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September 2003

Announcement of a publication

Gender and sustainable development in drylands: An analysis of field experiences

The drylands of the world cover approximately 40 percent of the earth's land surface and are a direct source of livelihood for about one billion people, especially in developing countries. However, nearly all drylands are at risk of land degradation as a result of climate change, increasing human population, land over-use and poverty. This represents a threat to the food security and survival of the people living in these areas as well as to the conservation of the biomass and biodiversity.

Drylands pose different challenges for rural men and women because of their different roles, relations and responsibilities, opportunities and constraints, and uneven access and control of resources. Furthermore, agricultural, environmental and related policies and programmes often fail to recognise women's particular needs and crucial contribution in the use and management of dryland resources.

By incorporating a gender perspective in policy, projects and programmes, innovative ways of combating dryland degradation and food insecurity can be promoted, notably through a better understanding of men's and women's roles, and their respective concerns and needs. The result is a more sustainable, relevant and equitable development based on women's and men's full and equal participation, on their respective local knowledge, and on ecological and socio-cultural factors. Such a gender-sensitive dryland development represents a great opportunity for rural men and women to join their strengths to preserve food security and the natural resource base in ways that are sustainable.

This document looks at the relationship between gender and dryland management, based on an analysis of relevant field experiences in Africa and Asia, identified on the Internet, highlighting the role of women and men in dryland areas for food security, land conservation/desertification and the conservation of biodiversity. It makes available key findings related to these issues in a number of projets and programmes in Africa and Asia. It also outlines different aspects to be considered for achieving a gender-sensitive and sustainable dryland management.

Click here to see the publication (html format) or here to see the pdf format. Click here to see the fact sheet.

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