The drylands of the world cover approximately 40 percent of the earth's land surface and are a direct source of livelihood for about a billion people, especially in developing countries. However, nearly all drylands are at risk of land degradation as a result of climate change, population growth, land over-use and poverty. Agricultural and environmental policies and programmes often fail to recognise women's particular needs and crucial contribution to the use and management of dryland resources. By incorporating a gender perspective, 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. This document looks at the relationship between gender and dryland management, based on an analysis of relevant field experiences in Africa and Asia. It outlines the roles of relevant United Nations conventions related to gender and dryland management and summarises the key findings of the field experiences. Recommendations for improving gender-responsive dryland management include the need to collect reliable socioeconomic sex disaggregated data on dryland management activities, and the need for actions which challenge the cultural, socio-economic and gender-based barriers which prevent men and women from investing in the rehabilitation of agricultural land.
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