Participatory investment planning for environment, water and energy in arid and uncertain environments


IIED is supporting planners in dryland regions to study people-centred environment-water-energy climate processes. These must be based on informed decision-making through participatory knowledge systems.

A community discusses water and energy challenges in Alango, Kenya (Photo: Ibrahim Jarso, Resource Advocacy Program)

IIED is supporting planners in dryland regions to study the interrelated environment-water-energy systems, target investments, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This includes supporting planners at both local and national level, as well as international environment and development planning processes.

In drylands areas, water availability is scarce and unpredictable. Energy options and ecosystem processes also differ from those in more humid environments. These essential environmental characteristics can affect – either positively or negatively – all human activities and the achievement of all the SDGs. 

In light of this, increasing knowledge of factors affecting ecosystems, water and energy availability and uses can offer critical entry points for the achievement of all other SDGs in the dryland context.

SDGs with added relevance in this context include (see agreed definitions of indicators and targets):

  • 6b: Support and strengthen the participation of local communities 
  • 6.4: Ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity 
  • 7.1 Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services 
  • 6.1: Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

We aim to capture contributions of value to the societies and regional and national economies that planners can achieve through investments at the environment-water-energy nexus.

Supporting dryland scientists

Our methods for assessment build on IIED's wealth of experience in participatory assessments of resource conditions and resilience strategies. This is complemented by support to young dryland scientists in universities to explore other emerging research tools and approaches.

We also aim to capture contributions of value to the societies and regional and national economies.

We work with partners in dryland environments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in other dryland environments facing climatic, development and humanitarian challenges.


Distilling the value of water investments, Caroline King-​Okumu (2016), IIED Briefing paper

Direct use values of climate-dependent ecosystem services in Isiolo County, Kenya, Caroline King-​Okumu, Oliver Vivian Wasonga, Ibrahim Jarso, Yasin Mahadi S Salah (2016), IIED Report


National Drought Management Authority (NDMA)

Ada Consortium

Isiolo County Government


Caroline King-Okumu (, senior researcher (dryland ecosystems and economic assessment), Climate Change