Drylands and climate-resilient development – valuing climatic variability

Date: Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Where: Online
A man and a horse plough a dry-looking field.

A farmer in Tunisia uses horse and plough to increase water infiltration into the soil (Photo: Cyprien Hauser, CC BY-ND 2.0)

This Africa Climate Week side event on 29 September 2021 reflected on what it means to deliver integrated approaches to climate resilient development in Africa’s drylands.

For too long, traditional discourse on African drylands has put the focus on the idea that drylands are fragile and degraded environments. These conventional narratives have also framed the climatic and environmental variability of these environments as a problem that needs to be addressed.

However, these perspectives fail to acknowledge the essential point that variability is an inherent characteristic of the drylands and that dryland populations have developed institutions and strategies to manage and take advantage of this variability.

This Africa Climate Week side event presented and discussed an alternative perspective to development in drylands through the lens of valuing variability.


David Pertaub (, researcher, IIED's Climate Change research group