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conceptual mapping >  environment and sustainable development  > Gender and desertification : expanding roles for women to restore drylands

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Gender and desertification : expanding roles for women to restore drylands

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The livelihoods of over 1.2 billion people inhabiting dryland areas in 110 countries are currently threatened by drought and desertification. Over the past 23 years, IFAD has committed over US$3.5 billion to support dryland development and combat land degradation in developing countries. Of IFAD-supported projects, 70% assist pastoralists and small farmers in ecologically fragile, marginal environments such as rangelands and rainfed croplands through small-scale irrigation, agroforestry, fruit-tree plantation, community-based natural resource management, rural infrastructure and off-farm income-generating activities.

Recognizing the link between desertification and poverty, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) stresses the importance of a « bottom-up participatory approach in identifying, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating projects that combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought ». In many of the world’s drylands, including much of Africa, women’s traditional roles and knowledge in natural resource management and food security are particularly crucial. They are thus severely affected when erosion and diminished soil fertility result in decreased crop and livestock productivity and lessen the sources of income derived from these products. Yet, despite their roles and extensive knowledge, women living in drylands (who tend to rank among the poorest of the poor) often face constraints in their efforts to care for their families and for the lands on which they depend.

document de référence rédigé le : 1 May 2006

date of on-line publication : 14 February 2007

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