Sustainable Forest Management Impact Program on Dryland Sustainable Landscapes

Drylands, characterized by limited water resources and fragile ecosystems, are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of unsustainable land management practices. Decreasing productivity due to overgrazing, overexploitation of forest resources, inadequate soil and water management techniques, and inappropriate land use are common challenges faced by farmers and land users across the program landscapes.
One novelty of the DSL-IP is the establishment and subsequent leveraging of strategic Regional Exchange Mechanisms (REMs). The objective is to increase the magnitude, durability and scope of impacts of GEF-7 investments in sustainable drylands management in DSL-IP countries and non-DSL-IP countries in the targeted ecoregions. The shared land degradation and associated management challenges, along with the high density of child projects (particularly in the Southern Africa region), provide a unique opportunity to find and address common solutions through regionally harmonized approaches, knowledge and experience/lessons sharing, and taking full advantage of economies of scale in the delivery of technical assistance.
DSL-IP Regional Workshop - Harare, Zimbabwe. May 2023.

Regional Exchange Mechanisms (REMs)

REMs are expected to yield increased collaboration and coordination among DSL-IP child projects resulting in new or strengthened synergies, enhanced impacts and efficiencies, and avoidance of duplication as well as improved availability and delivery of demand-driven technical, methodological, financial and other capacity development support to child projects, leading to greater impact at country level (through a regional capacity development program). More specifically, the REMs focus on enhancing the regional dimensions of the DSL-IP child projects under the GCP to ensure multi-country collaboration and synergies, capacity development, technical support, knowledge exchange, outreach and scaling out. Each eco-region of the IP has a corresponding regional exchange mechanism: (i) the Southern African cluster, lead by FAO, operates in the Miombo-Mopane landscape; and two clusters lead by IUCN respectively operating in (ii) the Savannas of East and West Africa, and (iii) the temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands of Central Asia. Under the GCP, these regional platforms (or mechanisms) facilitate collaboration and exchange both within and between regions as needed. Even more so, the REMs function as a directory for the child projects in accessing technical assistance and networks they may leverage for the integrated implementation of their projects.

All three REMs leverage on existing regional exchange mechanisms/platforms with a similar geographical coverage and objectives, hence the REMs complement on-going efforts and structures rather than duplicate.    

All three REMs leverage on existing regional exchange mechanisms/platforms with a similar geographical coverage and objectives, hence the REMs complement on-going efforts and structures rather than duplicate.

DSL-IP Country Docking Strategy

As an impact program, the DSL-IP encompasses diverse stakeholders, including country project teams, knowledge hubs, governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations, private sector actors, partners, and international organizations. Engaging these stakeholders throughout the program’s lifecycle is crucial, as it allows for open dialogue and information sharing, which builds trust among stakeholders and enhances the program's impact. In addition, regular communication and feedback mechanisms enable stakeholders to express their views, monitor progress, and lead to the establishment of long-term partnerships and networks that extend beyond the project's duration. 

The DSL-IP program is structured to amplify the impact and results of its country projects. Therefore, to ensure countries benefit from being part of the program, the DSL-IP invests heavily in country docking and alignment.

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Working Group

Country docking in the DSL-IP is conducted at multiple stages. From design to implementation, the DSL-IP developed materials, guides, templates and terms of reference (ToRs) to support country teams in becoming actively engaged in the program.

From awareness raising calls, to detailed capacity needs assessment, the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Working Group (MEL WG), and the Knowledge, Capacity and Outreach Working Group (KCOS WG) are DSL-IP structures that create an enabling environment for such strong docking.

The One Country, One Champion Theme Approach: Addressing Common Management Challenges in Drylands

During program design stages of the DSL-IP, the subsequent review of project documents, and close consultations with relevant country teams to ensure a maximum of national ownership and buy-in, a mapping and prioritization exercise was carried out to identify core themes for the targeted 11 child projects. It focuses on core themes that can support countries in achieving LDN, with high potential for up, out and deep scaling, concrete enhancement of livelihoods, climate resilience and gender responsive approaches (link). Further, each of the identified themes provide a direct response to the identified common (region specific) management challenges that are linked to the predominant land use systems. At the end of the programme, countries will champion these identified themes and their good practices will be scaled up and out of their borders to benefit countries within the region that face similar circumstances and management challenges.

The DSL-IP project preparation design phase and subsequent (on-going) consultations with countries and partners identified common management challenges linked to the targeted land-use systems.

To address the above while supporting the Program’s theory of change, the DSL-IP presents the One country, One champion (OCOC) approach. With support of the GCP in implementation, each country is concentrating efforts in one core theme (green value chain/income generating opportunity) of common interest for the region.


REM Central Asia

Steppes and grasslands

Common Management Challenges:

  • Overgrazing of pasture lands
  • Low productivity of agro-sylvo-pastoral value chain
Country Country Core ThemesCross-learning potentiaLearn More


Sustainable pasture management/grazing with trees

Mongolia, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina FasoSoon!


Sustainable Pasture Management 
Kenya, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, KazakhstanSoon!

REM East and West Africa

Rangeland, Savannas and Grasslands

Common Management Challenges:

  • Unsustainable dryland resources management and land conversion that lead to land degradation
  • Low productivity of agro-sylvo-pastoral value chain
Country Country Core ThemesCross-learning potentiaLearn More

Rangeland management

Drought management

Eco-tourism development
Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tanzania, Kenya, BotswanaSoon!
  Burkina Faso

Rangeland management and grazing management

Agro-sylvo-pastoral value chains

Gender responsive land use planning
Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tanzania, Kenya, BotswanaSoon!

REM Southern Africa

Miombo/Mopane Mixed Land Use Systems 

Common Management Challenges:

  • Decline in agricultural productivity with increasing pressure on dryland forest
  • Lack of access to integrated extension systems 
  • Lack of access to markets and sustainable financing


Country Country Core ThemesCross-learning potentiaLearn More
AngolaSLM/NUS - Hyacinth bean, African Yam bean, Jinguenga (tbc)​tbcSoon!
Human-Wildlife Conflict,  (tbd)
Sustainable Tourism (tbc)​
SLM/NUS: Morama Bean,Bambara, Kwengwe (tbc)​
MalawiSLM/NUS: Integrated Food and Energy Systems IFES (pigeon pea and maize)​MozambiqueSoon!
SLM/SFM: FSC charcoal (encroaching bush)
NUS: Pearl Millet
Angola, Zimbabwe, BotswanaSoon!
TanzaniaSLM/SFM: Miombo Honey
Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe


SFM: Baobab/Marula (tbc)​
SLM/NUS - Sorghum/finger millet (tbc)​
Angola, Tanzania
MozambiqueAgroforestry, Protected Areas and Buffer Zones Management
Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Namibia