The drylands advantage: protecting the environment, empowering people

A new report by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reveals the crucial role the world’s drylands play in buffering the negative impacts of climate change, land degradation and drought. Drylands are absolutely key to global food security for the whole planet. Environment friendly and water efficient agriculture for smallholders is key to reducing poverty, boosting smallholder adaptation to climate change and rehabilitating degraded lands. Present in each continent and covering over 40 per cent of the earth, drylands generally refer to arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, and are home to more than 2 billion people. Drylands also hold up to 44 per cent of the world’s cultivated agricultural systems. The report, The Drylands Advantage: Protecting the environment, empowering people, shows how drylands support important ecosystems and a great variety of biodiversity, as well as their vital role in the livelihoods and cultural identity of many smallholders.