Two initiatives developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems offer a valuable contribution to research in drylands. Dr. Richard Thomas, a CGIAR scientist who led the work, explains:
“Dryland communities face daunting challenges to ensure future food, nutrition and water security, particularly in the face of climate change. Agriculture needs to be transformed in order to address these issues, and around 100 million new jobs will be needed by 2020. Our work on the new Drylands Development Paradigm proposes a model of participatory research that builds on a set of three guiding principles, which require greater involvement of local communities, better knowledge sharing and the identification of new employment opportunities driven by agricultural development.
In addition, we created a web-based tool, called the Global Geo-Informatic Options by Context framework, as a concrete application of the main principles behind the paradigm. We wanted to provide land users, development practitioners and policymakers with plausible and well evidenced options for making better decisions on sustainable use and management of biophysical resources. The scaling-up framework is included in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Global Land Outlook, a sentinel publication that will guide the 195 countries signed up to the convention to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”