dubai in November 2007 under the auspices of the Forum.




  • Obtain Accurate Data on the Drylands: Conduct and compile in-depth disaggregated research on the humanitarian impact of climate change on the Drylands-belt region
  • Support Drylands Adaptation Projects: Use the data to identify effective solutions and demonstrate the urgent need for extensive adaptation work in the Drylands region, supporting the implementation thereof

Strategic Partners

Office of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York