Drylands

Drylands are defined by a scarcity of water, and cover more than 40% of the earth surface. Drylands are present in more than 100 countries and home to over 2 billion people. Most drylands are found in Africa (66%) and Asia (40%).There are proportionally more drylands in developing countries (72%).

Climate change in drylands adds to challenges of scarcity of water - affecting rainfall volume and seasonality which can increase the frequency of drought and chronic water shortage. This can affect people's livelihoods, especially subsistence farmers. It can also have a large-scale impact for cities and societies, and even countries, when depletion of scarce resources is allowed to continue unmanaged. Also, higher temperatures increase evaporation from the ground and surfaces and evapotranspiration via vegetation. Increasing floods can also contribute to washing away degraded soils and clog dams and waterways downstream furthermore challenging people’s livelihoods and safety. Degradation of dryland soils - through desertification or degradation - affects climate change directly. Dryland soils play an extremely important role in mitigation of climate change as they store at least one third of the world's carbon. 

Drylands pose many challenges for human society. Climate change and following land degradation, can lead to migration. In addition, rainfall variability and drought can significantly challenge economic development, and contribute to poverty, and food insecurity.

African plain with animals, trees and a hill

Landscapes

Cape Town was near day zero in 2018. The drought that threatened to turn off the taps in Cape Town was made three times more likely by global warming, according to a study. Credit picture perfect istock.
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Urban Resilience

Disasters, climate change, and rapid urbanization pose a serious risk to the provision of urban water services including safe drinking water, sanitation, and safe drainage.

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The Lena Delta Reserve seen from a satellite
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Deltas

Water defines and enables human development. Ecosystems and economies depend on water.  The impact of climate change will be most acutely expressed through water.  Deltas are particularly vulnerable to water-related climate risks.

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Man in the sea in Bangladesh, istock photo, Credits: Mudassir Hossain
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Coastal Areas

Human societies will need to adapt to sea level rise, which means flooding, increasing risk of storm surges, coastal erosion and the loss of low-lying coastal systems.

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Shacks in a slum area along a small polluted canal. Manila, Philippines
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City Slums

Inhabitants of city slums are at extreme risk to climate change. Slums grow at a rapid pace because of in-migration of people from disaster prone areas, and growing poverty in rural areas and more opportunities in urban areas.

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Cross Cutting

Eifel, Elz valley, flood disaster, July 15th 2021. Europe is highly urbanised and has too few natural buffers that can infiltrate extreme amounts of heavy rainfall. Markus Volk. istock.
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Nature based solutions

Nature based solutions work with and enhance nature to restore and protect ecosystems and to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change. Adaptation calls for the increased use of nature based solutions with multiple benefits which at the same time provides for livelihoods, ecosystem life support and community resilience.

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A river basin in a mountanous region.
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River Basins

Collaboration in a river basin is needed to share increasingly scarce resources, manage water related risks emerging from various land uses and prevent flooding by linking upstream and downstream activities. Upstream areas need to ensure spatial planning that is mitigating floods for downstream areas. 

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