The dryland research, policy and practice was reviewed by group of stakeholders from across the world during the first meeting of the Drylands Dialogue: Bridging Policy, Research and Practices organized by the African Studies Centre (ASC) in Leiden, the AEGIS network and CIAT’s CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. The meeting attended by researchers in dryland areas was held at the African Studies Centre in Leiden on 17 June 2014, coinciding with the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Dr SK Gupta, Coordinator for Product Line on Pearl millet hybrids for East Africa and South Asia (PL6) represented the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals and the lead center ICRISAT at the meeting. He discussed about the scenario of marginal agriculture under drylands in Asia and Africa.

Drylands accounts for about half of the globe’s land area and the largest concentrations of poverty are found among the two billion marginalized men and women who live there. These areas lack basic services such as health care and education and are often the scene of conflict and political instability. Therefore, they pose the biggest development challenge for the international community.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious droughts and desertification, particularly in Africa, was adopted on 17 June, 1994. Every year since 1995 the ‘World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought’ is observed on June 17. ‘Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It’ is the theme for the 2014.

This meeting was the first of the three planned meetings, and the second dialogue meeting is being planned for early 2015 in Nairobi where the partners can review their findings and prepare more specific regional and sector agendas. And the final third dialogue meeting will be in Paris in June 2015 when a roundtable discussion will be organized at the 6th European Conference on African Studies so that the findings can be shared with a larger audience.

With inputs from Dr SK Gupta